The Highest Rated Bluetooth Headset. Ever.

To go with my brand new Kaiser I also decided to purchase a Jawbone Bluetooth Headset

The feature set is amazing, it claims to have “revoluationary noise shield technology”, eliminating virually all background noise. It also uses adaptive volume, and otherwise enhances incoming audio.

I did my research before buying this headset, the reviews were amazing, and although not especially technical, the website is fairly straightforward and well organized.

I bought it several weeks ago on eBay, shipping took forever, which rather annoyed me, but since I paid less then retail list price, I wasn’t complaining. This headset is available in three colours, Black, Red and Gray, I went for black.

Unboxing the unit was a treat, it was amazingly well designed packaging. The headset was held in using a thin flexible plastic/rubber that ripped as the headset was removed, insuring that no one could repackage the headset to appear brand new if it was actually used — While I normally dislike packaging that self-destructs before you can access the product, it’s comforting to know that my ear is the first ear that has tried this headset out.

The headset doesn’t come charged, and although the documentation says 3-hours for a full charge, it actually took almost five. Not a big deal, but an eternity waiting for a new toy.

Charged up and ready to go, pairing was as simple as any headset. I eagerly attempted to attach it to my head to try it out, and hit my first disappointment, it really wasn’t all that comfortable.

Luckily the manufacturer includes two different sizes of ear loops, and four different earbuds of various sizes and shapes. None quite fit all that well, and I was nearly ready to give up when I decided to try my left ear instead of my right ear. Oddly enough, I found a great fit, although it sometimes feels just a bit tight using the small ear-loop, but the large one is definitely too large.

So, headset attached to my head, paired to my phone, time to fire it up and make a test call or two. Initially I left myself a voicemail, which came through loud and clear. Next, I cranked up the music and left myself another voicemail (a test which my Motorola Razr2 V9 passed with flying colours), when listening to the voicemail I could hear some minor distortion in the background, especially at the end of spoken words, but I couldn’t tell if there was music or just what, and certainly not even a guess at what song. Not quite as good as my Razr2 V9, but not half bad.

Next, I called into my cellphone company’s automated voice response system. Voice response systems are particular about the level of background noise and voice quality, so I’ve had good luck abusing them to test new VoIP configurations and new headsets in the past, and had no trouble navigating at all even with music at a reasonable volume.

Now for the true test, another real live human being. I spoke to a couple different friends, not mentioning the headset at all, just that I got my new phone and wanted to know how I sounded, and after some convincing I did manage to convince my first test subject that 1) Yes I was on a headset, 2) Yes I was on a cell phone, and 3) Yes I did have music playing in the background.

Sweet.

If I were to look for complaints, I’ve got a couple:

Although I would prefer to see a standard mini-USB or micro-USB connection, rather then requiring a proprietary cable to use for charging. On the plus side, the cable can draw power from a USB interface, or from the included power adapter, but it still means one more cable to carry when I am traveling, it would be nice to use standard USB on both ends rather then just one.

Second, pressing the buttons isn’t exactly easy. First off, you need to know where exactly they are, which takes a bit of doing since there is little tactile sensation to tell you when exactly you’re at the button. I also find that it takes a fair amount of pressure to actually trigger either button (especially the “NoiseShield” button on the rear), and you have to hold the NoiseShield button for several seconds if you wanted to toggle the NoiseShield feature or press it repeatedly to change volume, either of which can cause some pain.

Luckily, you don’t press “NoiseShield” very often, I haven’t yet found a need to turn off the NoiseSheild, and I leave the headset on it’s maximum volume, relying on the dynamic volume and my phone’s volume control to adjust the sound levels.

Thankfully, pressing the answer/end button isn’t quite as bad, although I do miss the soft touch of my previous headsets.

All in all, I’m mostly pleased, although after wearing the headset for a couple hours, I do start to get a sore ear. The way the noise cancellation works, you need to have the headset actually touching your cheek, which sounds a bit odd, but you barely notice it due to the angle of the ear loop.

If you don’t already have a bluetooth headset, or dislike the audio quality, this would be a fantastic purchase. However, if you’re already happy with what you’ve got, stick with it.

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