Spending up to 4 hours a session on a mobile phone a bluetooth headset isn’t so much an accessory as it is a requirement for day to day business. Requiring long battery life and good noise cancellation for on the go conversations the Jabra Wave turned out an exceptionally well priced option. Thanks to the boys over at MobileZap for getting one to me promptly (my old headset had fallen in a puddle) who provided the Jabra Wave+ for review.
Opening the box is always good fun and I was a little disappointed to find a UK charging adapter though to be fair review units are often rushed to shipping.
Bluetooth headsets realistically fall into a simple review scheme. Comfort, Audio, Battery life and Noise Cancellation and the Jabra excels in all.
The Jabra Wave is a relatively large Bluetooth headset with the main body sitting behind the ear, a boom mike sitting against the jawline and the gel ear peice slipping comfortably into place with a little jostling. Well weighted it doesn’t irritate the ear though it does rest against my glasses a problem with all over ear styled headpieces. I was surprised by how comfortable it was and found myself forgetting I had put it in. In terms of long conversations I couldn’t fault the comfort or feel of the headset and find myself using it to play music while I’m working. Shhh, don’t tell the boss.
Audio through the headset is crisp, warm and clearly understandable the ability to stream audio (not all headsets support this natively) is a boon since the quality of sound is so high. It did take me a while to get used to the boom mic and exactly how to sit it against my jaw. I suppose this niggling issue comes from wearing glasses and finding a comfortable balance while fitting glasses and over ear headset can be a challenge. All in all I can’t say I was displeased with the microphone though it isn’t the Jabra’s strongest point.
The Jabra Wave has a rated 6 hour talk time, though I found the unit exceeding that consistently. Most users would be hard pressed the drain the device within a day even when using it to stream audio. I did note that while streaming audio the Jabra reduces the range of the Bluetooth device what was normally a good three to five metres of range while using voice could drop to one or two while streaming audio. Obviously a power saving feature and only an inconvenience, that does not effect the stability and call quality during a phone call.
Noise cancellation and outdoor use is where the Jabra really shines as it works exceptionally well in windy area’s. With it’s modest price point it ousts much more expensive units with it’s ability to maintain clarity despite background noise or wind. There is little to say here, the Jabra has been the singe best unit I have used when it comes to having a conversation outside while competing with background noise for both the user and the person on the other end of the line.
Of course nothing comes no frills any more and the Jabra Wave has a few other nifty things to show off. The Jabra allows two devices to connect via bluetooth handy for things, perhaps skype on laptop voice on phone. It also allows streaming for audio as discussed above and a suite of voice commands. Unfortunately no matter how hard I tried I could not get the Jabra to understand my Australian accent. It simply would not respond in a meaningful manner and I can’t say anything positive about the voice though we need to be clear, voice commands are almost always problematic with an AUstralian accent so this is not a unique issue.
Overall I wont be giving my Jabra Wave+ back, the ability to chat for over 6 hours outside in the wind and rain or in the car simply trumps other units in this price category even if it is a little frustrating having an over ear headsetand glasses fighting for position on my head.A small price to pay for safety on the roads and communcation on the go.