Football mania is in high gear, and it seems that Jabra’s Bluetooth headsets and speakerphones have recently become favorites of three NFL players – Jake Long, Brian Orakpo and Michael Griffin. As a recent press release notes,
Whether they’re rocking out to tunes after practice, kicking back at night with video games, or passing the time watching Hulu or YouTube on the weekends, Jabra’s headsets and speakerphones offer wireless connectivity in-style – and with a 30 foot operating range.
Jabra’s catalog is extensive, but there are 5 key products in the current Jabra lineup that stand out. Among them — the STONE2, the CRUISER, the HALO, the CLIPPER, and the EXTREME.
Here is a quick blurb about each with a more in-depth look at the Stone 2.
Jabra CRUISER speakerphone:
The CRUISER is…
…slim, trim, stylish – and a “must-have” when commuting, carpooling, or road tripping. The CRUISER is the first in-car speakerphone with dual microphones that blocks out unwanted noise – traffic, the city, and even backseat passengers. The speakerphone also announces incoming callers names and allows you to stream and control stereo music from a phone or MP3 player to the car stereo. ($79, Verizon Wireless)
Jabra HALO stereo headphones:
The HALO works with mobile phones, smartphones, MP3 players, televisions, video game consoles, laptops. It…
…gives users the ability to connect seamlessly to two Bluetooth-enabled devices at any time, enjoying wireless audio content and answering phone calls in crystal clear stereo sound. Weighing only 3 ounces, the Jabra HALO features an over-the-head, foldable design that fits neatly into a compact carrying case, making it small enough to take it wherever you go. Ideal for use on airplanes, the HALO also connects to all 3.5 mm multimedia playing devices including cell phones and laptops. ($99, Verizon Wireless)
Jabra CLIPPER stereo headset:
The Jabra CLIPPER is a…
…tiny clip-on device with noise-blocking ear buds combines style with minimalistic, easy-to-use controls and neatly clips on to bags, clothing, and belts. With the CLIPPER, there is no need to change between an Mp3 player and a phone when a call comes in as both devices connect wirelessly, allowing users to switch between calls and music instantly. Incoming calls automatically override music played on a cell phone and, at the touch of one multi-function button, users can easily pause, skip tracks or alter the volume. ($59, Verizon Wireless)
Jabra EXTREME headset:
The Jabra EXTREME…
…pushes the envelope – providing twice as much background noise reduction (24 decibels) as Jabra’s previous Noise Blackout technology, and looking quite the opposite – compact, neutral, and not at all presumptuous. The headset features stereo quality audio that can be streamed from a media source for listening to music, podcasts and audio books, and supports MultiUse so it can be paired with up to eight devices, with two connected at any one time. ($79, Amazon.com)
We reviewed the Extreme back in May and were impressed by the comfort and quality of the small headset.
Finally, there’s the Jabra STONE2 headset:
The Stone 2 is
The next-generation of the critically acclaimed Jabra STONE is a masterpiece of design and in two new finishes – glossy and leather. All-new features include an innovative voice command system that allows users to answer and place calls with their voice, and optimized use of a wide variety of voice-enabled mobile apps (Jabra World of Apps). The Consumer Electronics Association awarded the STONE2 with a CES “Best of Innovation” Design and Engineering Award, Wireless Handsets Accessories. ($129, AT&T, Verizon Wireless)
Doug and I have been using the Stone2 for the last month or so. There is a lot to like about the second generation headset, but there are some issues we both have with it.
On the up-side…
The headset is remarkably comfortable. It really amazes us both that a headset that is NOT adjustable can be as comfortable as the Stone2 is. It fits snuggly around the ear and almost disappears from view. If you don’t like looking like someone from a sci-fi movie this is a great choice. As Doug put it,
I love the design; very slick. It is good-looking *and* comfortable–an excellent combination.
The headset is cool. Sure, it is just a Bluetooth headset but this one stands out from the pack with an unusual design — and that holds true for both the headset and the “stone” charger.
The voice control features are VERY cool and make using the headset a safer activity than it might otherwise be. Of course NOT using your phone when driving is still the safest option. The Voice Control “allows users to answer or reject calls by the use of the voice” and “tells who is calling, battery status, set-up and more”
As the product page explains
The Jabra STONE2 Bluetooth™ headset takes the incredible ease-of-use of the original STONE to exciting new levels. To start with, there is now no need to even touch the headset to answer or reject a call – you just use your voice. The headset tells you each caller’s number and you then simply say yes if you want to accept the call, and no if you don’t.
You don’t have to look at the Jabra STONE2 headset to check battery level or the strength of the connection with your mobile phone. It will tell you just what you need to know via voice alerts.
And finally, even though it lacks a boom that brings the microphone closer to your mouth, the headset sounds good thanks to its “Noise Blackout Extreme.” Yes, thanks to dual microphone technology the sound is good despite the design.
Then there is the downside to the Stone2.
First, it is for people who are “right-eared”. That may sound silly but Dan can only wear a headset in his left ear if he wants it to be comfortable and wear it for an extended period of time. The Stone2 is a rigid ring that wraps around the ear and only works when worn on the right ear. To be clear, Doug’s experience was different. He says …
I found it quite comfortable, once I selected the best ear piece for myself. After 1.5 hours, I didn’t have that mushed ear feeling you can sometimes get with these sorts of devices. It is very lightweight, too. Add to that the fact that I love the volume control that are in the form of a touch sensitive cover on the exterior of the ear piece. Changes are guided by clicking sounds to let you know you’re adjusting the volume.
Then there is the real issue with the Stone2- battery life. In order to keep the Stone2 as small and light as possible the company kept the battery in it on the small side. That’s a big part of the reason for the “Stone”. You see, the “stone” is actually a recharging battery. As they explain,
The Jabra STONE2 also puts extra power in the palm of your hand. Its portable charger enables you to fast charge on the go up to 3 times – and each charge takes only 20 minutes. You get up to 10 full hours of wireless talk time in a charger that slips easily into your pocket or bag.
That all sounds great, until you do the math. If you “get up to ten hours of use” from charging three times you are not looking at exceptional runtime to begin with. Take into account the fact that most product battery times are “best-case scenarios”, and you have a headset that does not last all that long before it needs to be placed back in the stone. Sure the headset will recharge in 20 minutes, but that may be a problem for many people during real-world use.
As Doug put it:
If it wasn’t so small and comfortable (once I selected the right ear insert for myself), I would give up on it. But I keep using it, and keep getting annoyed.
What We Like: Comfortable; good-looking; good sound; good voice control; “cool”
What Needs Improvement: Apple limits how “deeply” the voice control can go; battery-life; for “right-eared” people