Review posted April 2008 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
In the world of headsets, Jabra needs no introduction. As one of the most popular Bluetooth headset brands, Jabra has a wide range of products in its Bluetooth headset portfolio. The Jabra BT8040 is their latest high-end headset that’s very small, has Bluetooth v2.0 +EDR, a DSP with active nose reduction and multi-connection technology. It functions not only as handsfree headset for calls, but also supports A2DP (in mono) for streaming music. The Jabra BT8040 lists for $99.99.
The Jabra BT8040 is one of the smallest Bluetooth headsets we’ve seen. It’s about the same size as the Samsung WEP200, smaller than both the BlueAnt Z9 and the SouthWing SH440. The Jabra has a clean design that makes it easy to operate. There are only three controls: the answer/call end button which also doubles as the pairing button, the volume up and down rocker which also covers the LED light and the charging port on top of the headset. The Jabra BT8040 is designed for you to wear without an ear-hook; you only need to insert the small earpiece arm into your ear. The headset is secured by an ear-gel piece and the package comes with 6 ear-gel pieces in three sizes. We tested the headset in fast walks and the headset stayed in the ear securely. The Jabra BT8040 is very light at 0.35 ounces and once you find the right ear-gel size, it’s comfortable to wear it throughout the day.
Pairing and Features
For voice calls, the Jabra BT8040 supports both Headset and Hands-Free Profiles. We paired the Jabra with several phones and it paired with all easily. The Jabra BT8040 will go into pairing mode automatically when you turn it on for the first time. To manually pair it, press and hold the call answer button, while the headset is off, until the LED turns blue. Find the headset from your phone and use the default pass code 0000 to form a partnership. One nice thing about the Jabra BT8040 Bluetooth headset, for those who use two Bluetooth enabled phones (one for work, one for home), is that it can multi-pair with two phones at the same time. Though some call management features such as voice dialing and last number dialing will only work with the last paired phone, in-call features such as rejecting calls, call waiting, etc. work with the phone currently in use.
The Jabra BT8040 comes with a good set of call management features including voice dialing, rejecting calls, last number redial, call waiting, putting a call on hold and mute. We tested these features on multiple phones and they all worked well including voice dialing and voice command over the BT8040. In addition to phone call support, we’re starting to see more mono Bluetooth headsets that support streaming audio via the A2DP profile. The Jabra BT8040 has this feature: you can play music on your phone and listen through the Jabra. Though not everyone wants to listen to music via a mono headset, the feature is there when you need it.
The small crowd: the Jabra BT8040, SouthWing SH440 and Samsung WEP200 Bluetooth headsets.
Voice Quality and Range
As one of the high-end Bluetooth headsets, the Jabra BT8040 scores several DSP features including noise reduction, volume control depending on noise level, automatic volume adjustment on incoming call and acoustic shock protection. All these features mount to an effective DSP on the Jabra. While the DSP worked well at reducing most road noise and other environmental noise, the Jabra BT8040’s audio wasn’t crystal clear on either side of the call. This didn’t surprise us because most small-sized Bluetooth headsets don’t have the best audio quality (the Samsung WEP200 was an exception as it has very good voice quality). The voice on the Jabra had noticeable digital distortion when working with several phones we tested it with, but conversations were understandable nonetheless. The range between the Jabra and the phones we tested was generally impressive. Voice dialing worked on all the phones we’ve tested as well, except with the Samsung BlackJack II with MS Voice Command 1.6 installed. Here are the details on several phones we’ve tested:
When working with the Motorola MOTO Z9 (Bluetooth v2.0) The voice quality was average on both incoming and outgoing ends with some voice clipping but still voice on both ends was still very intelligible. The volume was good and the auto volume adjustment took effect. The DSP filtered out most of the road noise and reduced the sound of passing by cars to small sounds. The range was very impressive when working with the MOTO Z9- we got at least 25 feet without hearing any crackling. That’s one of the best ranges we’ve seen from a mono Bluetooth headset.
When working with the ASUS P527 (Bluetooth v2.0) The Jabra BT8040 faired much better with the ASUS P527 than with other phones we’ve tested in the audio quality department. The voice sounded much clearer on the ASUS without any noticeable audio distortion, though the voice was not terribly full. The DSP on the Jabra worked very well: almost all the road noise was filtered out and wind noise was minimal. The range between the Jabra BT8040 and the ASUS P527 reached at least 20 feet.
When working with the Samsung BlackJack II (Bluetooth v2.0) The voice quality was worse when working with the BlackJack II compared to other phones. Both incoming and outgoing voice had noticeable audio distortion and voice clipping (high end and low end). We could hold conversations using the Jabra, but needed to work a bit harder at it than with other phones. DSP and audio adjustment worked well. We got about 20 feet of range when working with the BlackJack II. Voice Dialing did not work.
The Jabra BT8040 has a rechargeable battery and you can charge it with included world charger (100-240V) or via USB with included cable. You can also charge it using a car charger that you can purchase separately. It takes about 2 hours to reach a full charge. The claimed talk time is 6 hours max and claimed standby time is 200 hours. These are very good runtimes for such a small headset, and our battery tests showed that these numbers were on target. The Jabra BT8040 has an efficient power saving mode ("quiet mode" in Jabra’s lingo) that turns off LED when not in use. The headset's LED will flash red to indicate that the power is low.
For those who want a discreet headset with long battery life, the Jabra BT8040 fits the bill. Though not the best audio we’ve heard, the Jabra gets the job done. Users will have no trouble holding conversations via this headset in most environments. The DSP works effectively to filter out noise, though it can’t compete with the DSP power on the Jawbone (but the Jawbone is much, much bigger than the Jabra). The battery life is impressive compared to most small Bluetooth headsets and the range is quite good.
Pro:Small and light, easy to use, can pair with two phones at the same time, supports A2DP for music streaming. DSP works well. Very good battery life.
Con:Audio has some distortion and clipping.
Package contains: The Jabra BT8040 with internal rechargeable battery, 6 Jabra ear gels (2 small, 2 medium, 2 large), AC world charger, USB charging cable and printed user guide and quick start guide.