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Bluetooth Headset and Car Kit Reviews

Jawbone Bluetooth Headset

Editor's rating (1-5):
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Review posted July 2, 2007 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor

Editor's note July 2008: Read our review of the new Jawbone 2 headset.

Aliph is a relatively new name in the mobile Bluetooth market, but don’t let the fresh name fool you: their first Bluetooth product, the Jawbone Bluetooth headset packs in plenty of cool features, and does it in style. Designed by Yves Behar, the man behind brands such as Birkenstock, the BMW Mini and numerous high-tech products, the Jawbone stands out with its elegant design, strong acoustic performance and powerful noise canceling technology. The voice quality in our real world tests was excellent and we didn’t have the usual hellish time when making calls from very noisy environments. The Jawbone headset comes in three colors: Black, Silver and Red. 

Design

Not many Bluetooth headsets possess the Jawbone’s kind of bold yet elegant design. The headset curves to match the outline of your face, and has a shiny black grilled cover. The earbud and mic rise from the endpoints of the curve on the inner side, and the earhook is sturdy yet comfy to wear. Behar has definitely brought Fifth Ave chic to both the headset design and the packaging.

There are two hidden buttons beneath the grilled cover: the noise shield button on top of the headset and the talk button under the face cover (there is a raised dot to help you feel it). There is a thin LED strip between the noise shield above the grilled cover. The headset’s earbud stays firmly in ear (it comes with a variety of earbud tips) and the mic boom touches the face. The headset does a very good job blocking noise. There is a voice activity sensor at the tip of the mic boom and it helps the headset to identify your voice vs. ambient noise. Some documents tell you that you must have the white tip touching your face otherwise your caller won’t hear you. It’s not true: our voice transmitted to the call recipient even when the headset wasn’t touching our faces.

Jawbone Bluetooth headset

The Jawbone Bluetooth headset has a unique charging port: a four-pin charging port on top of the headset. There is an additional hole in between the four-pin port, and that’s the reset hole should you need to reset your headset (we haven’t had to reset ours so far). The Jawbone is light (0.5 oz.) and was very comfortable ever after several hours.

 

 

 

 

 

Pairing and Features

The Jawbone headset has Bluetooth v1.2 and supports both Hands-Free and Headset Profiles. We tested the Jawbone with several phones and it paired with all phones with ease. To pair the headset, while the headset is off, press and hold noise shield button on top of the headset until it alternately flashes red and white. Use your mobile phone to search for the headset and pair with it using “0000” as the passkey. The Jawbone headset can pair with only one phone at a time.

The Jawbone supports popular phone features including answering/ending calls, last number redial, voice dialing and rejecting calls. The Jawbone utilizes the noise shield button and the talk button to perform various functions. For pairing, turning noise shield on/off and changing volume you will use the noise shield button on top of the headset. The Jawbone Bluetooth headset will automatically set the volume to the optimal level depending on the noise level, and it did a good job of it. Should you need to adjust volume manually you can press the noise shield button quickly to turn up the volume. The talk button takes care of answering incoming calls and ending calls (press once), turning the headset on/off (press and hold), last number redial (press twice) and transferring audio between phone and the headset.

The thin LED strip indicates pairing status, battery and charging status and noise shield activation.  Although there is an audio alert when a call comes in, the LED does not flash. The LED flashes white to indicate the headset is on. While the white LED looks elegant and pleasing, it’s hard to see outdoors during daylight hours.

Jawbone packaging

 

Voice Quality

Jawbone’s voice quality is excellent, beating out most recent Bluetooth headsets we’ve tested. Voice is clear and loud on both receiving and sending ends. It’s fuller on some phones compared to others, but all are quite clear. Jawbone’s noise shield feature makes a significant difference when it comes to blocking out ambient noise, even in very noisy places. It’s the most powerful DSP we’ve heard on a Bluetooth headset. The only thing that the noise shield has some trouble with is wind noise which is harder to identify as wind often comes from all directions from headset’s perspective. The range between the Jawbone and phones is very good by Bluetooth headset’s standards. Here are some details on how Jawbone works with variety of mobile phones:

When working with the Treo 700p on Sprint 
The Treo 700p usually isn’t a Bluetooth headset’s best friend, but the Jawbone did well when working with the Treo 700p though it wasn’t the best among the phones in our tests. We sometimes heard a bit of breakup on incoming voice and outgoing voice was clear but slight tinny. The noisy canceling did its magic here in noisy environments, and our call recipients claimed they couldn’t hear any noise they previous heard after we turned on the noise shield. Range is the Treo 700p’s weakness and many headsets we’ve tested with it can’t get more than 10 feet of range. The Jawbone did a little better by reaching beyond 10 feet but short of 15 feet.

When working with the BlackBerry Curve (BlackBerry 8300) 
We tested several Bluetooth headsets with the BlackBerry Curve and the Jawbone performed the best in our tests. Both incoming and outgoing voice was clear with full tone, and the volume was loud. The noise shield blocked all noise in mildly noisy environments and most noise in very noisy environments. The Jawbone’s range was much better with the BlackBerry than the Treo, reaching about 20 feet before voice quality starts to lose integrity.

BlackBerry Curve and Jawbone bluetooth headset

When working with the Apple iPhone
The Jawbone paired and connected reliably with the iPhone. Volume was good and incoming voice was clear, though not as full as the Plantronics Discovery 655. Outgoing voice quality and volume were good, even with the DSP turned on. Range was 10 to 15 feet.

When working with the Samsung BlackJack
The Samsung BlackJack has great voice quality using AT&T’s 3G and that quality transfers through the Jawbone headset. Voice quality is excellent on both incoming and outgoing ends, and volume is loud. The DSP blocked out most noise except some wind noise. The range was about 25 feet, which is excellent range by Bluetooth headset standards.

Battery Life

The Jawbone Bluetooth headset has a rechargeable battery and you can charge it with the included AC charger and the USB charging cable. Put the charging cap over the charge port on top of the headset to charge the headset; it takes about 2 hours for a full charge. The claimed talk time is 6 hours and standby is 120 hours. The headset performed on target in both talk time and standby time. When the headset is running low on power, its LED will flash red and it will give you audio alert as well.

Jawbone and plantronics bluetooth headsets

The Jawbone and Plantronics Explorer 330.

Conclusion

The Jawbone Bluetooth headset is hard to beat if you are looking for great sound quality, comfortable to wear and chock full of style in a headset. The strong performance in noisy environment should put this headset above most.

Pro: Standout design, comfy to wear and has great fit. Advanced audio technologies ensure great sound quality. The battery life is good, and the headset supports most phone features.

Con: The LED isn’t easy to see in daylight, no mute/unmute function in calls.

Package contains the headset, a wall charger with USB cable, a set of standard earloop (one for left ear and one for right ear), a set of large earloop (one left and one right), 4 sets of earbuds in different sizes and a printed user’s guide.

Technical Specs:
-Bluetooth v1.2.
-Profiles supported: Hands-free and Headset.
-Claimed talk time: Up to 6 hours on a charge.
-Claimed standby time: Up to 120 hours.
-Headset weight: 0.493 oz. (14 grams).
-Battery: Rechargeable.
-AC adapter: 100-240v.

Price: $119.99

Web site: www.jawbone.com

 

 

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