Jabra Evolve 20 overview
Incredible performance for its price
With Jabra Evolve 20, online students and teachers don’t need to worry about audio quality or noise in the room.
It’s designed to give you better conversations with a world-class microphone and speakers that are optimized for voice.
With a performance that is unbelievable for an entry-level model, this is probably the best headset for online language classes.
- Excellent mics
- Very good headphones
Jabra Evolve series comparison table
Why a headset for online language learning?
As an online Italian teacher, I can tell you that headsets are a must-have piece of online teaching equipment thanks to their superior sound and voice quality.
The best headsets for online tutoring can make a huge impact on both teachers and students.
You certainly want the best headphones for language learning.
- If you’re an online student, the sound quality of your equipment will let you catch every word of your tutor and let them assess your pronunciation accurately.
- As an online teacher, the sound quality of your equipment can help make the difference between an amateurish and a professional image of you. You look as good as your online teaching equipment. Thus, you should invest in quality equipment like headsets and instead rely on stock options that can be lacking.
Your equipment must allow you to speak to and hear your teachers or students with clarity and reliability.
With a top-notch headset, you can focus on your lesson instead of whether they can hear you, you can hear them, or interference from background noises.
In particular, this is true in two ways:
- Hear. Unless you’re in a soundproof room, you are going to be competing with outside sounds. A quality headset will ensure you hear only what’s important – your teacher or your student.
- Be heard. Headsets also have a built-in microphone, so that you’re speaking directly into a mic vs. trying to shout into some invisible hole located on the front of your laptop.
How to choose the best headphones for language learning
There are plenty of headsets out there that are both functional and affordable.
You don’t have to spend much to go from ordinary to professional for the best headsets for online language classes.
In most cases, a good headset is just good enough.
How to choose the best headphones for language learning?
These are the features that I expect from a headset for online tutoring and that I covered in my Jabra Evolve 20 review:
- Excellent microphone. The audio quality from the onboard microphone on your laptop is hardly acceptable because it’s far from your mouth and catches every distant noise. Thus, you want to buy a pair of headphones that have an attached microphone with good audio quality. You’re not going to sing at the stadium, but you do need to be heard clearly even with some noise around you.
- Good headphones. We don’t need excellent audio quality but just good audio because we’re basically doing video calls. For this type of setup, you don’t need a top-of-the-line pair of headphones, but you also want to avoid super-cheap headphones that break in a couple of months or just sound bad. You’re not going to listen to a symphony on Skype, but your counterpart’s voice should be clear even if your room is not completely quiet.
- Compact. Quality headphones for listening to music, watching streaming movies, or playing video games tend to be big and bulky. This is fine for most instances, but not as an online teacher. You want the student to be focused on you and the lesson, not your goofy giant headphones you have on.
- Comfortable. You should feel comfortable with wearing your headphones when you’re learning or teaching online, especially because that can last for hours each day.
- Affordable. If you focus on audio quality and leave out the fancy options, you can get a good pair of microphones and headphones that can do the job at an affordable price. For me, this means around 50.00 US$.
Any quality handset has these features. Good audio quality is a must.
Other features of good headsets
On the other hand, there are features that are not particularly important to me even in the best headset for online teaching. They’re found in the best headsets on the market, but I’m glad to give them up for a better deal.
- Wireless connection. Wireless equipment certainly looks fancy, but is it so important to get by without a cable? I do my classes sitting at my desk, not walking in the park. Generally, this option alone doubles the price, so I’d rather do without it. However, if you learn Italian in the car, you need a wireless model.
- Active noise cancellation. This is the feature that shines at the very top of product lines. Noise-canceling technology shuts you out of the world eliminating any noise. This is certainly useful, but usually not necessary to this extent, especially because it raises the price 5-fold compared with entry-level models. Only the best headset for online tutoring for noisy environments would feature that.
- Leatherette headphones. They look and feel good, but I’m wearing foam headphones for 3 hours a day without any discomfort. They’re better, but not necessary.
- Busy light. Unless you work in a call center, you hardly need this. Obviously, you’re speaking with someone, which means that you’re busy. So, this doesn’t count as the best headset for online tutoring.
- Analog audio adapter. The headsets reviewed here connect through and USB cable, which is absent on tablets, smartphones, and MP3 players. However, if you’re serious about taking classes online, you should be using a computer to type, share your screen, etc. If you ever need an adapter, you can buy it separately for a few bucks.
- Case. The case or bag with the fancy logo looks nice, but your headset can fit into just anything. You can probably dig out something from your drawers or buy a generic one for less.
The best headsets for online teaching might include these features, but they’re not indispensable.
Jabra Evolve 20 review: my headset for online Italian tutoring
Now, let’s look into the Jabra Evolve 20 headset review.
If your needs are similar to those I listed above, I’m happy to recommend the same headset that I use for my online Italian classes myself: Jabra Evolve 20.
In my experience, this is probably the best headset for online language classes.
When it comes to office headsets, Jabra is in the premier league, and the Jabra Evolve series headsets are key players on the market.
There are several models offering an assortment of features and benefits that have landed them as a key choice for various types of businesses.
Jabra Evolve 20 is the entry-level model of its series and yet its noise-canceling technology already makes it an excellent option for both students and teachers.
Both the microphone and the headphones are built for passive noise cancellation: they work to block out sound waves from the environment by the materials they are made of.
Buy it now on Amazon for only $52.00.
Mic audio quality test
In this short video review of Jabra Evolve 20, you can appreciate the difference between mediocre microphones.
You’ll see a demonstration of the noise-canceling effect of the microphone of Jabra Evolve 20, compared with the internal microphone of my laptop and the average microphone that came with a smartphone.
I compared their performance first in a quiet environment and then in a noisy one.
- Built-in laptop mic (0:44)
- Mediocre headset (1:13)
- Jabra Evolve 20 (1:42)
- Built-in laptop mic (2:14)
- Mediocre headset (2:41)
- Jabra Evolve 20 (3:09)
Now that you know how it cancels noise (and you know how cheap it is!) you understand why this is the best headset for online teaching.
However, I understand that if you have higher standards, your best headset for online classes could be different from mine.
That’s why I’m going to show you better (and more expensive) options from the same product series.
Better headset models from the same Evolve series by Jabra
In my Jabra evolve 20 review, I just recommended the USB headset that I actually use for my online Italian classes, both as a student and a teacher. Jabra Evolve 20 is just good enough for me.
However, if you have money to spend and want a particular feature that this model doesn’t have, you’ll want to pick one of the following models.
They range a fair amount between them in terms of features and benefits, though Jabra’s top-notch noise cancellation technology remains throughout.
Here are the most popular USB headsets for online tutoring:
- Jabra evolve 40 for better noise-canceling headphones (the mic is the same), corded
- Jabra evolve 65 for wireless connection
- Jabra evolve 75 for active noise cancellation, wireless
- Jabra evolve 75e for active noise cancellation and in-ear wearing style, wireless
- Jabra evolve 80 for over-the-ear wearing style, corded
If compared with my Jabra Evolve 20, the main upgrades are:
- Better headphone cover material
- More comfortable wearing styles
- Busy light
- Wireless connection
- Active noise canceling
- Accessories (adapter, case, charger)
The best headset for online teaching is not necessarily the best headset for online learning.
In fact, for language learners, listening to what the teacher says can be difficult. In that case, you might want to upgrade to the best headphones for online teaching. We’re talking about Jabra evolve 40, Jabra evolve 75, or Jabra evolve 80.
Make sure that you turn on the active noise-canceling feature (there’s a switch on the headset).
Full range of Jabra headsets
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- PROFESSIONAL HEADSET – The Jabra Evolve 40 pro...
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- ALL-DAY COMFORT – The on-the-ear headset design...
- COMPATIBILITY – This office headset works with...
- Hands-free wireless connection with 100 foot range...
- Passive noise cancellation to eliminate background...
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- Compatible with all leading UC platforms -...
- UNRIVALLED NOISE CANCELLATION The Jabra Evolve 80...
- INCREASE AGENT FOCUS Along with ANC; an integrated...
- WORLD CALL SOUND Find inspiration in sound with an...
- ALL DAY COMFORT With leather feel ear cushions and...
- COMPATIBILITY TheJabra Evolve 80 Wired Headset...
Best cheap headphones for online classes: Logitech H340
If you’re as broke as I was at the beginning of my teaching career, or take online lessons only occasionally, you don’t want to spend a lot on the best headsets.
In that case, Logitech H340 ($21) is a solid choice. It’s used by call centers all over the world for Skype calls and video chat. Just don’t expect stellar quality audio for music.
The USB headset H340 has gained popularity over time and is a great cheap option when it comes to online teaching equipment because it has a noise-canceling microphone, allowing for clear communication between all parties.
In addition, it has adjustable padded headbands and earpads which make it pretty comfortable if you’re going to wear it all day.
Its noise-canceling technology doesn’t compare with the models above, but it’s still one of the best headsets for that price.
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Take online Italian lessons with your new headset!
I shared with you my best headset for online language classes: Jabra Evolve 20 (or better models).
Now, if you’re serious about learning Italian, invest in a decent headset.
Here’s the conclusion of this very personal review:
- For about $50, you can hear and be heard clearly by your Italian language teacher or student.
- Features like wireless connection, better headphone covers, and active noise canceling are appealing but expensive, up to $240.
- If you’re just starting, you can actually get by with $21.
There’s not one single best headset for language learning, but rather many best headsets for online learning depending on your needs.
Now that you have a high-quality headset for your online classes, you only need to book an Italian lesson!
Still translating in your head? Wanna speak Italian for real? Check out Stefano's courses to think directly in Italian and become fluent fast!