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Jawbone Review

Best Treo Bluetooth HeadsetI have known about the Aliph Jawbone Bluetooth Headset and its reputation for spectacular sound quality and noise shield capabilities for quite a while but to my detriment I had unfortunately not had a chance to review it until now.

Jawbone headset

Big mistake.  In hindsight I should not have hesitated for a second and purchased one as soon as I found out that such a headset existed – the Jawbone Noise Shield categorically offers the best voice quality and noise reduction of any of the many dozens of wireless headsets that I have had the opportunity to test to date.  It also happens to have been designed by the renowned Yves Behar who created its distinctive perforated shield and body.

Using technology originally developed for the military, the Jawbone is the world’s first “adaptive Bluetooth headset” which the company claims “virtually eliminates all background noise from your call” – a claim that I am happy to support since I found that it cancels or attenuates 90% of all background noise (some reports point to less cancellation with wind noise though).

Treo Jawbone Noise Shield

A proprietary “Voice Activity Sensor” (above) identifies precisely when you are speaking in any noise environments where the Jawbone can easily separate your speech from other sounds nearby.  Using highly directional microphones and powerful digital signal processing algorithms the Jawbone removes background noise from your outgoing speech signal to allow you to be heard clearly in any environment without the need to shout.

The “adaptive” functionality of the Jawbone also seamlessly, dynamically and automatically adjusts the speaker output volume and frequency so you can better hear your caller’s voice.

Treo Jawbone Noise Shield

The Jawbone kit (above) includes a USB charging cable (I would have preferred a miniUSB instead of a proprietary charging tip though) which can be used with the included USB wall charger or directly from a spare USB port on your PC.  Additionally, a total of four earloops (Standard + Large, Left + Right) and five earbuds of various sizes and shapes are provided to match your perfect fit.

Treo JawboneNoise Shield Treo Jawbone Noise Shield

Weighing 19 grams and measuring some 6.3cm long the Jawbone is not the lightest or smallest headset available (compared to the Motorola H700 and Jabra JX10 below) but I nonetheless found it extremely comfortable to wear.  The slightly undulated shape of the Jawbone is designed to curve and match the outline of your face as well as to ensure that the Voice Activity Sensor comes into contact and rests on your cheek (image above right) – this is essential for your voice to be shielded and transmitted properly.

Treo Jawbone Noise Shield

Overall, the Jawbone is an amazing accessory that will immediately appeal to those Treonauts attracted by its unequalled noise reduction capabilities and adaptive technology which delivers a truly remarkable and superior inbound and outbound voice quality.  However, if you primary need is “pocketability” and your budget then either of my other two favourite headsets  – the Motorola H700 and Jabra JX10 – will prove to be excellent alternative choices.

                  Treo Jawbone Comparison Chart

Treonauts always filter out the noise

Posted by Andrew on March 12, 2007 at 11:34 AM

Treo Accessories , Treo Bluetooth Headset

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» New and Improved Headset for Treo from Life and Technology
My wife and I both have Treo 700p's through Sprint PCS. We have been through many Bluetooth headsets and none of them seemed to do the trick. Either they were physically difficult to use or, more to the point, were [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 21, 2007 10:05:38 PM


by Mike Harshberger | Apr 3, 2007 2:24:01 AM

WOW! I am completely confused. In all honesty, I have been very dissatisfied with my Aliph jawbone. I work in a nightclub and invested in the Jawbone in hopes of the claims of noise reduction being true. I tested it in my car, with moderate stereo volume in the background. There was no reduction in the background noise level with the Jawbone noise reduction on or off. The only difference I noted was a slight improvement in the clarity of my voice. I thought I had a defective one. The same night, I talked to one of our doormen who also had one, but keeps it in his pocket, due to his dissatisfaction with it. Buyers beware, you may be victims of one the best orchestrated scams I have ever seen. If Aliph wants to step forward and prove me wrong, they can email me at mikedilv@gmail.com and I will post a retraction. Until then, all I can say is the product DOES NOT reduce background noise, unless maybe you are using very sensitive measuring equipment than can measure DB fractions. Sorry Aliph, thus far it looks like you took this risk and now your busted.

by Katherine | Apr 5, 2007 5:18:50 PM

Does anyone know of a case one could use for the Jawbone? It doesn't come with one and I can't find one specifically made for it.

by KL | Apr 11, 2007 8:25:19 PM

This thing works good but is HORRIBLE with wind. It DOES NOT filter out wind noise at all, and actually causes the caller on the other end to not hear you at all. I get comments like "are you in a washing machine?" ...convertible car use is out.. very dissapointing Aliph.

by Dr. Wilson Morales | Apr 11, 2007 9:07:54 PM

Awesome phone... however, BEWARE Treo 700wx users... I tried two of them and when it worked, it was incredible. Nonetheless, it kept on "unpairing" and malfunctioning while using other bluetooth items on my Treo 700wx. Called and was informed that there are compatibility issues with Jawbone and Treo 700wx and Motorola Q. Hence, they are working on a updated Jawbone by July (according to customer service rep on phone today).

Hope this info helps...

by Tony B | Apr 12, 2007 11:12:03 AM

I actually purchased one directly from the Jawbone site. I had watched the demo as well as a video off YouRube and was very impressed by the tesets as well as the feedback being given by others using it. I liked the look of the black so I got 2 and had it delivered next day to my office. This is my first Bluetooth headset so I don't have any experience to base my experience with it against. That said...

Anyone that I talk to with this headset on can hear everything from wind blowing while I am driving to me tapping on a table. I am really disappointed with it and am really made considering I piad almost $300 for both. I have tried different ways of wearing it. I know the Noise Cancellation comes on by default. No matter what I do, nothing works. Any ideas?

by Gabriel | Apr 13, 2007 10:46:29 AM

I just bought a Jawbone from Cingular yesterday evening. This morning, I tested it on my drive to work.
I had the radio on at a low volume and the caller said she could hear short blips of music, but couldn't make out what it was. This happened whether I was talking or silent. Then I raised the volume on the radio to what would be a moderate listening volume, where you could still carry on a conversation with somone sitting in the back seat. The caller identified the song and even began singing along.
Then I asked her to compare the sound with noise reduction turned off. She said it sounded exactly the same.
As a last test, I turned on the air-conditioner and set it on low. The caller said she heard the air in blips of sound cutting in and out.
I finally asked about what voice quality sounded like. She said it was fine, but sounded very digitized.

I'm not happy at all, since the primary reason for purchasing a more expensive headseat like this was because of the noise reduction feature. I plan to return it to the store and get a less expensive model... that probably will sound just the same.

by jdclick | Apr 14, 2007 6:11:05 PM

ya I have a jawbone I bought at cingular its going back , I bought it because of the noise reduction and it failed people could hear my radio in the car with the noise shield on and off, im taking it back to cingular for a refund , bye

by Brian | Apr 17, 2007 6:43:15 PM

The comments by people who claim the noise reduction doesn't work are either coming from trolls or from people who don't bother to read the instructions that come with the Jawbone. First, you have to turn the noise cancelling on. Second, the little white nub on the underside of the device MUST be in contact with your jaw in order for the noise cancelling to work. I've had mine for a month now. The noise cancelling is not perfect but it's definitely very effective. It has trouble with wind and with very loud deep sounds. The key to the noise cancelling seems to be that the sensor reads the vibrations coming from the user in order to decide what to cancel out. When I was using my Jawbone while standing next to a really loud diesel truck engine, my caller said she could hear the engine noise. I'm guessing the engine was loud and deep enough to actually cause vibrations in my body that the Jawbone had trouble cancelling out. I suspect that the same principle applies to use of the Jawbone in a nightclub, where the heavy bass beat is probably loud enough to cause vibrations in the user's jawbone. One other thing--my earpiece did break after 3 weeks. Jawbone replaced it and linked me to a Youtube vid showing how to put on the earpiece properly ("as if putting on sunglasses.) I'd been torqueing it with both hands as it went on. The bottom line is it's hands down the best bt headset I've used, but it's not completely foolproof. If you're someone who lacks the patience to spend 5-10 minutes familiarizing yourself with a new device, save your money and buy a cheapie Scala.

by Brian | Apr 17, 2007 9:51:03 PM

BTW, while my earloop was broken I was playing around with the Jawbone and I discovered that you CAN use the Jawbone without the earloop. I successfully used two methods: the "jam it deep in your ear canal" method, and the Jawbone-Jabra eargel hybrid method. Either way the trick simply is to get the Jawbone's sensor in contact with your face.

The "jam it in your ear" method admittedly did not work very well unless I sat still. The Jawbone's earbuds are firm plastic and don't create a very snug fit in my ear. OTOH, the Jawbone-Jabra eargel hybrid method worked great.

Here's how to hybridize the Jawbone with a Jabra eargel. The Jawbone earbuds are actually made of two pieces, an inner plastic ring that has little tabs to lock onto corresponding slots on the Jawbone, and the outer earbud. So, first step is take apart one of the Jawbone earbuds. Now put the inner plastic ring into the Jabra eargel and you've created your hybrid. Now you can attach the hybrid onto the Jawbone as if it is a standard Jawbone earbud.

If you have a Jabra eargel that has a nice, tight fit in your ear, it shouldn't be difficult to position the hybrid earpiece so that the Jawbone's sensor touches your face. But it will probably take some trial-and-error. The Jabra eargel only fits into your ear one way; and the inner plastic ring of the Jawbone earbud only fits onto the Jawbone one way, so you will have to experiment with the position of the plastic ring within the eargel so that, when the entire assembly is in your ear the Jawbone points more or less forward (IOW horizontally) and the sensor touches your cheek.

The inner plastic ring is a fairly tight fit within a Jabra eargel, so the hybrid method worked well enough for me for a few days. I had fiddle with it occasionally when the inner ring worked its way out of postion within the eargel. Probably a little epoxy would create a good permanent solution.

That being said, I was relieved when the replacement earloop arrived. Personally, I find the standard Jawbone earloop and earbud attachment to be extremely comfortable, whereas Jabra eargels start to get uncomfortable after about an hour.

by Katherine | Apr 20, 2007 11:59:34 AM

I have a Treo 650 (Verizon), and today, I am returning my third Jawbone. I am (obviously) very disappointed. The problem with the first one was that the device got stuck in the charger the first time I charged it. I returned it and have received two since then, neither of which will pair with my 650. This tells me that the problem is with my Bluetooth programming. I have updated my 650 with the most recent software available from Palm's website, including the Treo 650 Updater 1.05a for Verizon Wireless, which is supposed to "optimize Bluetooth performance and added support for additional headsets and carkits." But Palm's website indicates that the 650's version of the Bluetooth Manager is 1.1. The version on my 650 is 1.0, and I can't find any place where I can upgrade to 1.1. Moreover, Palm has said it will not offer a version upgrade to the 650's. This has driven me nuts, so I'm just going to abandon the Jawbone and fume at Palm for not offering better support.

by Mike Wells | Apr 27, 2007 8:27:42 AM

BEWARE TREO 700WX USERS: This unit works great when it works. It is a very cumbersome process to get the unit linked with the Treo. In the morning, when the two attempt to get linked, I either have to remove my battery from the Treo or reset the Jawbone. Also, during the day, I hear a 3 tone sound and the unit disconnects from the phone? After the disconnect, here we go again with the linking up. I hope that there is a fix from Jawbone due to the fact it seems like a descent product.

by Tina | May 8, 2007 8:45:38 AM

After reading all the pros and cons I decided to give the Jawbone a try, so I ran out to Cingular (even though I'm a Verizon girl) and bought one. Raced home, charged it, then went to use it... and discovered that even the 'standard' size earloop is significantly too big for me. :>( So, it became my husband's instead. He's using it with a 650 and he loves it! No, it's not perfect, but compared to most of the others we've tried, it's definitely an improvement.

So then a friend of mine decided to try it with her 680, hoping it would eliminate the connection issues she's had with almost everything else. And yeah, she likes it... except that the minute she makes an outgoing call the connection drops and she has to re-initialize it.

Still, overall it does appears to be one of the better units on the market. Now if Aliph would only release a smaller earloop......

by mike harshberger | May 10, 2007 7:04:26 PM

Yeah, a month later and no contact from Aliph, though I offered to print a retraction if they could give me a reason. (see April 3rd posting above) Sorry to see others have spent money on this product to only re-discover what I posted. Hopefully it helped some people save money.

by satisfied!!! | May 18, 2007 4:30:27 PM

I guess the whiners don't know how to read instructions. The headset works perfectly. And as advertised. you have to make sure the white sensor stays on your face, or else you will get all kinds of wierd results. Adjust your earloops.

I have had 4 headsets as well, and the Jawbone is, without question, the best headset on the market right now. (2007) No Comparison!

by Robert | May 19, 2007 4:29:39 PM

I've found spare earloops and earbuds on eBay. Search for 'Jawbone earloop' or 'Jawbone earbuds'.

by Robert | May 19, 2007 4:31:00 PM

I've found spare earloops and earbuds on eBay. Search for 'Jawbone earloop' or 'Jawbone earbuds'.

by Keith | May 31, 2007 1:36:24 PM

Someone on here said they have a full beard and the Jawbone works fine. Can someone tell me if they have noise canceling problems with a beard because it seems like you couldn't get the sensor to your face with a beard?

by RosWell | Jun 4, 2007 12:34:58 PM

Bend the Earloop. I read about people who broke the wire portion of the loop. I don't know how. In my quest to make the Jawbone fit perfectly, stay there all day, and not cause pain, I figured out that bending and shaping that loop helps a lot. If you put the Jabra eargel on it, you can still adjust the loop so it keeps the sensor on your cheek. Tweak people, tweak!

by RosWell | Jun 4, 2007 12:42:46 PM

@ Brian (33) you DON'T have to turn the noise reduction on. It's on when you turn the earpiece on. If you don't believe me, try this. I use my Jawbone as a headset for my laptop and Skype. If you want to see how your noise reduction works and have a bluetooth compatible computer, just record yourself with it on and off. No false advertising there.

by WASPFAN | Jun 5, 2007 9:35:44 PM

I have had it for two months - works great - drive with windows down - volume control - noise cancel - read the manual... I broke an earbud and they replaced for free--- I am very satisfied -- Everyone says I sound like I am inside (Blackjack Cingular)... Some guy at the airport made a comment oh is that a jawbone - that is the worst piece of crap ever - so people are VERY opinionated about headsets... Wife got a jawbone - loves it as well -- have four friends that all got one - they love it -- can't understand the complaints other than they are not wearing it correctly...

by Audra | Jun 12, 2007 8:09:41 PM

Well, I love my jawbone mainly because it doesn't give me a headache and people I talk to can hear me when I'm in the car. Haven't driven with the windows down and done computerized testing and all that ya-ya, but I like it just fine. Here's my problem, though -- I bought the Audio Gateway program hoping to be able to use it with whatever Bluetooth headset I ended up buying, but no such luck. It will not work with the jawbone, and I'm wondering if anyone knows of a fix, or if I'm just doing it wrong. Thanks....

by Audra | Jun 12, 2007 8:12:54 PM

Well, I love my jawbone mainly because it doesn't give me a headache and people I talk to can hear me when I'm in the car. Haven't driven with the windows down and done computerized testing and all that ya-ya, but I like it just fine. Here's my problem, though -- I bought the Audio Gateway program hoping to be able to use it with whatever Bluetooth headset I ended up buying, but no such luck. It will not work with the jawbone, and I'm wondering if anyone knows of a fix, or if I'm just doing it wrong. Thanks....

by Tom | Jun 16, 2007 10:28:28 AM

Well, I'm totally confused at this point. I was all set to buy the jawbone since I drive a BMW Z3 and people complain when my top is up and windows up. I would love to find one that I can use when the windows are down and top down, but I see more people saying wind canceling is not that great and most people are using it in the car with windows up...not much of a challenge. Any convertible users having success with top down?

by JayTea | Jun 25, 2007 1:06:46 AM

Just starting using my Jawbone and it absolutely works as advertised. I own both the Moto HS850, H700, both Plantronics 655, 640 and Jabra JX10 and have failed to find a good noise cancellation headset until now. In fact, even wired noise cancellation headsets weren't any good.

The best non-noise cancellation headset I own is the 640. In any sort of noisy environment, the other headsets cancels parts of my voice to the garbled extent that I can't be understood.

Note, talking directly into my phone directly (either Blackberry Pearl or Moto Razr) still provides better voice quality (even if less noise cancellation). And wind directly blowing directly over the mic will render Jawbone useless like all the other headsets.

I can now use a BT headset instead of holding phone up for an hour commute in my convertible.

by HobieDobie | Jun 25, 2007 1:09:34 AM

Jawbone is fine in convertible and wind noise is blocked out as long as wind is not blowing directly in your mic otherwise all bets are off.

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