The $129 Jabra Motion is a premium Bluetooth headset through and through. If you spend most of your day on the phone making deals or just plain chatting, this smartphone companion should be high up on your short list. Not only does the Motion have excellent hands-free audio quality, the gadget is very comfortable to wear and is tricked out with all the latest mobile bells and whistles. The Motion boasts NFC technology for fast pairing, plus Jabra provides the most sophisticated smartphone app I've seen complementing a headset yet for this device. The accessory isn't perfect, however, as its large size is an eyesore. Also, while the Jabra Motion is a more capable alternative to the compact Jawbone Era and our current Editors' Choice winner, the stylish Plantronics Voyager Legend, some of the Motion's more advanced features failed to operate.
Design When I first opened the Jabra Motion's box and gazed upon the headset I was immediately struck by its massive size. Perhaps I've been spoiled by the sleeker and more svelte lines of the Plantronics Voyager Legend, but I'd forgotten just how large high-end Bluetooth headsets can be.
Sporting a robust, over-ear design and a big, flip-down boom mic, the Jabra Motion isn't what what I'd call fashionable. Unlike the Voyager Legend, the Motion's back side runs all the way down the full length of your ear. With the boom microphone deployed, the device's profile extends even further -- well beyond the earlobe to reach the lower cheek. While Jabra took this bold approach for the sake of improved call quality and greater comfort, when using the Motion there's no disguising you've got an earpiece strapped to side of your face.
The Motion does have huge design wins under its belt. Thanks to a height-adjustable speaker, a back edge that properly balances the weight of the headset, and soft eargels, the Motion is very comfortable to wear. I especially like the eargel tips, Jabra includes three sizes in the box, which are meant to slip into the ear canal to form a tight audio seal.
It does take a little fiddling, but once I attached the Motion properly it held on tight even when I rested my sizable eyeglasses over it. In fact, I found that the Motion felt more secure than the Voyager Legend which doesn't wrap around the whole ear and whose eartip sits just outside the ear canal.
The Motion uses fancy touch-sensitive volume controls as well, a ridged band placed on the earpiece's rear edge. Other buttons on the Motion include a big call answer/end key that's hard to miss, on the outer speaker face, plus a small voice and mute toggle on the bottom lip of the boom arm. You charge the Motion through a micro USB port, and Jabra claims a single charge provides seven hours of talk time.
Features and performance
You can't deny the Jabra Motion is a serious piece of wireless hardware. As a tradeoff for its girth, the device packs an impressive array of bells and whistles. Connecting to phones and tablets via wireless Bluetooth version 4.0, the headset has dual microphones for noise cancellation in difficult audio environments. Jabra also claims that the Motion's comparatively large speaker offers increased volume and audio frequency range.
Indeed on my test calls both in the office and walking down the hectic streets of Manhattan, the Jabra Motion sounded incredibly clear. Voices on my end came through loud and with precision in high and mid frequencies. The low end was also rich with a good helping of bass, something that stymies many mono headsets.
Callers also had trouble detecting that I spoke from a headset, not through the phone mouthpiece, or that I even dialed from a cellular handset. Even surrounded by the vibrations of nearby construction, honking car horns, and roaring city buses, people I spoke to could discern my words easily. Surprisingly, callers described the Motion's audio performance on par with the Voyager Legend. That's something I didn't expect since the Legend has three microphones compared with the Motion's two.