Product: Aliph Jawbone
Rating: 9.0/10.0 (Excellent)
Pros: Noise cancellation, spring-loaded
Cons: A little bulky, earbud takes some getting used to.
Overall: A great choice for business travelers, and folks that live in a busy city due to the excellent noise cancellation technology.
Design – 9.0 - My first impression of the Aliph’s Jawbone Bluetooth headset when I took it out of the UPS box a few weeks back was great. You could tell that the company put a lot of effort into making the product look like a luxury item right from the time the customer sees the package, all the way through to using it.
First of all, the Jawbone comes in silver, black, and red. The device it is a little bulkier than I would have liked – measuring in at 1.8 x 2.2 x 0.7 inches – but it’s still sleek and stylish at the same time. Even though you cannot see any buttons on the device, there are two which are located up by the ear piece. One of the buttons is the talk/end/power button, and the other is the “Noise Shield Button.”
On the side that rests on your face, there are a couple of quick things to note. One is the “Voice Activity Sensor” which senses when you are speaking to help alleviate ambient noise, and the other is the earbud.
The unit comes with a box of four earloops, and four earbuds, which is especially helpful for finding the best fit. Two of the earloops are for folks that prefer using their left ear, and two for the right ear. Regarding the earbuds, they actually hurt my inner ear a little during the first few days I had with the Jawbone. However once I got used to it, all was well. I especially like the design of the earloops. They are spring loaded so they keep the device close to your face – since we all know how annoying it is having a Bluetooth headset swinging around off of your ear. This is the best earloop mechanism that I’ve seen on any headset to this point.
Features – 9.5 - The most important feature that I will discuss is the noise cancellation – which you activate by using the “Noise Shield Button” I mentioned above. With other headsets, the people on the other end of the phone call are always complaining about ambient noise, whether it is wind, or a lawn-mower, or just the car stereo. When you turn on the “Noise Shield,” it really does cut down on the outside noise.
Also, the noise reduction helps you to hear what the other person is saying loud and clear as well. If not for the style, the Jawbone’s noise reduction is definitely a must have feature if you’re in the market for a new Bluetooth headset.
The unit’s Voice Activity Sensor is another important feature of the Jawbone. Just to let you know how good the noise reduction really is, DARPA has actually approved of the technology. If you’re not familiar with DARPA, or Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, they are the U.S. Department of Defense’s independent research branch. Very impressive.
Another thing of note is that the Jawbone does not have volume control buttons. Instead, it relies on its built-in sensors to adjust the volume to the appropriate level. If it gets too loud however (which has happened to me a few times), you can still use the volume keys on your handset to make adjustments.
Performance – 8.5 - In the field, the Jawbone did in fact stand up to tests. In my tests, I used my Palm Treo 755p. When on several business calls and some personal ones as well, I was able to without a problem walk through windy parking lots without too much interference on their end. There were no complaints from the folks I was talking to, but they said that they could hear some interference when I There was really no more noise than if I were sitting at my desk.
Overall, the Jawbone by Aliph is truely best in class. It’s unique design and amazing performance really speak for itself once you get your hands on it.