In addition to the basic ability to answer, reject, and end calls, the Jawbone Era also has last-number redial, voice-dialing support, multipoint technology for connecting two devices simultaneously, and A2DP stereo Bluetooth so you can listen to music and turn-by-turn directions. Like the Icon, it has spoken alerts and custom audio tones for certain functions. It'll let you know if the headset is in pairing mode, if it's connected, the estimated remaining battery life, and more.
We're also glad to see that the Jawbone Era is compatible with MyTalk, a Jawbone service that lets you customize the Era with a variety of different Audio and Dial "apps." These range from different audio profiles in various languages, to customizing the Talk button so that you can use it dictate a text message or even send a Twitter post via third-party partners. One of the MyTalk apps is Jawbone's own Thoughts voice-messaging application for the iPhone. As the MyTalk features are almost the same on the Jawbone Icon, please read our review of the Aliph Jawbone Icon for more details on the MyTalk service.
The Jawbone Era has one MyTalk feature that the Icon does not, however. If you load up your phone's address book on the MyTalk Web site, the headset will now be able to read out caller ID by name if the caller is in your contacts list. Remarkably, it does so without a robotic tone like most other Bluetooth headsets. This is because Aliph actually hired a female voice actor to record the most requested first and last names. If the name is not prerecorded, the name audio is generated by a Nuance text-to-speech engine. This extra functionality is thanks to the Era's multiprocessor technology and serial flash storage, according to Aliph.
A note for iPhone and BlackBerry owners: When paired with a Jawbone Era, you will see a visual headset battery meter on the phone as well. Aliph has mentioned that it is working on the same feature for other smartphone operating systems.
We paired the Aliph Jawbone Era with the Apple iPhone 4. Audio quality was simply fantastic. The dynamic wideband speaker did the job, as the HD quality audio sounded clean and crystal clear. This was especially evident with music, even if the bass was a little weak.
Not only was the sound clear, callers also sounded natural, as if they were sitting right next to us. We used the headset in both a bustling cafe and a quiet office environment, and it was smart enough to adjust the volume accordingly. Not only that, but the caller's voice did not crackle or turn robotic at high volumes as is often the case with most other headsets--Aliph has somehow managed to increase the overall intelligibility of the voice as well.
As for outgoing audio quality, our callers were impressed as well. The noise cancellation and wind noise reduction were just as effective as on the previous Jawbone headsets, if not better. We tested the headset when standing in front of a blowing fan, and even though our callers could hear the wind in the background, they said our voice still stood out above the swooshing sounds. They did detect a bit of static and crackle, however, so it wasn't completely clean. Still, the quality was very good overall.
The Aliph Jawbone Era has a rated battery life of 5.5 hours talk time and 10 days standby time.