I have been using one specific Bluetooth headset in my car for the past year or so, but I lost it a few weeks back. Okay, I didn’t exactly “lose” it but, rather, my wife Elana took it. I was thrilled to have her take the headset because:
A. She’s my wife, and I like her to have stuff she wants
B. She’s my wife, and I wanted her to have and use a headset so she would be safer on the road
C. I knew I had a headset on the way that would be just as comfortable and sound just as good one she took 😉
It recently arrived, and I have been using it pretty much full-time since it did.
The headset is the Jabra SUPREME, a headset I first learned about at Pepcom’s Holiday Extravaganza a few weeks ago. And I was right, it is super-comfortable, sounds great, and it has all kinds of bells and whistles. Of course I offered to swap with Elana, but she wants to stick with the headset I gave her. I was relieved she did; let’s take a look at why.
The Jabra SUPREME comes in a nice box with a flip-open cover. Personally I find it a bit wasteful from a packaging perspective, but it does make for a nice presentation. Here’s what Jabra has to say about their latest and greatest headset:
Experience your own space filled only with your sound. Jabra SUPREME is the first Bluetooth® mono headset to allow you to enjoy exceptional Active Noise Cancellation technology. This feature actively reduces background noise, enhancing your listening experience during a call when using the headset. Jabra SUPREME features the latest audio enhancement technology, delivering powerful sound through its 24mm speaker. With HD Voice* the sound come through clearly and naturally. Wind Noise reduction technology makes calling in windy weather conditions smooth and hassle-free. These brilliant sound features enrich every conversation.
Jabra SUPREME unites design and usability with its patented Flip-Boom arm. Simply unfold the arm to switch ON and fold to switch OFF and store the headset. Jabra SUPREME also delivers custom comfort for all ears, by letting you adjust the headset to achieve the best fit and placement according to your needs. Its flexible ear hook is easily adjustable and its on-the-ear shape sits securely in place – ensuring maximum comfort for all day usage.
The Jabra SUPREME comes with everything you need minus a protective case for carrying it.
What’s in the Package:
The Jabra SUPREME headset
An extra earloop
An extra ear cushion
A USB to microUSB cable
A 110v microUSB
App code (more on that later)
I know the assumption is that you will leave the headset on almost all the time, but I can’t help but be a bit disappointed that there isn’t some kind of carrying case that comes along with it. I mean, it’s not like I’m going to wear the headset into a meeting is it? And when I do take it off, where to I put it that can ensure I don’t lose or crush it? More and more devices and accessories don’t come with a way to carry them. It is a trend I do not appreciate.
The feature-set on the Jabra SUPREME is familiar to anyone who has used a high-end Bluetooth headset any time in the past year or two. The ability to stream media via A2DP was a big deal to me when it first arrived, but now it is fairly commonplace. What IS news is the active voice cancellation technology. More on that shortly.
Active Noise Cancellation technology removes ambient noise for the user wearing the headset
Noise Blackout™ 3.0 dual microphone technology
HD Voice* technology for superior sound quality
Voice Control and Voice Guidance for hands-free operation
Multiuse™ – Connects to 2 Bluetooth devices simultaneously
Streams media with A2DP.
Interchangable soft ear cushions for all-day comfort
Let’s talk about the headset design itself. We have seen headsets that are simple bars that sit in the ear and look like a rectangle coming from it. We have seen headsets that loop around the ear and have a similar bar coming from it. And we have seen headsets that loop around the ear and then have a boom that moves the microphone closer to the mouth.
The Jabra SUPREME sports the latter design. It loops around your ear and then has a boom that brings the microphone closer to your mouth. While this design may feel a bit odd and look a bit intrusive (“Hello, this is the operator can I help you??”), it actually makes a lot of sense to move the microphone as close to your mouth as possible.
What I LOVE about the Jabra SUPREME is that its boom folds over the rest of the body. While this might not seem like a big deal it actually is, and when you start using the headset you will begin to appreciate what the headset has to offer thanks to the design. First, the folding boom means that when the headset is not being used the most vulnerable part is not extended and available to be snapped off. In addition, since the boom is used for turning the headset on and off it becomes a key aspect of its ease-of-use.
If you are not wearing the headset when a call comes in, then you can simply extend the boom. It turns on, connects and answers the call. It is little ease-of-use design details that make a headset like this so appealing to use.
The entire flat area is one big answer/hang up button. I love how easy it is to use without actually having to give it much, if any, thought.
The Jabra SUPREME sits on, rather than in, the ear. While I don’t mind headsets that sit in the ear canal, in fact I actually like the way the block out sound, many people, including Elana, can’t stand the way that feels. The Jabra SUPREME is one of those headsets that sit on the ear. This means it is remarkably comfortable.
This button on the boom is used to trigger the voice commands. I love the fact that the voice command button sits alone on the boom since it makes it simple to activate without having to give it too much thought. Right now the voice commands are fine but come the release of the iPhone 4S this will become the most important button on the headset.
Here’s another view of the button, along with a better idea of what the boom hinge looks like when extended.
Along the back of the headset you will find the volume up and down buttons with a covered microUSB port in between.
All in all it is not the most compact headset we have seen but it is laid out in a thoughtful manner that lets you easily control it by feel. And from a comfort perspective the headset it a home run. Once I got the fit and angle just right it is a pleasure to wear.
The Jabra SUPREME comes with access to an app that is designed to work with this specific headset. It is currently available for Android devices and a version for iOS is promised soon. Here’s what Jabra has to say about it.
The Jabra SUPREME App:
Jabra SUPREME comes with a free SUPREME smartphone app, which will be loaded with features that will let you customize your SUPREME experience to suit your preferences. The app interacts actively with your SUPREME headset giving you access to additional premium features.
By installing the SUPREME app on your Smartphone, it will let you choose between three different profiles, to make sure you have the perfect sound settings based on where you are – in your office, outdoors or in your car. You can also achieve your optimal level of Active Noise Cancellation by simply sliding the on-screen bar to adjust how much ANC your Jabra SUPREME has at any given time. The smooth, intuitive visual interface of the app lets you see how much battery you have left on your headset in your smartphone display, turning red to alert you when it’s time to recharge. Using this app, you can even record audio notes by tapping your headset. Then, just save them on your app or send them via email or MMS. Enjoy all these great features and more when you download the Jabra SUPREME app.
*The SUPREME app will be available soon for free download on Android Market and shortly after, for iPhone on App Store too!
And here’s a YouTube video of it in action.
I’m really impressed with the Jabra Supreme. It is comfortable, sounds good and offers all of the features that I want and need in a headset. The active noise cancellation is an interesting new feature. It works quite well and allows for good quality calls on both sides. When the active cancellation kicks in there is a bit of the all-too-familiar pressure change that active noise cancellation is known for. It isn’t all that noticeable and, unlike most active noise canceling headphones, I did not find it uncomfortable in the least. The “flip open to turn on” boom is convenient and the voice activate button is placed in a most useful location. Bottom line, if you are looking for a rather high-end Bluetooth headset the Jabra SUPREME should be on the short list.
Details and availability for the Jabra Supreme can be found here.
What I Like: Comfortable; easy turn on/connect functionality/ good voice quality on both ends of the conversation
What Needs Improvement: I want a carrying case!; iOS app not yet available