Editors’ Choice Bluetooth Headset
Review by Angie Kibiloski (February 2012)
A couple of years ago, I told you about a remarkable Bluetooth headset called Jawbone, from the company of the same name. You’ll find that review at http://computertimes.com/jawbonebluetooth.htm. Since then, this little device has gone through a couple updates, and the brand new Jawbone ERA (Retail $129.99) is the latest. Not only does this model have a shiny new look, it has some pretty impressive technology inside of it too. From my first introduction to this product 3 years ago, it has remained my preferred headset and one that I recommend to all of my friends and family. The ERA has convinced me of Jawbone’s continued excellence in this product category, and will no doubt satisfy all of your expectations as well.
The Jawbone ERA is equipped with the proprietary NoiseAssassin 3.0, which is the very latest version of their industry-first noise and wind canceling technology. It detects your unique vocal frequency through the sensor, which rests on your skin, isolates that frequency, and eliminates the ambient noise surrounding it. I have tested this out in some pretty noisy areas, like a shopping mall and amusement park, and the person on the other end didn’t even know I had stepped out of my car. In addition to the NoiseAssassin 3.0, which helps your caller hear you better, the ERA can auto-adjust the volume of the speaker in your ear, so that you can better hear your caller. It will detect the ambient noise around you and boost or lower the speaker volume accordingly. While we’re on the subject of superior audio, the 10mm wide band speaker emits a robust HD sound. Listen to not only phone calls, but also all of your mobile media in crisp, clear style.
Jawbone headsets have always been easy to operate, but now the ERA makes operation even simpler, and also kind of fun. There is an physical button that you can use for certain functions like answering a call, checking battery life, and triggering voice dialing, discreetly located at the top of the device, though the cooler button is hidden within the face of the headset, and is touch sensitive. You can lightly double tap on the ERA to answer, hang up, switch calls, etc. It’s fast, easy, and feels a little futuristic. On top of the nifty “tap tap” operation, you get the still cooler “shake shake” feature. The ERA is the first headset ever to have a built-in accelerometer, with their patented MotionX technology. At the moment, you can grab your ERA in your hand and double shake it to pair with your phone or to answer a call. In the future, more motion control applications will be added for even more functionality.
Jawbone has developed the online MyTALK platform, which is the home base for downloading new apps, customizing your headset, and getting the most recent software updates. Plug your headset into your computer and sync it with the site to gain access to all sorts of additional features. Opt to change the voice of your ERA notifications, turn on Caller ID by Name, or send text messages with your voice. You’ll also find any new motion control apps here, as well as some cool apps to utilize the HD capabilities of your headset. The ERA already has some great functions pre-programmed onto it. That notification voice I mentioned will prompt you when you go to activate the voice-dialing feature. This comes in very handy when you’re on the road. The voice will also let you know when your battery is low. Even if you’re on a call, it will state in a low tone that you have, for instance, 5 minutes of talk time left. With a battery life of up to 5.5 hours of continuous talk time, and up to 10 days in stand by mode, it’s hard to judge when you’re running out of juice, and this is a very nice, friendly little way to remind you to plug in.
Everybody will be able to find their most comfortable fit with the Jawbone ERA, with one if its 8 different earbuds and removable binaural ear loop. You can find the color that fits your individual style too, with 4 beautiful designs to choose from. Each has a multi-layer, patterned surface and a faceted body, giving them a structured yet artistic look and feel. For aesthetics as well as top of the line technology, the Jawbone ERA is hard to beat on quality. What more could you want in a headset than style, superior technology, functionality, and ease of use combined? Jawbone will continue to remain my favored Bluetooth headset company, and I hope I’ve enticed you to go out and make it yours.