There are bluetooth headsets a'plenty out there in the world of mobility. Anything is fair game from tiny headsets that fit in your ear to monstrous behemoths that attach to the side of your face like a Borg. I have the had the pleasure of using the Jawbone bluetooth headset for some time now. I also have used other headsets quite regularly such as Apple's bluetooth headset and a Motorola H700C. The iPhone Blog has also reviewed the Sony Ericsson HBH-PV705 (opens in new tab) and the Plantronics Discovery 665 (opens in new tab) recently. These headsets come in all shapes and sizes and they all claim to do something "special". There has been a lot of press about this device. Does it live up to the hype? Or is it simply just another over-sized headset that blends in with a crowded marketplace. Let's take a look...
What's in the box:(opens in new tab)
This headset comes in some rather fancy packaging; clear plastic laid out to highlight the headset as if on a pedestal and cardboard wrapping. Once you figure out how to open it (yeah, it took me a few minutes, I did not want to "tear" it open) you are presented with what I consider to be a lot of accessories for a mobile headset. You have four hear rungs (to go around your ear, two left and two right), five hear pieces to ensure the device comfortably fits in your ear and a charger that works on Apple's premise: give them a USB cable and a wall adapter to plug into the end of it.
Size and build:(opens in new tab)
This headset is larger than your typical bluetooth headset. Not that this is a knock on the headset, but this has to be one of the largest bluetooth headsets I have come across. You will understand the need for a headset this large later, but at first glimpse, you may be taken away with its proportions. The headset is of superior quality; two pieces of molded high-quality plastic for the device, less of course the ear piece components. The ear rungs and ear pieces are solid and sturdy. The ear pieces even lock into place, no need to worry about them falling off.
Feel in the ear, fit:
Even though the headset is large, it is very comfortable and lightweight. The different ear rungs are helpful when trying to adjust the headset just-right. Once you have your combination of rung and earpiece selected, you just slip the headset on your ear.
This is where the problems begin.(opens in new tab)
I was excited to try the headset on. I typically like headsets to rest on my left ear, it is just the way I am. I tried combinations of ear rungs and earpieces. Absolutely none of them would keep the Jawbone in my ear. I would turn my head to the left, the head set would leave thesecureness of my ear canal and just float on my ear, as if flapping in the wind. So, I tried my right ear. One of the earpieces would let the headset stay in that ear. This is too bad because it feels very unnatural in the right ear, I want my headset in my left ear! I figured there must be something wrong with me. I had my wife try the numerous fittings, and to my dismay, it would not fit in either of her ears. I asked some people at work that used this headset and they agreed with me; it was very challenging to find a combination of rung and earpiece to fit ones ear.
Sound quality:(opens in new tab)
Placing and accepting calls are standard fanfare. Press the button on the headset to accept and end. The "click" button is a bit elusive at first since there is no physical external button to speak of. You simply squeeze the headset together. After further inspection I did find a small guiding ridge to press the "button", this helps when squeezing the headset while on your ear. I had no particular complaints about the Jawbone when I spoke to people. Friends and colleagues could hear me just fine. However, this is the shining achievement of the Jawbone. You see, what sets this headset apart from others, besides its size, is a sensor that rests on your cheek (hence the extra size of the headset I mentioned earlier in this review). This sensor detects the difference in your voice to that of ambient noise. The result is a clear call for all parties, truly revolutionary and it really, really is worth the price of admission.
Battery Life & Charging:
The Jawbone has great battery life. Though I have never timed it, the headset will last me for a whole day. I charge it in the evenings, and it a ready to go the following day. The USB cable and add-on plug-in charger are really very helpful. I only wish the USB cable was not proprietary. Instead, if it gets damaged or you need and extra cable you have to order it through Aliph, the company that makes the Jawbone. Not a major issue, but more than once I have left on a trip and forgotten a charge cable.
Conclusion:(opens in new tab)
This headset gets a slightly higher mark than the Apple bluetooth headset I reviewed a while back (opens in new tab). Though bigger and you may have challenges on how it is worn, you at least have consistent and a great call quality experience. I am a fan of this headset, even though I have to wear it on my right ear. The call quality and clarity is second to none. To be fair, I don't want readers to walk away and think that there is no static and the call is "crystal" clear. This technology is not perfected yet and until it is you will still have static and crackles. This headset just happens to be the best at giving you a superior calling experience.
Ratings (out of 5)
- Size and build: 4
- Feel and fit: 3
- Outgoing sound quality: 5
- Incoming sound quality: 5
- Battery life: 4
- Amazing audio quality
- Looks cool, even for a Borg
- Plenty of sizing options
- Great battery life
- Very difficult to fit properly. I fact, it may not fit you at all
BONUS: Here is a video for the Jawbone demonstrating its use and effectiveness... enjoy!
Software trainer, blogger and mobile technology enthusiast living in the suburban Midwest.
Looks like you have a cheese-grater on the side of your head!
I got one of these badboys during the boxing day sales last year (it's a Canadian thang!), and first time my co-workers saw me with it, that was what they said "cheese grater". Therapy has helped.
Great device, great quality, but the fit issues are spot on (then again, I haven't found a single earbud or in-ear that doesn't fall out on me yet).
Another caveat: 2 of the earloops snapped on me within the first month, and I'm not down to the small left ear one. :(
My ear loop broke after 6 months, and when I complained Aliph sent me not just one, but four replacement loops of the same kind (i.e. R Long).
@Dave: Sadly, as I said, I've yet to find any earbud or inner-ear that stays in my ear more than a few seconds.