gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Jabra Evolve2 65 Flex Review

Jabra’s Evolve2 65 Flex, on paper, embodies everything I want in a pair of on-the-go headphones. They fold up for easy on-the-go storage, boast excellent noise-cancelling, charge wirelessly and sound great. But I don’t love them.

I’ve sung the praises of so many Jabra products that it’s almost a relief to find something I don’t love. It’s not for want of trying, though, I’ve put my other headphones away and have been determined to give the Flex a fair shot. Unfortunately they fall just a little short of my expectations. Do I expect too much, or are these legitimate concerns? Strap in, and ready yourself for a dose of subjectivity.

A headshot of me - a moustachioed man - wearing a pink baseball cap with the Evolve2 Flex headphones over the top. I’m trying to strike a thoughtful, beard stroking pose. In the background is a printout of a photo of me wearing the headphones with no cap and striking the same pose.

Obligatory photo of me modelling the Jabra Evolve2 65 Flex headphones.


The Evolve2 85 have been my go-to since I tested them back in 2021. But the Evolve2 85 are – as if it needs pointing out, and despite also folding – bulky and a nuisance to stow into my typically very, very stuffed backpack. The Evolve2 65 Flex, then, promised the best of Jabra in a package I could fold up and tuck into my bag easily.

They do absolutely deliver this, but I have a few minor complaints that make the Flex just a little bit frustrating and a lot uncomfortable. Let’s get to the matter of comfort, since I think it’s by far my biggest issue with these flexible, stowable ‘phones.

In short, the clamping force of Flex is just too heavy. Over long periods of listening – and yes, I’ll wear these all day – they really start to hurt my ears. I think the weight of the Evolve2 65 Flex necessitates a little extra clamping force to keep them securely on your head and, because they are on-ear rather than over-ear, all of this force is applied directly to your ears.

They are by no means heavy, but at 136g they stand in stark contrast to Jabra’s airy Enage 55 which weigh only 83g, and which I can wear all day without issue. It might not sound like much, but the difference is very noticeable. The last pair of great, on-ear folding headphones that I owned, and wore to destruction were the ~60g Sennheiser PX 100. I loved those things literally to bits. They broke and fell apart despite my best efforts to repair them. They were wired, though, lacked noise cancelling, lacked a microphone, lacked any sort of controls and certainly didn’t have a wireless charging coil. Jabra has packed all of these modern conveniences into just 136g. Despite that modest weight it feels like- perhaps with some compromise- it could be pushed further. Perhaps Jabra’s excellent all-day call-centre tech has simply spoiled me rotten.

The Jabra flex headphones folded flat and sat on a wooden surface. The ear cups touch in the middle and are pushed against each other quite firmly.
The Jabra Flex headphones lying flat and not completely folded. They are mostly black with steel grey accents where the head band joins to the cups.

The ear cups of the headphones touch when folded. Right where the power button would be.


My other bugbear with the Flex is the weird placement of the on-off button. On almost every other headset I’ve tested the power button is conveniently right under my thumb as I grip the headset to put it on. On the Flex that button has moved around to the front. Why? Well, if it wasn’t moved it would be squeezed right between the ear cups as they fold up for storage- powering on and/or shoving the headphones into pairing mode constantly while they’re stowed. This is infuriating since Jabra, rather than fix their folding mechanism to spin the ear cups the other way, have chosen this absolutely asinine location for the power button. In fact as I write this I can imagine just how this decision came to pass- the headphones were done, the power button was in its rightful place, the design was all but final. Then someone folded them up and went “Oh, wait, the power button is going to get pressed here!” and a last minute design revision was rushed through to fix the problem.

What’s more frustrating is that the Evolve 2 85 already fold up for storage and manage to avoid this same problem.

Now it might sound like I’m raving about the most innocuous of decisions, the most minor of design choices, the most inconsequential of button placements. But that’s not the case! I humbly put forth that it’s just unnatural and uncomfortable to reach a power button that’s located down on the front edge of the ear cup. Go on, try it? Contort your hands to find that button. Bear in mind you’ll need to also be gripping the headphones so you don’t knock them off your head. I don’t care if you agree with me- every other headset manufacturer seems to, including Jabra themselves. Every other button on the Flex is in a sensible place and I cannot, in good conscience, not rake Jabra over the coals for such a completely chaotic design hiccup. Why, Jabra, WHY!? Thanks to muscle memory from dozens of other headsets, I’m now reaching for a non-existent button every time I don the flex.

The small size of the Flex means the play pause and volume controls are not especially easy to find and press in a hurry. I’m sure this will get better with practise, but Jabra could have use a 5-way nav or placed some controls on the side of the ear-cup (well, wireless charging notwithstanding) to make things clearly delineated. This is still a far cry better than in-ear headphones requiring a plethora of different taps to trigger various actions, but there’s room for improvement here.

The right cup of the Jabra Evolve2 65. Along the back edge are four buttons and there’s a fifth button on the side. It’s quite button heavy. The dark grey headphone is juxtaposed against a yellow post.
The left cup of the Evolve2 65 Flex. You can just see the power button. It’s so awkwardly positioned that I had trouble even photographing it!

The ear cups are small so there’s not a lot of room for buttons, the tightly clustered volume and play/pause are fiddly. The less said about power being on the front the better.


Now, perhaps the idea of the odd power button placement is that you never power these headphones off? That makes sense, right. What if they just automatically went to sleep when you folded them and stowed them away? Then this button placement would suddenly be fine, since you’d almost never need to use it. Well – ha! Had you going for a minute there- no, folding and stowing the Flex does not sleep them automatically. In fact I had to use Jabra’s (albeit excellent) iOS app to adjust the sleep time on the Flex down to 30 minutes to avoid them simply running out of battery when I wasn’t using them. I’ll be damned if I’m going to manually power them off each time.

To be fair to Jabra, the Flex do seem to wake up when I pick them up and put them back on. I’m not sure what the mechanism for this is, since I don’t store them folded around the house.

The glaring missed opportunity of not making the Flex sleep or power off when folded and stowed just adds another spanner (or bag of sand? I don’t know where I’m going with this analogy) to my gear-grinding frustrating with these headphones. They could have been perfect, but instead they just feel rushed.

Jabra. Or at least the top of the Evolve2 65 Flex headband showing the Jabra branding. They’re hooked over a metal posted that’s painted yellow. The paint is flaking and worn.
The right ear cup of the Jabra Evolve2 65 Flex set against a painted yellow metal post.
The right ear cup with the microphone boom folded down. It’s short since it folds right up into the ear cup. More yellow post action.

I found an on brand yellow post and got a bit artistic.


The final annoyance seems to be a slightly quirky microphone boom setup. Jabra has trained me to flip my microphone down when I want to answer a call and for some reason or another this does not work reliably with the Flex. Sometimes it does nothing. Sometimes the call starts muted. Sometimes it opens FaceTime but doesn’t answer or join the call. Sometimes my headphones aren’t even selected as the output device. Don’t get me wrong, when the microphone works it’s great, but this is just another one of the many quirks that makes it feel like the Flex are hell-bent on frustrating me to insanity in a way that no Jabra product has done before. Perhaps this pair, in particular, are just cursed. Or perhaps I’m flipping the microphone down too quickly. Jabra are extremely on the ball with their firmware updates, so if there’s a problem here that’s not me I’d expect it to be fixed.

Despite these frustrations I’m still using the Evolve2 65 Flex every day. I’m wearing them right now. They are paired to my phone and my MacBook Air. I wear them in the office. I wear them out and about. I wear them in bed, since they’ll work quite happily with one cup slid off my ear while I lie on my side. They sound excellent, though they’re a little on the quiet side for my preference.

A pair of on-ear headphones stood upright with one of the ear cups in a wireless charging pad. A little Lego figure is holding up the charging wire. It’s supposed to be me, but the hair is wrong.
An iPhone X in a very shabby plastic case sat on top of the wireless charger. It’s just turned on and showing an Apple logo. A little green LED is illuminated on the charger.

Charge the Jabra Flex or my phone from the same charger! Why not. I don’t know why more on ear/over ear headphones don’t have wireless charging.


The wireless charging makes it super easy to share a bedside charger with my iPhone and Jabra’s own charger (a £45 addition you might want to miss if you already have a Qi charger for your phone) works great with my iPhone (13 Pro) despite being just a little on the large size and hitting the camera bump. It’s a little awkward to balance the headphones upright for charging, but a little careful placement is worth the grab and go convenience.

Despite these being on-ear headphones, generally more prone to leakage than most types, they seem to do an impeccable job of cancelling background noise. Almost too good. I’ve also noticed that lifting them on and off my ears to test this factoid doesn’t result in the little squeaky squealing feedback noise I found with earlier noise cancelling headphones- wow I’d almost forgotten about that. It somewhat boggles my mind that the Flex can so effectively cancel noise while they must also surely be picking up the very cancellation frequency they’re generating. The tech has come a long way in the last 10 or so years. There’s still the issue of the weird pressure feeling some people observe when using noise cancelling, though. At least this is what I’ve been told from D, who I demonstrated the noise cancelling to. I’ve experienced this on previous headphones but not with the Flex. Either they’re doing a better job of avoiding the negative effects, I’ve got used to it, or my ear (the other one is useless) is simply too far gone to notice.

Although they’re mostly plastic, the Evolve2 Flex are decently built, feel sturdy and exude quality. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Jabra. They can be unfolded with a flick of the wrist and a satisfying snap. No, not the sort of snap that sends one of the ear cups sailing across the room!

A picture of two sets of headphones. One over-ear set on the left with large ear cups and a thick, padded headband and some on-ear on the right with similar styling but much smaller, less padding and a subtle hint of folding hinges. Both fold, actually, but the smaller ones fold smaller.

The Jabra Evolve2 65 Flex are a lot smaller and more portable than the chunky Evolve2 85.


As with other Jabra headsets I’ve tested, the Evolve2 65 Flex are supported by the same excellent, cleanly presented and logical software. I haven’t tried enough apps to claim them an industry leader in this respect, but I don’t doubt they’re at the front of the pack. I’ve seen some apps that stand in stark contrast to Jabra’s- cluttered, uncoordinated, broken and slow. Jabra’s “Sound+” is none of these things. The controls you’ll use most often are presented front and center in the app as “Widgets”, and you can simply remove the ones you’re not interested in. All of the less common settings are ordered into Settings and Personalise menus, of which the former is ordered into Audio, Call and General. Of particular note is Jabra’s less obnoxious upsale tactics- you can still get news and “deals” through the app, but the prominence of these are a far cry from their competitors who’ll interrupt your app usage to show you a pop up ad for the very same headphones you’re trying to use. I feel I shouldn’t be having to keep an eye on upsale dark patterns in apps, but it’s super common and super irritating.

Finally Jabra’s packaging game remains strong. The Evole2 65 Flex game in a compact cardboard box with a branding sleeve, presumably so they could re-use the same packaging across models and swap out the sleeve. Inside the box is a stark, high-contrast yellow insert shouting about their excellent software and the headphones themselves are protected by the felt travel case.

A shot of the outside of the box. It’s compact and plain with a white branded sleeve on the outside showing the Jabra branding. A picture of the headphones. And the name.
The rear of the packaging. The sleeve has a little cardboard clasp so that it’s easy to remove without totally shredding it.
A shot of the box open. There’s a very high contrast yellow insert advertising their excellent software.
On the reverse of the yellow insert is a brief getting started guide. And beneath it is the felt case that the headphones come with.

As is typical of Jabra the packing game is strong. It’s a compact box with no superfluous plastic. The Evolve2 Flex headphones come folded and the padded case that protects them inside the box is the same case you’ll use out on the go.


I still want a folding Jabra headset that doesn’t hurt my ears and that auto powers off when I fold it up and stow it away, but it would be unfair to say that the Evolve2 Flex aren’t otherwise excellent. If I weren’t wearing and using them consistently then I wouldn’t have noticed these issues and I certainly wouldn’t care quite so much. Despite these quirks I’ll no-doubt keep using them.

Monday, August 14th, 2023, Personal Audio.