Aliph's Jawbone headsets have consistently been the highest-rated Bluetooth headsets here at CNET because of their amazing sound quality and fashion-forward designs. However, Aliph isn't happy with just resting on its laurels. It has introduced the Aliph Jawbone Prime, which will replace the Jawbone 2, and is the company's best headset yet. The Jawbone Prime is just as stylish as its predecessor, and it boasts even better noise-cancellation and comfort. Though we question the practicality of the design, we definitely think it's overall an improvement over the Aliph Jawbone 2. Still, the call quality isn't the best--the Plantronics Voyager Pro holds that title. However, if you insist on both excellent style and call quality, the Jawbone Prime fits the bill. The Jawbone Prime is available for $129.99.
The Jawbone Prime follows in the footsteps of the Jawbone 2 with a slim and lightweight design. Measuring 2.1 inches long by 0.5 inch wide by 0.5 inch thick, the Jawbone Prime is small enough to be discreet when worn. Instead of the beveled diamond pattern on the Jawbone 2, the Jawbone Prime has a rather elegant dimpled loop pattern on the front that makes it look fit for a fashion magazine. The texture of the front surface is smooth enough for your finger to glide over and feel for the buttons.
Indeed, you'll have to feel for those buttons, because they're invisible. A slight dip toward the top third of the headset hides the multifunction Talk button, and pressing the very top of the headset activates the Noise Assassin or volume button. We would really prefer real buttons rather than having to feel around for these hidden ones, but we have to admit it looks quite stylish. However, since the volume button is situated at the top of the headset, our finger kept bumping against the fold of our ear when adjusting the volume.
Speaking of the volume, there's only the one volume button on the top of the headset. To change the volume, you have to cycle through different volume levels instead of increasing or decreasing. We understand the Jawbone Prime has automatic volume adjustment, but we still would prefer a real volume rocker for manual adjustment. The volume button also doubles as the Noise Assassin toggle. We don't know why you would want to deactivate it, but if you want to hear the difference in sound quality without the noise cancellation, you can.
Flip the headset around and you'll find the earpiece covered in a squishy rubber earbud with a loop attached. There's a very slight tip jutting out at the bottom of the earbud that helps it fit better in the ear, while the attached ear loop helps the earpiece fit within the opening of the ear. We really like these new earbuds--it has a nice secure and snug fit in the ear. There's also an optional ear hook if you prefer, but you don't really need it. The Jawbone Prime comes with earbuds without the attached loop as well. There are three earbud sizes in each style included in the package.