Theis the latest and greatest Bluetooth headset from one of the true pioneers in wireless accessories. Using it for this review made me remember my very first Bluetooth headset; it also came from Jabra and, like the Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset, it also wrapped around my ear with the microphone extending toward my mouth. This first Bluetooth headset required a dongle connected to the phone’s 3.5mm headphone jack. Why? Because my Motorola flip phone didn’t have Bluetooth built into it! Yes, it was the dark ages, and in order to get Bluetooth functionality I had to add Bluetooth to the phone via a cumbersome dongle.
Since then I’ve tried dozens upon dozens of different Bluetooth headsets; they have ranged from great to mediocre to downright bad. I have found that the “great” Bluetooth headsets I’ve used have consistently come from one of two companies – Jabra or Plantronics. We recently reviewed the Plantronics Voyager Legend. (Read the review.) I was impressed, and I have been enjoying the headset immensely. Now Jabra is on the verge of shipping their latest and greatest — the Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset. It returns to the “curve around the ear design” of my very first Bluetooth headset, but it is even more comfortable than its great-great-grandparent. In addition, the technology packed into this new headset makes that first headset look like an abacus placed next to a calculator. Let’s take a look.
The design of the Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset is important, since the best Bluetooth headsets are ones you can comfortably wear throughout the day. You know, the Bluetooth headsets you don’t feel the need to take on and off, and that don’t cause “ear fatigue” because of the pressure they put on some portion of your ear or head. The Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset is amazingly comfortable and stands out in that respect. That might surprise you since it is rather large, and it literally wraps around your ear. Yes, the Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset is bigger than many of the headsets I’ve reviewed in recent years, and yet its comfort is only matched by the Plantronics Voyager Legend, a headset that is also on the large side. The reason for this degree opt comfort is simply the fact that while the Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset is a larger headset than many others, that size — along with the excellent design — allows for the proper distribution of weight. The result is a headset that sits comfortably on your ear without placing too much pressure on any one spot.
Add in the fact that the earpiece not only swivels and allows you to use the headset on either the left or the right ear, but it also has a movable post so that you can adjust the height of the portion that sits in your ear, and you now have a headset that offers as close to a custom fit as you’re going to find without it being a custom fit.
I have been wearing the Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset as much as possible since it arrived last week, so I could test its comfort over extended periods of use; I have to say that it is one of the most comfortable headsets I have ever used.
When it comes to Bluetooth headsets, Jabra is one of the most experienced companies in the world. They know that the closer the microphone is to your mouth, the better the audio will be. It simply makes sense right? That’s why the best, professional grade Bluetooth headsets extend toward your mouth rather than going for the smallest and lightest design possible. In this case, the microphone on the Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset sits about a third of the way down my cheek and brings the microphone in line with my mouth. This physical design, when combined with the audio technology built into the Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset, produces audio that is crisp and clean.
Let’s talk about the technology in the Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset. This is Jabra’s flagship headset and, as such, the Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset is packed with tech. It has Bluetooth 4.0, and it is simple to pair. Turn the headset on, and voice prompts walk you through the process of connecting the headset to your smartphone. And how do you turn it on since, there are no apparent physical buttons? Simple, the boom that folds into the headset for easy and safe storage is also the on/off switch. Simply extend the microphone, and the headset turns on. And if you are using a device with NFC (Near Field Communication), tapping the headset in the phone or phone or tablet connects the two. (This obviously does require an NFC enabled device, so Apple’s products are currently out.)
The volume is controlled by simply sliding your finger up or down the back of the headset. This kind of touch sensitivity is great but is usually hard to control. No so here since the Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset’s touch control is textured and offers feedback as you slide your finger.
A button on the ear piece launches Siri if you use an iOS device; a button on the microphone activates the Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset’s voice prompts, so you can access other voice features on the device itself.
The Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset is named the “motion” for a reason. You see, this particular headset has motion sensors built into it. At first I wondered why the company would include something like this. It struck me as an attempt to add unnecessary bells and whistles into a device in order to gain attention. We keep seeing this more and more these days, and most people don’t end up actually using the functionality that drew them to the product in the first place. That is certainly not the case here. The motion sensor does a great deal, as it makes the headset more useful and, one might even argue, “smart” than any other headset on the market. Pick the Jabra Motion Bluetooth headset up when a call comes in, and the device answers the call. Put it down, and the device knows it is not being used — so it kicks into power-saving mode. Start walking, and the headset senses the movement and adjusts to the new environment.
Yes, the Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset is a “smart headset” and one you will appreciate using. And the coolest thing about these technological wizbang features? You’ll be using them constantly and won’t even know they are there. Honestly I actually suspect that most people will forget that the headset has this incredible technology built into it because it simply works in the background. It also means someone who is using the Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset will have a difficult time going back to any other headset since they’ll suddenly realized how much they missed the technology they didn’t even know was there. (It’s like someone trying to go back to a dumb phone after using an iPhone or an Android smartphone.)
So how is the audio quality on the Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset? In a word it’s fantastic. Yes, I’m using the word fantastic and I’m not using the word lightly. I just spent some time on the phone with Elana while driving to the office and she used words like “amazing”. At one point she even used the word “fantastic”. Yes, while driving with the windows closed the connection was perfect and it didn’t sound like I was using a headset at all. That was true even when I was speaking in a whisper. Things changed a bit when I opened the window and let the wind rush by my head while driving at about 65 miles an hour. But the worst it got was, “Now it sounds like you are on any headset.” That means that with the window opens at 60 miles an hour the Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset was as good or better than most Bluetooth headsets are in a quiet room. That’s rather impressive.
All this held true on my end of the conversation as well, and while I know I’m sounding a bit too enthusiastic I honestly can’t help it – this headset sounds better than any headset I have ever used — other than the Plantronics Voyager Legend. (I know I keep referencing the Legend, and there is a reason why – I’ll address that momentarily.)
I also used the headset to access Siri and to do voice recognition on my iPhone. The convenience of activating Siri by simply touching the headset was great, and the accuracy of the voice-to-text transcription was as good as I have seen. That tells me that the audio signal the phone is receiving from the headset is clean and crisp, and it vastly improves the ability to text by voice on the fly.
Let’s run down the features of the Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset, and then list the specifications. The headset:
- Adapts sound to motion and environment
- Has an intuitive flip-boom with wind-noise protection
- Offers personalized comfort that adapts to any ear
- Includes Intuitive Call Control that answers the call automatically when picked up
- Packs NFC for easy pairing
- Includes the Power Nap battery saving mode
- Includes Noise Blackout (dual mic), Wind-Noise Protection and HD Voice for better sound experience
- Allows you to stream multimedia such as GPS, music and podcasts
- Has built-in Voice Guidance that tells you how to pair your device, your connection status and more
- Includes Voice Control so you can take or make calls with your voice
And as for the specs:
- Bluetooth version: 4.0
- Auto Pairing: Yes
- NFC Near Field Communications
- Music Streaming
- Digital Signal Processing
- Dual Microphone (Noise Blackout™)
- Mute function
- Up to 7 hours of talk time and up to 360 hour of standby
- Weight: 17.5 grams
I am a huge fan of the Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset. It’s incredibly comfortable, sounds terrific, and it’s filled with technology that makes it as good an on-the-go productivity tool as you will find. And if you download and use the Jabra Connect app, then you’ll have even more control over the headset’s settings! And because it’s so comfortable and works so well, you are more likely to wear it. This translates to greater safety when using your phone while driving. (Of course not using your phone at all is the best and safest option.) No, this isn’t the smallest or at least noticeable headset on the market. In fact, it’s rather large and hard to miss when you are wearing it. But the convenience of the features and the audio quality of the headset are so good, that having a Bluetooth headset that actually looks like a Bluetooth headset is a small price to pay in my humble opinion. The MSRP of about $150 is also a small price to pay – actually it’s a relatively high price to pay, but it’s worth it if you’re looking for one of the best Bluetooth headsets on the market.
You can’t go wrong with the Jabra Motion Bluetooth Headset; then again, I don’t think you can go wrong with the Plantronics Voyager Legend, either. That’s why we are going to be putting the two headsets side by side in a “head to head” post next week. We will run down the features and design so that you can make the best possible choice for yourself. The Jabra motion will launch in April; we’ll update this post with pricing and a firm availability date when they become public. In the meantime you can learn more.
What I Like: Comfortable; Packed with features; Motion sensors are much more than a gimmick; Fantastic audio quality on both sides of the call; Flip-to-answer boom is a nice convenience
What Needs Improvement: Quite noticeable on your ear; No protective case included with the consumer version of the product; At the high-end price-wise
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample