Thursday, February 4

Review: Jawbone ICON Bluetooth Headset

I am not trying to jump on you like a bully and pummel you with reviews for a few posts recently, but I feel, as a geek, I have the need to tell my other geeky friends if something sucks, or if something is good. That way, not everyone spends money on things that are complete pieces of crap.

For those of you seeking a Bluetooth headset, you may want to look no further than the Jawbone ICON headset. Little bit of background before I proceed.

I've had all three versions of the Jawbone now. The Jawbone One, was big, bulky, but it did it's job right, however, it did not survive the trip through the washing machine. The second version fixed that, (not the washing machine part, the big and bulky part). Same awesome noise cancellation technology, much much lighter, the only problem was, it wasn't very solid in your ear, and it fell out of my ear a lot, simply because it just felt like it was Stallone in Cliffhanger, hanging on for dear life. The only other thing I didn't like about the second generation jawbone was the buttons. I could never find them. There were two buttons, one on the side and the other on the back, kinda. They were next to impossible to find with your fingers, as they didn't have any raised indication that said "hey, this is a button!"

But let me tell you what, with this new one, they have really outdone themselves. The Jawbone ICON comes in six different designs. "The Hero", "The Bombshell", "The Catch", "The Ace", "The Thinker", and "The Rogue". All are various colors and designs, but they all have the same key features.

The NoiseAssasin® technology is awesome. On by default, it uses a sensor that presses against your cheek to sense when you are talking, it compares that vibration with the mic's input, and thusly uses the difference to cancel out all the remaining background noise. It's awesome for wind, trains, or whatever. You can be in a noisy room and talk to someone on the phone, and the only thing that the people on the phone can hear is you. It's incredible. For a video demonstration of how this works, go to Jawbone's website and click on the lower right area. Check it out.

This version of the jawbone adds a few awesome features:

1) If you are using the jawbone with the iPhone, the battery indication is on the screen of the iPhone up next to the battery indicator for the iPhone itself. If you ever bought the iPhone bluetooth headset (which I didn't), you'll recognize what this indicator looks like.

2) But that doesn't matter cause you can reach on the back of the jawbone, press the button once, and it announces in your ear how many hours of talk time you have remaining.

3) When you receive a call, the ICON will read the caller id into your ear. Just the number. Not any names or anything, which kinda stinks. I wish it would at least try to pronounce some of my coworkers and friends names just so I could get a laugh out of it. But the number is just fine. It's a heck of a lot better than scrambling for your phone when the thing rings just to see who called. I mean isn't that the purpose of a bluetooth headset? So you don't have to fumble for your phone?

4) It doesn't have any blinking lights on the outside. Which is nice, because then you aren't sitting on a train or something and have an annoying blue blinking light on your ear. Or even better, when you are in a hotel room and the blue blinking light is so bright it lights up your whole hotel room every 10 seconds or so.

5) Voice control. The Jawbone has always had voice control, but now, coupled with the iPhone 3GS that I have, I can hold down the button for two seconds and say "Call Wife", which the iPhone then asks "Home, Mobile, or Work?" And I simply say what I want. I like the fact (and this is more on the iPhone than the Jawbone) that I don't have to hit ANOTHER button to say "Work". I just say it after the little 'beep'.

6) It has an on-off switch. I don't have to hold down a button that I can't find to turn this thing on and off. The button is a toggle sliding switch on the inside (faces your face) side of the jawbone. Flick it on or off, and you KNOW which one it's doing.

7) Redial is a double tap of the button on the back. The Jawbone then says "Redialing" in your ear

8) When the battery does get low, it will tell you in your ear. No more guessing.

9) You can connect this thing to multiple phones. YES SERIOUSLY. You can even manage calls from two different phones at the same time. Are you kidding me? This is 2010 right? We aren't in 2020 or anything?

10) They converted from their annoying proprietary charger attachment to a Mini-USB plug. Very standard and easily replaceable if you lose it.

So, overall, I'm very satisfied with this thing, and if you are looking for a new one, or if you are happy with your old one... this one is better, it's smaller Oh and one more thing?

This thing stays in my ear! No loop around the top of my ear, I just put it in my ear and it stays there.

Go, run, don't walk, to the nearest Best Buy/Apple Store/AT&T store. This thing is new, so it may not be in all the stores yet (so it's available online via their website) your milage may very. Check the websites.

I got mine at a Best Buy.


Andrew said...

I currently use the Plantronics 925; I would be interested see see how it compares. I had the first generation Jawbone and found it to be a bit quiet. What I love about the Plantronics is the small charging case it comes with.

Andrew said...

I currently use the Plantronics 925; I would be interested see see how it compares. I had the first generation Jawbone and found it to be a bit quiet. What I love about the Plantronics is the small charging case it comes with.