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Review: Jawbone ICON Earwear Collection Bluetooth headset
Ah, the Bluetooth headset - the kind of gadget you either love or hate. If you love them, you'll probably have one stuck to your head 24/7. The Jawbone series of headsets from Aliph have long been considered the best of the best in Bluetooth - and rightfully so. Even in its first version back in 2006, Jawbone headsets used technology not found on any other headset.
Since then, Jawbone headsets have come a long way - and the newest generation not only improves on the sound quality, but also reduces the size of the headset. In this review, we'll take a look at the new Jawbone ICON Suede.
Right away, the ICON headset grabs your attention - it is small, and the outer silver plastic shell is wavy. On the back of the headset is the signature bone conducting sensor, earpiece and a physical on/off switch. On the top are several microphones, and a multi-function button is on top, just above a MicroUSB charge/connection port.
Comfort is high on my list of expectations from any Bluetooth headset, and the ICON really does deliver. Inside its box is a variety of earpieces and an earloop. With these, you can fit the headset using a silicone earbud or an earbud with hook. The earbuds all come in several sizes.
Charging the headset is simple - an AC charger is included, along with a neat rigid/flexible MicroUSB cable. This allows you to charge the ICON using wall power, or your computer.
The USB cable also lets you connect the headset to your PC to use with the MyTALK suite of applications. More on that in a moment.
Sound quality is obviously just as important as comfort - and once again, the Jawbone Icon does not disappoint. Even in the nosiest environment, callers on the other end of the line commented how clear I sounded. At one point I was driving with my car window open, and the wind barely made an impact on the call quality. Of course, the more unwanted noise the headset has to cancel, the more muffled the call may become - but it beats the alternative.
The Jawbone MyTALK feature is quite brilliant. This web based application suite lets you configure settings on your headset, load new text to speech voices, and even load new Dial Apps. These apps provide instant access to frequently dialed numbers, voice dialing, 411 services and even online notation services. Blackberry users can add a battery meter. Take things even further by adding instant access to music stations like AOL Radio and you'll extend your headset way beyond what most other brands offer.
Other features inside the headset include support for A2DP streaming music and spoken instructions - yes - the headset will read caller ID and its battery level to you. Of course, it also supports multi-point connections, allowing you to connect to more than one device at the same time.
If new features are released, the MyTALK site can even take care of firmware updates for your headset, making it futureproof.
Of course, all these neat features come at a price - the Jawbone ICON retails for $99. However, with excellent sound quality, good looks and a variety of apps and other updateable features, this may very well be the last headset you ever need.
The new Jawbone ICON Earwear collection is available in four styles. To learn more about the Jawbone headsets, to compare models, or to place an order, head on over to Jawbone.com.
Filed under: Gadling Gear Review