Jawbone 2 Review

May 19, 2008
33

When Aliph released the original Jawbone nearly two years ago, I felt as if I was the only person in the world that didn't like the look, thought the design too bulky, and wasn't all that impressed by the company's "noise shield".  So how do I feel about the Jawbone 2?  Well, let me put it in one simple word - WOW.  Aliph had two years worth of customer feedback and, yes, it seems as though the company truly listened.  As a result, Jawbone 2 is lighter, 50% smaller, has improved voice enhancing and even more aggressive noise-canceling technology, a simpler ear hook design and a sleek new look that leaves the predecessor in the Stone Age.  Jawbone 2 comes at a hefty price of $129.99 and yes, I agree that's extremely expensive considering most cell phones don't cost that much - but if you want the ultimate in Bluetooth headsets, then it is worth every penny.

I was asked to share two features I love about the Jawbone 2 from a major competitor of Aliph.  I'll name you three: comfort, amazing sound quality and excellent materials/workmanship.  Then they asked me to list two things I dislike about the Jawbone 2.  Honestly, it was difficult to find fault, but if I were held at gunpoint I'd say that it's still slightly thicker most Bluetooth headsets on the market and they use a proprietary charge connector.  In Aliph's defense, I just don't know how they'd be able to slim it down anymore without cutting out a battery that offers up to 4 hours of talk time and/or 8 days standby.  I would love for Aliph to utilize a more standard connector such as the microUSB port for charging, but not at the expense of battery life.

Jawbone 2

Similar to the first Jawbone, the Jawbone 2 was designed by famous industrial designer Yves Behar.  I was never that crazy about the original's perforated front, so I'm delighted he did away with it and opted for the beveled diamond pattern running throughout the front surface.  The 3D surface feels smooth when you run your finger across it, as well as fending off fingerprints and preventing unwanted scratches.  As stated earlier, the major difference from its predecessor is that it's 50% smaller, measuring 2-inches long, 0.5-inches thick, 0.5-inches wide and weighing 10 grams. There are two hidden buttons, operated by touching the outside shield on the front, while Aliph's patented Noise Assassin button is on the top; they control all the functions of the headset.  The streamlined design can make it difficult to find the exact location of the talk button, and I found myself having to "feel around" for it.  There's a thin sliver of flashing white LED light that lets you know when the unit is powered on.  Turning off the light is as easy as clicking the talk button five times.


I really love that fact that Aliph has made the ear hook optional on the Jawbone 2.  What isn't optional is making sure that the tiny white rubber nub is touching your check.  It acts as the Voice Activity Sensor, allowing it to detect vibrations as you speak.    I know the ear hook is optional and you may not like it, but for me the headset feels more secured with it around my ear.  The ear hooks are flexible, allowing a more customized fit resulting in a much more comfortable fit than the first.  The hooks are thin enough to even wear with glasses or sunglasses.  The voice-activity sensor rests naturally on the side of my check.  Great job in this area Aliph!

Jawbone 2

Finally, the best feature of the Jawbone 2 is its amazing noise-canceling technology.  The dual microphone array help cut down wind noise, while the Noise Assassin and voice-activity sensor technology helps amplify your voice and cut out unwanted ambient sound.  Unlike other noise-canceling technology, Noise Assassin leaves you sounding natural.  I tested the Jawbone 2 in a noisy Starbucks, while driving with the windows down, and while walking around outside.  My test subjects hardly noticed the extreme environments I was in and reported only minor background noise and the occasional shuffling or clicking noise.  In addition, I had absolutely no problems hearing the callers.  When compared to the sound quality without the headset my test subjects was able to tell a big difference, claiming the headset sounds much better.

The Jawbone 2 is by far one of the best headsets I've reviewed currently on the market, and it rates up there with the BlueAnt Z9 which I hold as the gold standard for all Bluetooth headsets.
Comfort: 8.5 / Design: 8.5 / Quality:  9

Click to view all images of the Jawbone 2!

Aliph Jawbone 2 Unboxing and Walkthrough video


Must Read Bits & Bytes