Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

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May 12, 2010 • Reviews

Jabra EXTREME Bluetooth Headset Review

My first Bluetooth came from Jabra. Because the phone didn’t have Bluetooth, I needed to use an additional Bluetooth dongle that connected to it via the 3.5 mm jack. The was the “traditional” design that Jabra used for many years. It wrapped around the ear and stayed completely stable no matter what you were doing. Yes, you looked like a bit of a dork while wearing the headset, but it stayed in place and was super comfortable.

In addition, it had a boom mike that brought the microphone close to your mouth for better sound quality. That didn’t much matter however, since Bluetooth technology was rather poor at the time. The Bluetooth signal was so weak and the sound quality was so unreliable that the headset was more “wow” than “usable”.

Since then I’ve largely opted for headsets that forgo the wrap around style. They tend to be small, less obtrusive and, thanks to improvements in the technology, they sound better. The updated design allows the headsets to be smaller but, at times, it makes them a bit less stable in the ear. As a result it is often helpful, or even necessary, to use an earloop to keep them secure.

This is the design Jabra opted for with their Jabra Extreme. It is a small, unobtrusive headset that brings powerful noise cancellation to an otherwise simple-looking headset.

Let’s take a look.

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Specs-

  • Eliminates background noise with dual microphone technology
  • All day comfort with Ultimate-fit Eargels™ and ear hook
  • Adjusts volume automatically
  • Convenient car charger and headset holder in one
  • Easy to use with dedicated on/off slider and auto-pairing
  • Multiuse™ – connect to 2 devices at the same time
  • Up to 5.5 hours talk time and up to 10.5 days standby time?
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As I said above, the style of the is nothing to write home about; it doesn’t have a boom or anything fancy, and this headset won’t make you go “wow!”. No, it’s quite simple and unassuming. It is a far cry from the last Jabra I reviewed, the Stone, which had an amazing industrial design. It was a wraparound style, and it came with its own “stone” that doubled as the charging unit. This was especially important because the headset itself had a relatively short battery life. Yes, the Stone had an awesome design. It made you go “wow!” but what it had in the style department it lacked in the comfort and sound quality department — at least in my opinion.


The Jabra Extreme’s Design-

Measuring 1.9″ by 1.1″ wide by 0.7″ thick the Extreme is the anti-Stone. Simplicity in all its glory. The headset is made from gunmetal gray plastic with a perforated grille on the front and black on the back. The headset’s dual microphones are hidden behind the grille, but trust me… the quality of the sound guarantees they are there.

The buttons are unassuming. The middle button is branded with the Jabra name. It functions as the multifunction talk button. Next to it is the LED indicator. The volume controls are above and below it. They are small… really small… and at times they were difficult to use.

A feature that I LOVE, and that I am starting to see on an increasing number of headsets, is a dedicated on/off switch. This makes it easy to get the headset on and connected when a call is coming in. I am really happy to see this simple design change.

The headset weighs just three ounces, so it is quite comfortable over extended periods. It comes with–

  • 1 Jabra EXTREME headset
  • 1 AC charger, 1 car charger
  • 1 USB charger
  • 2 earhooks in different sizes
  • 2 Ultimate-fit EargelTM?I love the car charger Jabra ships with the device.
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The two piece system is unlike anything I have seen before and it works great. The USB adapter fits into the car’s cigarette lighter/power port and a second piece converts USB to microUSB.

The whole thing fits together nicely and when in the car…

It keeps the headset charged and also within easy grasp.

Ultimately, when it comes to headsets design is nice but sound is what matters most. Jabra got it right here.

The headset has state of the art noise cancellation. As Jabra explains…

Building upon Jabra’s renowned noise cancellation technology, Jabra EXTREME utilizes Noise Blackout™ Extreme, which significantly enhances its dual microphone system. This is supported by the new advanced automatic volume control that automatically adjusts to the environment and your conversation.These developments have led Jabra EXTREME to be remarkably 2x more effective in noisy environments (by 24dB) than the original Noise Blackout (12dB). What will further amaze end-users is the voice quality; while Jabra EXTREME eliminates ambient noise it retains natural sounding voice on both ends of the line ensuring your conversation is full of life rather than a robotic exchange of words.Acoustic Shock Protection protects your ear from sudden blast of noise. In addition, a unique new Ultimate-fit Eargel™ has been developed to guarantee superior comfort for all day use.?

Fortunately Jabra’s description isn’t an overstatement. The headset sounds good, and the noise cancellation works quite well when there is a lot of background chatter. Nothing compares to having a boom that brings the microphone closer to your mouth, but the built-in technology does a good job on both sides of the conversation. Add in the relative comfort of the headset (I would place it at good but not great), and you have a headset you can wear much of the time and use with ease.

Extra Features-

A nice feature of the EXTREME is the A2DP compatibility. This means you can stream music or podcasts to the headset when not using it for a call. Sure, you aren’t going to want to listen to tons of music with a headset in only on one ear, but for something like a podcast it is a nice feature to have.

The headset also features multipoint technology; this means it can connect to two different devices? at the same time.

The headset also has something Jabra refers to as Acoustic Shock Protection. It keeps the headset from putting out sudden blasts of noise, thereby protecting the ear. Having experienced such a blast more than once I really appreciate this feature.

The Jabra Extreme has a rated battery life of 5.5 hours talk time and 10.5 days standby time.??
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You can see a promo video of the headset here

In all, I like the Jabra EXTREME a great deal. When first released it was on the pricey side, but if you shop around you can get it for far less than the $99 MSRP.

MSRP: $99.99. It is currently available on Amazon for $54.99.

What I Like: Small and unobtrusive, sounds good, has a physical on/off switch, cool car charger, A2DP compatibility and other state-of-the-art technologies built in, decent price when you shop around

What Needs Improvement: Comfortable enough but not outstanding in that department

3 Responses to " Jabra EXTREME Bluetooth Headset Review "

  1. aadilanis says:

    Jabra EXTREME – Bluetooth Headset Review | Gear Diary: My first Bluetooth came from Jabra. Because the phone didn'… http://bit.ly/d8FCEH

  2. Mary Beth-TeleNav says:

    Hmmmm…I should have held out for this. I have the Stone and I love the sound quality/noise cancellation but not a big fan of the earpiece itself. It doesn’t fit well on my ear and doesn’t seem to be adjustable. The EXTREME looks like it might be better. I also really like the car charger with this one. Good to know for next time!

  3. […] We reviewed the Extreme back in May and were impressed by the comfort and quality of the small headset. […]

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