Like the BT250, the Jabra BT500 has a crescent shape that fits behind either ear. Yet despite its trim profile, we didn't love the BT500's overall look. The Razr is sexy, but the BT500 is far from it. The gray coloring is too utilitarian, and the sharp angles and flat sides rob the headset of the aerodynamic curves we liked on the BT250. In all, the headset just looks too industrial and boring.
On the upside, the Jabra BT500's fit is relatively comfortable. The speaker rests just inside the ear, and you get a selection of four rubber ear gels in different sizes. The short boom mic also extends down just an inch, so the headset assumes a low profile when you're wearing it. Also, since there's no ear hook, users with long hair and earrings may find it easier to slip the BT500 on and off quickly without any entanglements.
The controls on the Jabra BT500 are a mixed bag. Closest to the boom mic is a small button that turns the headset on and off and controls calls. It's raised above the surface of the headset, so it was easy to manipulate when the BT500 was on our ear. Above it is a tiny button that is used for pairing. We're not certain why Jabra decided to break this button off separately, but the arrangement doesn't cause any problems. Our only complaint was that the control is set flat against the headset, so it's rather difficult to find and press. As a result, you'll want to pair the headset when it's off your ear. Finally, there's a volume rocker just above the pairing control, but disappointingly, they are stiff and not very tactile.
We tested the Jabra BT500 with the Sony Ericsson W600i and were able to pair the two devices quickly. Reception and clarity were mostly good, but they diminished noticeably when we used the headset outdoors. Likewise, volume was fine, as long as we were in a place without a lot of noise or wind. Callers said they could hear us fine, but they reported similar issues. Also, they could tell we were using a headset. Features on the BT500 include voice dialing, last-number redial, and USB charging. The rated talk time is 8 hours with the promised standby time of 10 days. In our tests, we met Jabra's rated standby time.