Reader Revanche gave us his take on the Aliph Jawbone Bluetooth headset last week, and we thought it was good enough to share with the rest of the class.
Yes, it looks like a cheese grater but I didn't hear anyone complaining when Apple used that style in their computers. The truth is that there is just no good way to stick something on your ear without looking like a tool. The Jawbone tries it's best by using a soothing white LED instead of the bright blue one that is common on headsets nowadays and keeping their branding to a minimum. You get a combination of earplugs and ear pieces for a snug fit although they all look pretty much the same when you take them out of the box. Charging is done through either the USB port or plugging the USB cable into a power adapter. Thankfully, the power adapter also doubles for plugging in other devices that charge over the USB port (such as my Blackberry), although the manual does not encourage this.
One interesting thing to note is that the earpiece actually springs inwards instead of staying flush with the headset. This is to ensure to ensure that the sensor of the phone actually fits snugly against your face.
After about an hour or two, it starts to get a little sore but no more or less than other headsets I've tried.
I'll say this much, I was able to sit in front of my laptop with Tiesto cranked all the way up and the caller on the other end was none the wiser. When quizzed on the issue, the best they could do was to detect a faint bass in the background but far from anything noticeable or annoying. Actually, I think the most annoying thing about this headset is the constant queries you'll pose to the person on the other end of the call asking them about the noise. It's difficult for me, at least, to sit there with the car window down, the music comfortably up and carry on a phone conversation without worrying that my friend things I'm an asshole for not quieting things down. In reality, he couldn't hear anything beyond my voice.
Listening to calls is a bit of a different story. I didn't notice the headset ever adjusting the volume of my phone calls although it would have been helpful. There are also no easy volume up or down controls from the headset, although there is a method to do it. Unfortunately, I found myself turning off the noise shield instead of tweaking the volume quite a few times. The manual actually recommends first to set the volume from the phone itself, but we all know how far that goes. Nothing that really impairs the ability of the headset, just a nuisance.
At the end of the day, it's not a perfect headset. It won't filter out the strong head-on wind that your walking into or let you talk to your friends from the middle of the dance floor. It will, however, make your every day conversations a lot more pleasant while eliminating the need to apologize for the noises that interrupt them. For me, it came down to being able to talk to clients in the airport without finding a quiet corner, having conversations on a busy street or just keeping the windows down as I drive. As long as you keep the expectations in check, you'll end up with a very rewarding purchase.
Our thoughts are pretty much in line with Revanche's. You can literally sit in a car or at your desk with your music pumped up and the other side will have no idea. Sure, there's wind noise, so you may not be able to walk outside when it's gusting or roll down your car windows.
Although we think the headset looks nice, quite a few did not. There's not really a Bluetooth headset implementation that will please everyone, but this does look nice to us.
Product Page [Jawbone]