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Home > Bluetooth Headset and Car Kit Reviews > Jawbone Icon Hero

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Jawbone Icon

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Editor's Choice award

What's hot: Very stylish design, great voice quality, strong DSP.

What's not: No volume control.

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Review posted March 2010 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor

We've looked at a lot of Bluetooth headsets over the years, and the Jawbone ICON still managed to impress us. The new and smaller design by Yves Behar looks ultra modern and comes in 6 very different outfits. The Bluetooth headset has even tighter integration with the iPhone and Aliph, the maker of Jawbone headsets, now hosts services for personalizing your headset with new side-loading voice guidance and new apps; a brand new territory that signals the future of Bluetooth headsets. The new version of NoiseAssassin is more deadly and the voice quality is better than previous Jawbone generations.

The Jawbone Icon lists for $99.99. Each cover design for the Jawbone Icon has a name since they look drastically different from each other. We have the Hero design for this review provided by eXpansys USA. You can buy the Jawbone Icon from AT&T stores as well as online retailers including eXpansys USA which is a reputable e-tailer for import phones and mobile accessories.

Jawbone Icon Hero

The Jawbone Icon Hero.

Design

There is nothing that says “we care about how our headsets look” more than giving you 6 drastically different looking yet equally stylish cover designs. The new Jawbone Icon looks like a smaller version of the original Jawbone, and it’s shorter and lighter than the Jawbone Prime. Happily for those who are used to the jawbone-touching design, the Jawbone Icon has the same feature with a voice activity sensor next to your cheek. You can wear the Jawbone Icon with or without the ear hook. The headset comes with three “Fit” rubber tips in different sizes for wearing without a hook and four different sized tips for wearing with a small but flexible ear hook that fits either ear.

The Jawbone Icon is easy to use thanks to the clean design and the new features in Bluetooth v2.1 that allow for easy pairing. The headset has a power on/off button on the back. The Jawbone Icon has a talk button on top and it’s long and easy to find even with the headset on your ear. A microUSB port lives between the talk button and the earpiece. The Jawbone Icon comes with a short and firm USB cable that props up the headset while charging so that you can see the LED light ring that indicates charging status.

 

 

Deals and Shopping

 

 

 

Unlike most Bluetooth headsets, the Jawbone Icon doesn’t have volume controls. You can control the headset volume using your cell phone, and the headset will remember the volume.

Jawbone Icon Hero

The Jawbone Hero and the Jawbone 2.

 

Pairing and Features

The Jawbone Icon has Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR and it supports Headset and Hands-Free profiles. Like most headsets with Bluetooth v2.1, the Jawbone Icon can pair with multiple devices and connect with two simultaneously. To put the headset into pairing mode, press and hold the Talk button while turning on the headset using the power slider until the LED light flashes red and white alternately. You can then use your phone to detect and pair with the headset.

Jawbone Icon Hero

An army of ear gels and an ear hook are included.

Aliph claims the Jawbone Icon is a smart headset and that’s no idle boast. The headset now has full integration with the iPhone which allows you to monitor the headset’s battery life on your iPhone’s status bar. The bigger story with the Jawbone Icon is the audio instruction customization and additional apps you can side load to the headset over USB. You do these via the mytalk.jawbone.com web site. Aliph provides an updater application for both PC and Mac and a web interface for choosing different voices (Sexy, Smart, Foxy, Super, etc.) and other languages (Spanish, French and German). You can also download apps like Voice Dial, 411, Jott and more to the headset. This service is still in beta but the process is easy and smooth. The voice guidance provides battery status and pairing info as well as reading out caller ID.

Voice Quality and Range

We tested the Jawbone Icon with many mobile phones and found the voice quality excellent on most phones and the DSP very effective against loud road noise and wind noise. The Jawbone Icon has Aliph’s NoiseAssassin 2.5 technology and it’s getting more and more efficient with each new version. The range is also very good reaching at least 20 feet between the headset and phone before we start to hear voice degradation. Here are reports from some of our tests:

When working with the iPhone 3GS
The Jawbone Icon worked very well with the iPhone 3GS and had clear voice on both incoming and outgoing ends. We used the iPhone to adjust the volume and the headset sounded loud and remembered our volume setting. The DSP worked incredibly well when working with the iPhone, filtering out very loud noise from large diesel engines, wind noise and in-door ambient noise. The range was about 20 feet.

When working with the BlackBerry Bold 9000:
The voice quality again was excellent when working with the BlackBerry Bold 9000. It sounded clear and loud on both incoming and outgoing voice ends, and the DSP was super effective. The headset filtered out road noise and wind noise completely. The range was about 20 feet.

When working with the Motorola Backflip:
The voice quality wasn’t as good with the Motorola Backflip as with the iPhone 3GS or the BlackBerry Bold 9000, but that’s not to say it was bad. Incoming voice was very clear and sharp, but outgoing voice had some digital distortion. The voice quality was good enough to carry on smooth conversations.  The DSP worked well on the Motorola Backflip for road noise and ambient noise, but was less effective against wind noise than on other phones. The range was about 20 feet.

Battery Life

The Jawbone Icon has a built-in rechargeable Lithium-Ion Polymer battery and it comes with an AC adapter as we as a USB/microUSB cable that can work with the AC adapter or computer USB port. The claimed talk time is 4.5 hours and the claimed standby is 10 days. These numbers are mostly accurate according to our battery tests. The Jawbone Icon had no trouble finding its partners after power cycles in our tests.

Conclusion

Smaller and lighter, the new Jawbone Icon has a gorgeous design as well as improved voice quality and a more efficient DSP. The headset plays well with most phones, and the new Bluetooth version gives it more versatility in working with more devices. The biggest feature however is the side-loading capability for applications and new voice instructions, which takes the Jawbone Icon a step beyond what other headsets can do today.

Pro: Very stylish design, great voice quality, strong DSP.

Con: No volume control.

 

Package contains: the Jawbone Icon headset, 3 fit earbuds, 4 round earbuds, ear hook, microUSB cable, AC adapter and printed guides.

Technical Specs:
-Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR
-Profiles supported: Headset and Hands-Free profiles
-Claimed talk time: Up to 4.5 hours
-Claimed standby time: Up to 10 days
-Headset size: 1.77 x 0.72 x 0.94 inches
-Headset weight: 0.29 ounces (8.2 grams)
-Battery: Built-in rechargeable Lithium-Ion polymer battery
-AC adapter: 100-240V

 

Price: $99.99

Web site: www.jawbone.com

 

 

 

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