December 22, 2014

Accessory Review: Jawbone Prime Bluetooth Headset

jawbone-primeWhen you mention Jawbone in the context of Bluetooth headsets you will probably get two reactions. The first will be “What’s that?” And the second will be “Yeah, those are awesome!” or something to that effect. When the Jawbone brand of headsets were initially introduced to the public they were touted as military grade equipment, which mean it had to be good, right? Read on to see how the newest member of the Jawbone family rates among premium Bluetooth headsets.

I’ve owned Jawbone products in the past, with my most recent being the Jawbone 2. I didn’t like the size of the original Jawbone, so I was glad to see the new design shift to a sleeker package. On the outside the Jawbone 2 Prime looks identical to the Jawbone 2; however the Prime has these noted improvements:

  • Superior Noise Assassin 2.0
  • Acoustic Voice Activity Detector (AVAD)
  • Better Wind Performance

My previous experience with the Jawbone 2 was very positive. I thought the noise cancellation performance was the best in its class -  it was stylish and the battery life was also well above average. However, every now and then as I was driving in my car with the windows down, I did get the occasional complaint that the person on the other end couldn’t hear me clearly, so I’d have to roll the window up. I have yet to get that same complaint with the Jawbone 2 Prime while driving under similar conditions, so it appears that the first and third claims of improvement indeed work.

jawbone-2-prime-colors

The second improvement may very well be the most important due to an issue that’s plagued all in ear Bluetooth headsets over the years. There’s no doubt that the in ear style provides the best incoming audio experience, but because no two ears are alike in shape and size it’s almost impossible to get a perfect fit. In the case of the Jawbone line of headsets getting a proper fit is paramount to the device functioning properly. The Voice Activity Sensor (VAS) is that little white nub that is supposed to stay in constant contact with your cheek. The VAS is what activates the Noise Assassin, so on past models if it lost contact with your cheek performance would drop considerably. With the Jawbone 2 Prime’s Acoustic Voice Activity Detector (AVAD) technology even when the VAS loses contact with your cheek the audio quality should be maintained at a high level. This improvement is undoubtedly the result of customer feedback, so it’s good to see Aliph step up and make these enhancements.

I’ve always had one complaint with the Jawbone line of headsets, and the Prime is no exception. Whenever I’m trying to put the headset on while a call is coming through I almost always accidentally press the answer button which either answers the call before I wanted to or ends the call prematurely. You have to be careful to handle the headset by its edges and near the front or this will inevitably be the result. I would like to see future models offer more resistance to the answer button, or even make it visible. Also of note is that while Aliph has included more rubber inserts they’ve cut the number of ear hooks to 2. You get one XL leather hook and 1 metal hook. I prefer the leather because it fits a little better, but they’re both comfortable. If you really want to get a customer fit there are websites that offer custom made gel skins that are modeled after a mold of your own ear. Now that’s taking your Bluetooth headset to a whole new level. I think I’ll stick with the stock gel skins for now.

In my opinion if you are looking for a premium Bluetooth headset with both style and exceptional performance I would challenge you to find a better performing headset than the Jawbone 2 Prime from Aliph. Call clarity is crystal clear from both ends and once again the Noise Assassin technology shows why it’s considered by some to be the gold standard of noise cancellation in Bluetooth headsets. If you think the Jawbone 2 Prime’s only difference is the 7 colors it now comes in think again. This is a significant upgrade that advances the product line, so check it out.

You can find the Jawbone 2 Prime in the AndroidGuys accessory store.  If you’re considering purchasing this, we’d love to have your business!

Price at time of review $109.95