Content Nav Menu 

Jawbone Bluetooth Headset Review

on July 1, 2008 9:37 pm

Aliph has recently updated their very popular noise reducing Jawbone headset with a newer version that addresses some of the complaints from the original. One of the main complaints was with size. I didn’t find the size to be much of a problem when I reviewed the original, but let’s see just how much this new version has improved things.

jawbone bluetooth headset

Hardware Specifications

Weight: less than 1 oz (with ear hook)
Bluetooth version: 2.0
Battery Type: Rechargeable
Charging time: 50 minutes (80% at 35 minutes)
Talk time: up to 4 hours
Standby time: over 8 days
Range: Up to 33 ft (10 meters)

jawbone bluetooth headset

jawbone bluetooth headset

Package Contents

Headset

4 ear hooks

3 ear buds

USB charge cable

Travel USB Charger

Quick Start Guide

This newer model is definitely smaller in size than the original Jawbone.

jawbone bluetooth headset
jawbone bluetooth headset

The shape and style remain pretty much unchanged with this new version though…

jawbone bluetooth headset

Available in Gold, Silver and Black, I was sent the Jawbone in Black. Constructed of ultra-smooth medical-grade plastic, the Jawbone has no visible buttons. There are two hidden beneath the outer shell and have to be pressed through the case. A button in the middle acts as the power switch when held down for more than a few seconds. It also acts as the call answer and end button. Another button on curved back edge allows you to toggle the noise canceling feature and cycle through the volume settings. I do wish there were dedicated volume buttons…

jawbone bluetooth headset

Like the original Jawbone, this one also has a voice activity sensor. It’s a small clear rubber post that sticks out of the inner part of the headset. You have to position the headset in your ear in such a way that this post touches your cheek while you talk.

jawbone bluetooth headset

You can wear the Jawbone with or without an earloop. Four different sizes are included, made of either leather wrapped or thin rubber covered wire.

jawbone bluetooth headset
jawbone bluetooth headset
jawbone bluetooth headset

You can also ditch the earloop altogether. This is what I do because it seems like it takes me too long to situate the loop on my ear and the earbud in my ear. Different sized earbuds are also included to customize the fit. I have noticed that the Jawbone 2 is not quite as comfortable to me as the original Jawbone was. The back edge of the headset pushes against the inside ridge of my ear and it feels a bit painful after several minutes. I’ve tried all the earbuds and earloops and can’t seem to fix this problem for my own wacky shaped ears. So your mileage may vary.

jawbone bluetooth headset

To charge the headset, you can use the USB cable / AC adapter combo, or just plug the USB cable directly into your computer. The cable has a connector at the opposite end that is magnetized, allowing you to easily snap the back of the Jawbone into it for charging.

Ok, time for the sound tests! Below are several audio clips of the Jawbone headset in action. This will give you an idea of what it sounds like to receive a call from someone using this headset. I used the free voicemail / fax service from K7.net for these tests. I signed up for a free account, got a phone number and called it using a Palm Centro while using the Jawbone headset. The resulting voicemails are then emailed to you. Pretty nifty! At test time, the phone had full signal strength. Click to listen.

Driving test (472k .WAV file)
Driving with the windows down test (620k .WAV file)
Driving with the radio blaring test (600k .WAV file)
Inside distance test (924k .WAV file)
Inside sweeping test (1.2mb .WAV file)
Outside test (568k .WAV file)

Like the original Jawbone, I have found that audio quality for normal (non-noisy conditions) calls has been very good. Most people are surprised to learn that I’m using a headset when I tell them. That said, I have to say that I have been somewhat disappointed with the noise cancellation feature with this new version. If you go back and listen to the sound tests in my original Jawbone review and compare them to the new sound tests for this new Jawbone, the originals sound much better in my opinion. There’s also the fact that the Jawbone still doesn’t seem to do that well with wind.

Should you buy the Jawbone 2? $129.99 is a lot to pay for headset these days. I think it’s about $30 overpriced if you ask me… Since it doesn’t seem to perform any better than the original, and it also isn’t quite as comfortable for me, I am sticking with the original. Those of you that have tried both, let me know what you think…

 

Product Information

Price:129.99
Manufacturer:Jawbone
Pros:
  • Smaller than original version
  • Easy to use
Cons:
  • No dedicated volume up/down button
  • Noise canceling feature seems to perform worse than original Jawbone
  • Expensive

Comments

  1. 1
    Robert L Grenader says:

    Julie;

    I have always felt the Jawbone had the WOW factor, in a Borgish sort of way, but thought the performance did not in any way match the design. Everybody felt I was speakng from the bottom of a well, and that little “clear rubber post” cheek sensor thingy was, well annoying. Like I had a rubber pin sticking in my cheek.

    And, at $130, you are paying way too much. Try a Plantronics 520 or 510 for real performance. Even the Cardio you reviewed a while ago performs better than its higher prices cousin.

  2. 2
    Julie says:

    Robert:

    I agree that the Jawbone (version 1 and now 2) are too expensive for what you get. But, I did feel that the original version did live up to it’s claims as far as noise canceling.

    Which headset do you use?

  3. 3
    Mike Pierce says:

    Julie,

    My best friend likes his Jawbone (the original bigger one)except he can NOT wear it for long periods of time because it hurts his ear. He tried the Jabra ear gels (a solution on a forum somewhere) but that was no fix. Also, he’s had a problem with the flimsy plastic earhooks breaking. I believe Aliph sent him a metal one that has solvede this problem though. I believe the Plantronics or the Nokia is a much better bet for numerous reasons. They are very durable, have great noise cancelling software (Nokia is better), & are a lot cheaper. I tried the Jawbone out, but didn’t like the fit & it felt too dainty / flimsy.

    I currently use the Plantronics 520. It’s very comfortable, cheap ($45 on Pricegrabber today), great noise cancellation, & has 8 hours talk time, that’s right… 8 hours!!! The only downside is, like my Jabra JX-10, & my Nokia BH-900, it does not have the standard Mini USB charging port. This is a hassle. Other than that it’s awesome & with the 8 hours talk time, who cares anyway, just charge it nightly!

    Also, I own the Nokia BH-900 & it is awesome as well, & feels even better on than the Plantronics. The Noise cancellation software is great & the device has a sliding boom microphone that gets the mic closer to your mouth, probably part of the reason it helps. You can set it to hang up & answer calls by extending & retrieving the boom. It has no earbud sticking down in your ear. Once you figure out how to place it on your ear from the top down then twisting it in place. I learned this only after trying [& failing] for a few days, THEN reading the supplied directions, & only then was it a great headset.

    The Jabra JX-10 [series 1] is stylish & small but it hurts my ear after about an hour or so, maybe even less. The supplied ear hooks constatly break. Jabra will send you 2 more as this is a common problem. There seems to be no digital signal processing (DSP) noise cancellation software built in. This make the Jabra a bad choice while driving. EVERYONE complains they here LOTS of wind noise. This is odd as I drive an Acura RL with the windows rolled up. There is a new one out that supposedly fixes both the ear hooks that are brittle & adds DSP.

    I’d recommend either the Nokia or the Plantronics, both available for around $50 or less on Pricegrabber.com.

  4. 4
    Julie says:

    Hi Mike:

    Thanks for posting about your experiences with various makes and models of Bluetooth headsets. I would have to agree that Plantronics has some nice headsets. I’ve never tried Nokia though. It’s funny, Nokia isn’t a company that comes to mind when you think of Bluetooth headsets… just phones. I’ll have to try one soon!

  5. 5
    Mike Pierce says:

    Great review though on the Jawbone! The 1st version models do sound great. Thanks also for a great website! Mike

  6. 6
    Robert L Grenader says:

    What headset do I use? Well, since I am connected to my cell phone almost 8 hrs/day, I have to use 2, since there is no battery that will provide sufficient talk time to prevent “end of the day bluetooth death.”

    My individual ear shape can be difficult to fit, so I need a headset with an earbud and ear hook.

    Currently I use the Plantronics 520, which is great for fit and noise cancellation, and the Cardo S-800 which is also comfortable and sounds great.

    I think I got them both after reading reviews here…..

  7. 7
    Kelley says:

    Seems stylish, but I have simply come to hate bluetooth headsets, mainly because I can’t find one that will fit me right and too much noise.

  8. 8
    Julie says:

    Kelley:

    Have you tried the visor style Bluetooth speakerphone? Like the Supertooth that Dave recently reviewed?

  9. 9
    Tillman A Bauknight II says:

    Hello Julie,
    I have also purchased the Jawbone 2 and I do agree that it is a little over priced. This is actually my fourth Jawbone ( I hate to say, but I broke two others) and I really like the smaller form factor. I do like the other features that are available such as being able to answer call waiting, turning off the blinking light and the new ear piece.

    I also had some concern regarding battery life in the Jawbone 2, but I guess that comes with having a smaller form factor. Over all I am enjoying the Jawbone 2 but I still have the Jawbone as a backup.

  10. 10
    Julie says:

    Tillman:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the Jawbone 2. Have you found it to be as comfortable to wear as the original? I still prefer the original even with the size difference.

  11. 11
    Tillman A Bauknight II says:

    I actually still wear both headsets. I have modified the original JB by using the Jabra ear piece. This allows me to wear the original JB w/o using the ear holder. For longer Conversations I do use the original since it has longer battery life.

  12. 12
    Scott S. says:

    I bought two of the Jawbone 2 headsets, one for me and one for my fiance. After using it, I sent both back as I wanted to keep my fiance and if I gave her such a thing as a gift, I’m pretty sure she’d leave me :).

    The Jawbone 2 was more comfortable, but that’s about it. I am a systems administrator and I can use the jawbone 1 by all the servers and no one can even hear them. With the jawbone 2, everyone I called said I sounded like I was in a well and could barely hear me. The noise canceling was over-aggressive and butchered my voice. Incoming call quality was OK.

    I tried 4 different headsets before giving up on it. The ironic thing is that when I was speaking with Aliph’s support for RMA even their support rep preferred the sound quality of the original Jawbone.

    In my opinion, the Jawbone 2 is vastly inferior to the Jawbone 1 except for comfort. For everything else, it is simply not worth the price and it’s just short of garbage.

  13. 13
    thefixitguy says:

    If anyone has broken headsets, jawbone or other, I have repaired many and give them to people who can’t afford them. If you have any that are not crushed by a car, let me know and I will give you a mailing address where you can send them. Common failures include the original jawbone earpiece holder breaking off and the wires snapping (a but of a problem but fixable with a microscope and a small soldering tip.) What a great way to recycle and help those in need!

    haroldeveryman@yahoo.com

Leave a Reply