Read my review of the newer Jawbone 2 headset.
When you’re a gadget geek like us, it’s always a quest to find the perfect mobile phone, PDA, computer, gear bag, stylus, etc., etc. It goes on and on and on. We’re never satisfied. We’re constantly searching out the best device and accessories. That’s the way it has been for me with Bluetooth headsets. While I’ll admit that I don’t really use one all that often, I still want the most comfortable and best sounding one I can find. And hey, if I really could find one that matches both of those criteria, I might just use one way more often. Well I’m happy to report that I think I’ve found the holy grail of headsets with Aliph’s Jawbone Bluetooth headset.
You can tell by the box that it ships in, that this headset is something special. And you know the old saying that you can’t judge a book by its cover? Well forget all that…
Weight: 1 oz (with ear hook)
Bluetooth version: 1.2
Battery Type: Rechargeable
Talk time: up to 6 hours
Standby time: up to 120 hrs
Range: Up to 33 ft (10 meters)
Charging time: 2 hours
4 adjustable ear hooks
5 ear pads
USB charge cable
Travel USB Charger
The Jawbone is a sleek looking headset. Although it looks like lacquered metal, it’s actually made of a light weight plastic. Available in your choice of Black, Red and Silver, I was sent the Black version.
The design of this headset is contemporary without being over the top goofy. The word Jawbone is embossed on the face, but blends in with the design due to being the same color as the plastic. A vertical LED underlines the name of the headset and is also the division between two buttons. What buttons you ask? The buttons are hidden under the plastic. The button on the back part of the headset (over the word Jawbone) toggles the Noise Shield feature, device pairing and also controls volume levels. The button under the main part of the headset is the power button as well as answer call, end call, voice dial and redial.
Turn the headset over and you see the ear hook, ear pad and voice activity sensor. The activity sensor has to touch your face. I guess that’s where they get the name Jawbone.
The Jawbone comes with 4 different ear hooks. There are 2 for each ear. The hooks are made of metal with a rubber covering and a flexible band. They are easy to remove and insert. Although the ear hooks are pretty comfortable, I didn’t like that it takes some effort to get the headset situated on my ear. I found it a bit awkward to get my ear through the hook and then get the ear pad seated into my ear. Before I even made my first call, I almost was going to discount the Jawbone because of the ear hook. But then I noticed something…
The Jawbone comes with 5 different ear pads. 2 are round and the other 3 are more tear drop shaped.
I wasn’t even going to try the oval ones at first, but then I decided to go ahead and did so with the ear hook removed. Eureka! What a difference and no ear hook is needed. I find that I can just point the microphone down, put the ear pad in my ear and then twist the headset up and it’s seated and ready to go in one quick and effortless motion. Nice!
Here is the Jawbone sans ear hook.
And here it is with the ear hook. Both ways are equally comfortable, but without the ear hook, it’s so much easier to put it on.
Before you can start using the Jawbone, you’ll need to charge it. The headset ships with a USB cable that has a special connector on the end. This connector mates with the back part of the headset. You can also plug the USB cable into the included AC adapter to charge through a wall outlet.
Ok, time for the sound tests! Below are two 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 BlackBerry Pearl 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.
The sound tests really show how great this headset is at blocking out background noise. It’s amazing! It’s hard to believe how well it works until you try it yourself. I did other tests where I turned the radio in my car up full blast (mine goes to 11) and asked the people I was talking to if they could still hear me. They had no problems at all. The noise shield feature is on by default, but you can turn it off if you want to by holding down the back button. I’m not sure why you would ever want to do that though. Also, everytime you place a call or power cycle the headset, it turns the noise shielding feature back on.
The only thing this phone doesn’t seem to be able to do is block out wind noise. At least it didn’t do very well with the outside sound test where I was right over my AC unit ;o) Another issue is that this headset does not have up and down volume buttons. The headset has special software that adjusts the volume automatically whenever it needs to be raised or lowered. There are 2 ways to adjust the volume manually though. You can adjust it directly on your phone, or you can use the rear button (under the Jawbone name) to raise the volume up one level at a time. Each time you press the button, the volume will go up one level (there are 6 levels). Once you reach the maximum level, the next press will start the volume at the lowest level. I found the automatic volume levels to be just fine for me.
Everyone I called with this headset said that it was the best sounding one that they had heard me try so far. I agree and have just made the Jawbone my new favorite Bluetooth headset. Get one, you won’t be disappointed!