Bluetooth stereo headphones are really starting to proliferate. Not all headsets are created equal, that much is certain. While I do like my standby headphones, the Insignia Bluetooth headphones, sometimes I wish I had a lighter set for when I am working out; this set fits the bill nicely.
Jaybird sent me the JB-200 headset with adapters for the iPod and for standard stereo headphone jacks. The JB-200’s come with a nice dock. To charge the headphones, you plug the USB cable into the USB charger; I have also tried a standard USB port and the Ted Baker charging kit, and it’s charged off of those as well. The nice thing about being able to charge from a USB port is that they are so readily available. The only downside to this dock is you must have it with you to charge the headphones. The headphones connect to the dock via 2 contacts on the left earbud. The cord that connects the 2 earbuds wraps around the docking station when docked; this keeps the cord out of the way of other things on your desk.
When settled in the dock, the logo on the right earbud (or left as it sits in the dock) will glow red until it’s charged. After it’s charged it will go out.
Another nice thing about the dock is that the stereo adapter will plug right into it for charging. It has a red light on the front which will light when charging; once charged, it will go out.
Once charged, you simply pair the headphones to your device by pressing and holding the combination play/pause/power button until the logo flashes blue and red. When the passcode has been entered into the device your pairing with, the logo will just flash blue. These headphones paired easily with my LG enV, my Insignia Pilot and the Verizon Centro I had in for review.
To pair with the stereo headphone adapter, you follow the procedure as above each time you want it to connect, except no passcode is needed. Once the headset is flashing blue and red, you just press the button on the front of the adapter to pair it. You will have to repeat this procedure each time you want to connect the headset to the headphone adapter. I also tried to pair the adapter with my Insignia Pilot headphones and it works with those as well.
To pair with the iPod adapter, you must plug the adapter into your iPod and start a track with the headset flashing blue and red. It will automatically pair each time. The nice thing about the iPod adapter is it does not require charging. The minus is it will use your iPod’s battery a little faster. I did not notice any difference in battery life on my 2nd gen Nano though.
Re-pairing is only needed for the adapters. The cellphones and the Insignia Pilot both reconnected each time without me having to put the headset into pairing mode.
Once paired up, these worked pretty well, although not as well as my Insignia Headphones. They were very sensitive to whichever side of my body my device was on: If it was on the right side of my body in my hip pocket, it worked pretty well; if the device was in my left hip pocket, it would cut out every once in a while. These are far more sensitive to distance and interference than the Insignia Bluetooth headset I normally use is. With that said, it worked fine about 90 percent of the time. Since your dealing with RF and Bluetooth works in the same range as many microwaves and Wifi, interference will cause issues every once in a while. As a amateur radio operator, I have come to expect this a little with any RF based device. Your mileage may vary.
Sound quality was acceptable for the environments I listen in. I was able to hear everything when walking out in the street and when standing next to roaring buses at the bus stop. As with most bluetooth or rf based headsets, you can’t compare it to a nice set of wired headphones, but most people would be satisfied with the quality of the sound.
The stereo headphone adapter is the adapter I used most frequently. While you can use the built in laptop bluetooth adapter if yours supports A2DP, using this adapter requires no drivers and will let you switch audio sources without having to re-pair the headset. Just pull the adapter out of your desktop and plug it into your laptop or any device that takes a regular 1/8 inch headphone plug. The beauty of this adapter is there’s no driver compatibility issues with any OS. It will work on Solaris even if you can get your built in sound card to work! I used it the most with my desktop at work and my T60 laptop at home.
The iPod adapter had good quality as well. The one thing I didn’t like is you must start a track on the iPod to get the adapter to pair, but this is a minor inconvenience. Once paired, it kept up as long as your iPod didn’t fall asleep. Sound quality was also excellent.
The one category that the JB-200 exceeded my Insignia Pilot in was phone calls. The quality was much better on the JB-200 than on my pilots. The noise canceling on the JB-200 is effective and works.
The fit on these is a bit weird, as they did not fit as tightly as I had hoped they would in my ear; maybe my ear holes just are not big enough. I wish they would have fit a bit tighter, but with that said, once they were on – even if they felt loose, they were not. They stayed put on my head and they put out enough sound for me to hear in almost any condition.
I was most disappointed in the battery life of the JB-200. My Insignia Pilot will last longer than the battery in the Jaybird; these will not make it through a typical workday without needing to be recharged halfway through.
As of July 1st, the Jaybird JB-200 headset comes with a lifetime warranty against sweat. This means if your JB-200 goes down due to moisture from your body, then they will replace the headset free of charge. No other stereo Bluetooth headset that I am aware of comes with this kind of warranty.
The Jaybird JB-200 and both adapters are available for $199.99 at Jaybird’s Website.
What I liked: The JB-200 is incredibly light. You won’t feel this sitting on your head.
What needs improvement: The battery life sucks. It will be fine for a commute and working out at the gym, but it won’t last all day.