"Finally good microphone in a BT stereo headset"5.0 starson by PackBjammin
Pros: microphone, BT 2.0, cord, display
Cons: 2nd earpiece visually, lower freq audio quality
Summary: I've had 4 bluetooth stereo headsets over the years, including the Motorola and Cardo S2. All 4 microphones are acceptable but not great in non-echo environments. When there is background noise (like being outside in the wind, being around other people, or driving at highway speeds in my older car), the previous headsets would automatically turn down the volume and keep it there. This gave a not so great but kindof workable solution when it was noisy and I would yell, but when it was quiet again unfortunately, the headsets wouldn't turn the microphone volume back up again. And yelling is rude around other people.
This headset is the first I've used that does not have that problem. It is the first one where people don't repeatedly ask what?, then get frustrated and tell me to get off the headset (if they know me well) or (if they don't) find an excuse to get off the call, or suffer disjointed conversations because they didn't understand half of what I'm saying. I've asked myself why a stereo BT headset can't have the same microphone processor/chip as the regular one ear pieces, and also a second one for stereo functionality. Why do BT stereo microphones have to suck?
Perhaps the answer for this Jabra unit is that it has both chips. Or maybe because it is bluetooth 2.0 it has more bandwidth to send both earpiece and microphone signals at the same time. However they do it, I'm happy to FINALLY have one that has a decent microphone. Other benefits, which for me is icing on the cake:
First, connecting was easy on my HTC Mogul/6800 with WM6 sp1 (or whatever they call the WM6 update). It also seems to pick up stereo mode better than the Cardo S2 whose plastic broke on me.
I work out with free weights a lot, so I'm happy to have a (short) wire hang behind my neck instead of a solid band between the left and right earpieces. Especially when doing military press or behind the neck lat pulldowns, but also when laying down on the bench. Also, the wire is flexible and insulated well, so it seems more durable than a solid plastic band.
I like the small display on the main earpiece. I don't use it for caller id, but it's very useful when connecting to the phone, knowing what the current connection status is, whether it's charging, and navigating the configuration menu. Just having a configuration menu to me, is amazing.
Last benefit, is the vibrating ear ringer. The first few times it happened, it surprised me enough to say yikes! Not as startling as the first time a vibrating ringer phone was in my pants pocket years ago. That was more of an ooof! I'm used to it now, but others have the option of turning it off.
On the negative side of this unit, the second earpiece is simply a wire with a small speaker. The rest of the second headphone is just nice looking plastic that looks like another BT headset. While it is a converstation starter, it doesn't look right. I can understand why Jabra wanted the two sides to look similar, and it looks great in the box, but it doesn't look so hot on the head. Symmetrical faces are more attractive, and this violates that principal. They inevitably point in different directions and angles, and one earpiece is smaller than the other. I haven't tried one, but the Plantronics Voyager 855 might look nicer that way.
Next, I'm concerned about the plastic ear loop breaking off inside the main ear piece. The loops slide in and out, but what happens if they break off in the tube?
Third, the charger and second earpiece plug into the same micro-usb plug. I'm hoping that the plug is not cold soldered onto the board, and that it can take repeated plugging/unplugging, and the occassional jerk if it gets snagged. Note that the wire between the ear pieces hasn't jerked on me yet. It's nicely short.
As a side note, if you need to power the headset at multiple locations (i.e. work or travel), get an extra micro-usb cable and/or power supply. MICRO, not mini.
The ear loops, like all ear loops (i.e. glasses), take some getting used to. The ears have to toughen up a bit. For me, that only took a few days.
The headphone speakers are good but not great. Audiophiles might not be too happy, but for me, I still enjoy the music. I think a major reason is that low/longer frequencies require an airtight seal or large speaker box. Since these are small, and I haven't gotten an airtight seal in my ears, I lose the lower frequencies. It also seems like phone call audio is closer to AM quality than FM. Listening to music has better audio quality than when in phone call mode. Not a big, unless you're really into the texture of your wife's sultry voice . On the other hand, not having an airtight seal is better when driving, so that ambient noise from other cars is mixed with audio. For me, they get more than plenty loud.
Overall, I'm just happy to have finally found a unit that has good microphone voice audio quality. The other weaknesses aren't a big deal to me, considering that I can actually use the microphone now. After 4 tries, it's my first bluetooth stereo headset, instead of bluetooth stereo headphones with a nasty microphone.