Jawbone ICON Bluetooth Headset Review

If you look around on the current Bluetooth earpiece/headset, you might not have seen many people using Jawbone’s product. First of all, in my opinion, it is not cheap (S$198 for the ICON range), secondly, there are so many others that can do the job of answering phone calls with Bluetooth. So, what is so good about Jawbone’s ICON Bluetooth headset? Read on.

This is actually one of the design for this Jawbone ICON series. It is called the ACE. There are also HERO, ROUGE, THINKER, CATCH and BOMBSHELL (different designs).

Click Here to Jawbone ICON page

Here is how the earpiece looks like. Very simple yet functional.

I love the packaging. It is like a booth that showcase a fine piece of art.

It has a variety of earbud to fit almost anyone.

This is Option A, which is the earbud series.

There are a total of 3 sizes.

This is Option B. It has the Earbud and Earloop.

Here is how it looks when it is assembled (with the Earloop).

The package also comes with a very short MicroUSB cable and a cigarette socket charger.

The socket has only one USB port.

Till now, you must be asking what is so special about this earpiece. In my opinion, it is the technology on it and the software behind it. This tiny little earpiece is firmware upgradeable. And the technology that is inside it is quite amazing too!

Noise Cancellation

I copy an excerpt from the Press Release

New leaps in sound technology sustain Jawbone’s lead in audio quality

Jawbone’s NoiseAssassin is a proprietary technology that eliminates background noise from mobile phone conversations. Jawbone is the only Bluetooth headset with a Voice Activity Sensor (VAS) that actually feels your speech, which helps Jawbone distinguish your voice from background noise. As a result, Jawbone offers better audio quality than any other headset on the market.

Test Scenario

Of course, as usual, I am skeptical over such claim. So, I did a two tests. First is to stand right in front of a very strong fan and call out to another party to understand if the other party can listen to what I am saying or not.

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As expected, the other party could not hear me properly. However, it is an unfair test as I literally stand right in the face of the fan with the wind and motor noise. The nice thing is that I can hear the other party nicely.

So, I did the next test. That is to test it in a noisy environment. This time, the TV is blasting loudly in the background. I call out and the other party can listen to me without any interference. I could also listen properly.

I still have doubts. So, I changed my role and become the person to call to this Jawbone ICON headset. Surprisingly, it is very quiet. I could hear the other party very clearly. The noise from the TV is almost non-existence. I think the NoiseAssassin is working nicely.

Battery Indicator

This Jawbone ICON does not have a display. However, when you press the Answer button once, it can read out the remaining battery life. This is actually a very important feature to me. Also, if you have a Blackberry or iPhone, the battery is indicated in the status bar.

Here is a screenshot of the indicator on an iPhone.

Here is the specs of the Jawbone ICON Headset.

  • Talk Time: Up to 4.5 hours (varies by phone)
  • Standby Time: Up to 10 days
  • Range: At least 33 feet (10 meters)
  • Charge: 80% charge in 35 minutes, 100% charge in less than 1 hour
  • Weight:  8.2 grams
  • Fit: 7 earbud sizes + 1 premium adjustable earloop
  • Accessories: AC power adaptor, micro-USB flex cable
  • Supports Multipoint: Pairs with up to 8 devices, 2 simultaneous connections
  • Supports Bluetooth: 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate), 2.0, 1.2, 1.1
  • Packaging: 100% recyclable
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Software

As mentioned earlier, one of the best feature about Jawbone ICON headset is the software. Actually, it is a platform, MyTalk is in Beta at Jawbone website. Once registered, you can hook up the headset to check the latest firmware or install add-ons to it.

For example, the original software does not come with A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile). You can actually get it at MyTalk. You can also change the voice on the Headset that is reporting information to you.

(BTW, this headset can tell you how much battery life it is going to last and when there is incoming call, it will actually say out the number.)

Here is the default voice. Click Play to listen. Nice but boring.

Default Voice

Now, with MyTalk platform, I can change it to something interesting. Here are a few samples. Click Play to listen.

Other Voices

There are Mandarin and Cantonese version. Interesting. Apart from this voice apps, there are many dial apps that you can install. However, most of them are relevant to US.

Click Here to Jawbone MyTalk page

Summary

The price is a high for a Bluetooth headset. However, for its ability to have firmware updates or new apps, it is a price that might be worth paying. Moreover, the quality of the headset and noise cancellation ability is really something that I like.

Personally, I also like the slide switch to indicate if the headset is on or off. It is simple and very functional. No need any guessing game if you have turned off/on the headset or not.

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This Jawbone ICON Bluetooth headset is available at:

  • SingTel
  • StarHub
  • NüBox
  • Next Telecom
  • Blazing

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