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Sony WH-1000XM5 vs. Jabra Evolve2 85: Which One Wins?

When it comes to premium noise-cancelling headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM5 and Jabra Evolve2 85 are two of the top contenders vying for a spot on your head. Both are packed with cutting-edge features designed to please professionals and audio enthusiasts alike. But which one reigns supreme? Let‘s dive into an expert-level comparison to crown a winner.

First, let‘s talk about what these headphones have in common. Both the Sony and Jabra boast active noise cancellation (ANC) to block out background noise, allowing you to focus on your music or calls. They also have impressive battery life, with the Sony offering up to 37 hours and the Jabra lasting up to 30 hours on a single charge. Wireless connectivity comes via Bluetooth, and both include high-quality microphones to ensure you sound crystal clear during phone calls or video conferences.

So where do they differ? While both have ANC, Sony‘s implementation is slightly more advanced. The WH-1000XM5 uses 8 microphones and two processors to analyze and counter noise, while the Evolve2 85 uses 10 mics (6 digital MEMS and 4 analog MEMS). In practice, reviewers find Sony‘s ANC is a bit more effective at hushing low-frequency rumbles like airplane engines.

Sony also has an edge when it comes to sound quality, with support for high-resolution audio codecs like LDAC in addition to the standard SBC and AAC supported by the Jabra. The 30mm drivers in the XM5 deliver a spacious, detailed sound signature with powerful yet controlled bass. Jabra fights back with larger 40mm drivers and a higher sensitivity of 117 dB compared to Sony‘s 102 dB. Some listeners find the Evolve2 85‘s sound is more energetic, particularly in the mid and upper frequencies.

But where Jabra really shines is as a communications tool for professionals. The Evolve2 85 comes in two variants – one certified for Unified Communications (UC) platforms, and one optimized for Microsoft Teams. If you spend all day collaborating on Zoom, Google Meet, or Teams, those certifications provide extra peace of mind that the Jabra will work seamlessly. The Evolve2 also has an unbeatable wireless range of 30m (100ft), letting you walk freely around the office without dropping audio. The Sony, by contrast, only has a 10m range.

Design-wise, both headphones are crafted with comfort in mind. Soft leather earcups and headbands allow for all-day wear without fatigue. However, the Sony is the more portable of the two, with a collapsible design that folds flat to slide into the included carrying case. It‘s also 36g lighter than the Jabra – a small difference but appreciated during long listening sessions. The Jabra opts for a more professional aesthetic, with a classy black finish and a dedicated desk stand to hold the headset when not in use.

So which one should you buy? For most people, I believe the Sony WH-1000XM5 offers the best overall value. It‘s hard to beat the combination of best-in-class noise cancellation, superb sound quality, and 37-hour battery life at a price point around $400. If you don‘t need the Jabra‘s UC or Teams optimization, the Sony will deliver a better overall experience for less money.

However, for professionals who spend their 9-to-5 bouncing between conference calls and collaborating virtually, the Jabra Evolve2 85 may be worth its $500+ price tag. The UC and Teams-certified variants guarantee flawless compatibility with the most popular conferencing platforms. And the expansive 30m wireless range is a godsend for taking calls while moving around the office (or your home). Just be aware that you‘re sacrificing some noise cancellation efficacy and audio codec support compared to the Sony.

Looking ahead, I expect both Sony and Jabra will continue innovating and pushing the boundaries of what‘s possible in a wireless headset. We may see even smarter ANC algorithms that can adapt to your specific environment, further improvements in battery life and charging speed, and perhaps new designs and colorways to suit changing consumer tastes.

But as it stands today, you can‘t go wrong with either the Sony WH-1000XM5 or Jabra Evolve2 85. They‘re the best of the best in the Bluetooth headphone market.