Zivio Boom Bluetooth Wireless Headset Review

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I remember first seeing the Zivio Boom Bluetooth wireless headset at the 2008 Macworld Expo and thinking that it looked pretty sexy, but I wasn’t sure about the practicality of the telescoping boom microphone. It’s now one year later and they’ve sent me one to review. Let’s take a closer look.


Hardware Specifications

Bluetooth Version 2.1 + EDR and Multipoint
10 m (33 ft) range between phone and headset
Talk time: 10 hours
Standby time: 200 hours
Built-in rechargeable battery
Charging via power adapter or any other standard USB compliant charging device
Power adapter simultaneously charges two USB devices
Size: 53.5 x 15 x 7 mm
Weight: 13 g


Package Contents

Zivio Bluetooth headset
Dual-USB wall charger
2 × USB charging cables
Quick-start pocket guide
Illustrated Manual
2 × magnetic ear loops
3 × scoop style earpieces
6 × mushroom style earpieces
2 × mushroom connectors

My first impression of the Zivio was that it looked very Apple-esqe with its Black and chrome design. I think it has a cool tech fashion style with crisp edges and modern geometric touches in the buttons and LEDs.


The outside surface has a slightly rubberized texture that feels soft to the touch. There are three buttons on the outside. The one closest to the back edge is the call answer / end button. This button (called the Joby button) has a circular pattern of LEDs that shows the status of the battery and pairing mode. It will also blink every 5 seconds to indicate that it is powered on. The + and – buttons allow you to adjust the volume. Pressing both volume buttons at the same time will toggle mute on and off. All three buttons have good tactile feedback.

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The earphone is located on the other side.


It can swivel on its base to allow for a more customized fit.


The power button and charging connector are located on the back end of the headset.


The headset charges through a special USB cable that can be plugged into your computer, or into the included AC adapter. The Joby button will glow Red while the headset is  charging.


When charging is completed, the Joby button will glow Green.


The main unique feature of the Zivio is the telescoping boom microphone.


The boom is relatively easy to extend and collapse. I do have some fear that the boom could break after repeated use. It is made from really thin metal tubes. Although you can use this headset without extending the boom, the sound quality (for people on the other end of your conversations) will be better when you take advantage of this feature.

Zivio offers several ways to wear this headset.


They include three gel style ear pieces that will allow you to quickly insert and remote the headset from your ear. These ear pieces are soft and pretty comfortable.


If you prefer using an ear hook, Zivio includes a magnetic ear hook and a snap on adapter that is used with what they call mushroom style ear pieces.


The adapter snaps on the ear piece…


Then a mushroom ear piece installs over the adapter. Lastly, the magnet ear hook is placed on the metal inside surface of the headset. Since the ear hook is magnetic, you can slide it around where ever works best for you.

zivio-boom-13 zivio-boom-14

Here you see me wearing the Zivio with and without the ear hook. I actually prefer not to use the hook with this headset. For me, it takes too long to put on this headset when I’m using the hook. I’ve also pulled the magnetic hook off the headset when I remove it from my ear. Although it’s a cool idea, I’m wondering how many people would really use it on a regular basis.

I have had no problems using this headset with a Nokia N85. It paired easily and the audio quality on my side of the calls was outstanding. When calls come in, the ring tone set on the phone plays through the Zivio headset. It also worked well for voice dialing.

Accessing the buttons while wearing the headset is pretty easy, but I do wish that they weren’t quite so flat, so that you could feel them through a thin glove. It is Winter right now, so I’m always wearing gloves while driving.

Ok, time for the sound tests! Below are several audio clips of the Zivio Boom 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 Nokia N85 while using the Zivio Boom headset. The resulting voicemails are then emailed to you. Pretty nifty! At test time, the phone had full signal strength. Click to listen.

zivio-boom-outside (108k .WAV file)

zivio-boom-inside (96k .WAV file)

zivio-boom-car (68k .WAV file)

It’s pretty apparent though these sound bites that the headset sounds much better on the caller’s side of the conversation when the boom is extended. When it is not extended, the audio sound muffled and muddy. Other than wind noise, the headset does well with canceling background noises while driving (road noise, engine noise and radio).

I like the Zivio Boom Bluetooth headset because it’s easy to use, easy to charge, looks pretty nice, is comfortable to wear and has good sound quality on both sides of a conversation. That said, I haven’t made up my mind yet if the extendable boom is a great feature, or just a hassle. I’m all about gadgets being fast and easy. So if I have to pick up the headset, extend the boom and then put it on, that’s one extra step that I would not have to do with a regular headset. Am I being too picky? Yeah probably… What do you think? Would you use a Bluetooth headset with an extendable boom?


Product Information

  • Easy to use
  • Multiple ways to wear it
  • Very good audio quality on both sides of call (when using the boom)
  • Must use boom for best audio quality
  • Question about long term use of the boom; will it break?

20 thoughts on “Zivio Boom Bluetooth Wireless Headset Review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. Before I answer your boom question, I’d like to mention that I like the availability of multiple wearing options. I had my ears done to flatten them, and the unforeseen result is that I cannot use the various non-earhook methods. That being said, I have to rely on ear-hooks, and a flexible option like this one is probably the best fit for me 😉

    Now as for the boom, I am pleased to see an option on the market for a small, yet boom-equipped headset. I carry my headset with me all the time, but do not wear it all the time. That being said, I have to carry it in my pocket, where a too big, or the flimsy headset tends to break. I used small ones like the Jabra JX-10, and loved the format, but broke so many earhooks and lost count altogether. Moreover, I take business calls in my car and then need a headset with high call quality, which in my opinion is more readily available with the presence of a boom…

    Now this product seems to cover all my needs: a small form factor, a flexible earhook, and the availability of a boom on certain occasions.

    Thanks Julie for the review! You may just have made my day… 🙂

  3. Hello Julie,

    I am a very happy owner of the Zivio. I don’t know how many BT headsets I have owned starting with the jabra 250 years ago to the Sennheiser vmx100 last year…I have a very deep voice and this makes it very difficult for people to understand me to begin with.

    The Zivio is hands down the best headset i have ever owned. To extract the boom is not an issue at all, I can sit in a loud coffee shop and speak in a completely regular manner, and people will understand me. No one on the neighbouring tables needs to turn their heads because they can barely hear me talking.

    I had an issue where the boom came loose one day outside when it was cold..I stuffed it back in and it did keep in place, however Joby support insisted on sending me a replacement headset (to germany!) which i received within a week. Great and responsive support, and an excellent product.

    The only objection i want to make is that the eargels may not be perfect for everyone….I am using the in-eargel variant without the hook and am ok with it, but occasionally the headset tends to tilt downwards. I also want to add that the Jabra gels from the 200-500 series also fit and i have read somewhere that some other jabras also will fit and do a great job on the Zivio. And lastly: one can always go to an audiologist and have custom fit gels made…probably the best option anyway. One thing is for sure: the Zivio is a great headset and deserves every fitting effort..;-)

  4. I like the idea of the adjustable earhook…and I agree with you Julie that it would also be a pain for me to have that falling off when I remove the headset. My first action, if I bought this, would be to find the “sweet spot” for the ear hook (I’m glad that they left this adjustable because everyones head shape is different) and then add some some hot glue to the edges of it to lock it in place. The hot glue would not be visible since its on the side facing you, and it could always be removed in the future if needed.

  5. Andrea Electronics also makes the BT-200 with a boom (not-retractable), but it looks like that would be fragile. I like the boom idea because sound quality is the most important factor for me. I actually found the quality on the Jawbone 2 to be pretty bad audio quality, despite the hype. I have a feeling the next model Zivio will be the one to get. (note: I have no interest/ connection to Andrea, other than I’ve been trying to find a good boomed BT headset).

  6. Hi Julie,

    I’ve read your article with interest and I’m delighted to test a Zivio Boom I’ll receive normally this week. I’ll keep it a few days to perform some tests with my iPhone. In your article, this device looks as good as it’s described in some other articles I’ve read so far.
    I’m currently using a Jabra BT8040 with my iPhone 3G and people complain that I sound far, and/or my voice is breaking up.
    Most of the time this happens when I have long distance confcalls.

    As per some indications I received from Joby, the indicated this was also a known past issue with the Zivio and they have now fixed this problem.

    So, I should receive a test kit within the next few days and really hope that it will reach my expectations.
    My only concern is how it wear in the ear, especially whether it stays in place correctly without the ear hook. I’ll see that.

  7. I just got my Zivio yesterday and already I’m amazed by this headset. It’s super comfortable once I got the right sized ear gel. It doesn’t fall out as I thought it would either. Most importantly, when the boom is extended it has by far the best sound quality my cell phone has ever produced (with a headset or without).

    I’m going to give it some driving tests to see how well it cancels out background noise, but so far it blows my previous Jabra BT8040 out of the water. I had the same complaints that Nicolas (above) had when using it. And, the biggest problem is that for important calls I would never trust my BT8040 and had to hold the phone.

    I have no concerns about using the Zivio for calls now. My ONLY concern is that I was used to throwing my BT8040 in my jeans pocket. I hope that the Zivio can be carried like that as well. (From one Amazon post it appears that Joby has great customer service and so if it does break, I shouldn’t be too far up the creek). 😀

  8. Quick update. I’ve been using this quite heavily in my home office, work office and car (not super quiet Mazda 3).

    This thing is AWESOME. I had a day of disappointment when the thing kept falling out of my ear, but then I stuck on one of the over-the-ear holders and I couldn’t be happier. With the boom extended it really has the best sound quality (on the other end) that one could ever hope for on a cell phone. I no longer get the “whoever the guy on the speakerphone or headset is we can’t hear you” on calls. 😀

    Also, it was sitting in my Amazon cart for a while and then suddenly the price dropped $30 to $99 so I jumped on it. It’s still at $99 which is a great price for this.

    In answer to one of my previous concerns, it really doesn’t go in jeans pockets very well. It DOES, but the ear piece gets moved and the over-the-ear clip falls off or sticks to keys (it’s a magnet). So, I’m now one of the mindless drones walking around with a bluetooth headset on when I’m not on a call. Ah well…at least now I’m “cool”. Right? 😀

  9. Julie,

    How does this compare to Plantronics’ new Voyager Pro that Cnet rated as being the best in quality/sounds….and in wind noice cancelation ?

    I drive a convertible and I need a good one….I have Plantronics’ 510 that is getting a bit old…



  10. I am pleased to find a bluetooth headset with extendable boom. Logitech had one several years ago that I loved with wonderful quality in all areas, but they discontinued it much to my disappointment.

  11. This headset is a big disappointment. Although the sound quality is great, the fit is horrendous; there is no way to get it to stay in my ear. I’ve had to stop using it.

    It comes with three different sizes of gel caps, neither of which fit. It also comes with a mushroom style earpiece. That also doesn’t fit. Worse, the ear hook that is supposed to hold the device in place despite the bad fit doesn’t work; the hook slips into a magnet, but then as soon as you place it on your ear it slips right out again, leaving you with a hook dangling from your ear and a Zivio spinning around on the floor somewhere.

    I give this device 0 stars.

  12. I was waiting some years for a clever BT headset with the ability to talk in a regular soundlevel and a mic beside the mouth. (At least i still don’t talk out of my ear). I used a few different, also more expensive headphones and none of them satisfied my daily needs and had a similar soundquality to the boom. It fits perfectly, has a cristal clear sound and also never shows a problem with the connected X1. While the last Sennheiser i had disrupted every 2nd call. Me who wears the whole day a headset needs a really good solution, doesn’t matter if it takes a step longer to use the boom or not. I am really satisfied and can hardly believe there are people having trouble with it.

  13. What a waste of money!!! The concept of boom mike is good for a noisy environment but the design is all wrong–it is too heavy for the magnetic hook and the ear piece. it is hard to make it stay in one place even if you use the ear and hook combo. If you turn your head the darn thing will swing left and right in your face. You have to be careful everytime you put it on with that magnetic hook and that ear gel that will come off if you’re not careful. After a few months, the mike boom came off and did not work after that. This is my honest assessment . You’ve been warned.

  14. I’ve quit using my Jawbone because everytime I pick it up, the battery is dead. I’ve gone through three of them and in none of them does the battery last very long when not in use. Has anyone let their Zivio set very long between uses – like for a couple of weeks? My Plantronic BT would easily go for a month or more of non-use before needing to be charged again.

  15. Hi Julie, seems to be what I’ve been looking for. Does it support A2DP? This would be a deal breaker for me if it doesn’t.

  16. Hi Julie, sorry to hear that. Do you know of anything out there that would be similar in function and quality that also supports A2DP?

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