Quick Look: Jawbone ICON

I've been a fan of bluetooth from its very early days.  I even imported my first Motorola phone with bluetooth from Europe because they were not available in the US at the time.  Since that time, I've been on a constant search for the perfect bluetooth headset.  Something that is comfortable to wear for long periods of time and has good sound quality on both ends of the conversation.  I've tried more headsets than I can count and many of them suffer from the same problem - people complain about the sound quality on the other end of the call. I was a Jawbone II user until recently, when I decided to try the new Jawbone ICON.  I went this direction for two main reasons - the first was noise cancellation.  The ICON steps up the excellent noise cancellation (called NoiseAssassin)  without seriously impacting the sound quality like some other new headsets on the market.  And the new ICON has an A2DP feature, which allows me to use my headset as an earpiece, through which I can listen to my podcasts and audiobooks on my commute. 

Both features make the grade in my book - the improved noise cancellation does a better job blocking wind noise and street noises, open window, etc. so I can take a call and use a comfortable speaking voice with confidence that the person at the other end of the line can hear me clearly. And the A2DP feature is nice, as I spend two hours of every day on my train commute.  I cannot control playback, etc. from the unit like I can with some other bluetooth headphones, but these units are quite a bit larger than my ICON. And I love not having wires hanging for my ears that always tend to get caught on something and pull out painfully!

The one downside is something that I hope Aliph (makers of the Jawbone) can address: low listening volume.  I'd really like to see more volume out of the unit.  In very noisy environments, while the person on the other end of the phone might be able to hear you thanks to the NoiseAssassin, you may not be able to hear them.  I have been able to overcome this issue somewhat by using a Jabra EarGel on the unit, which is a soft silicon earpiece that fits over the end of earpiece that directs the sound from the unit into your ear.  It is an inexpensive hack that serves me well.  If you decide to try this unit, keep these little guys in mind.  Interestingly, I'm not the only one to have thought of this, as others have gone down this route with other headsets as well.

I hope everyone likes these little reviews.  If there is something you would like to see me review or talk about, please drop us a line or leave a comment and I'll do my best to accommodate.  Thanks for reading.