For years I have avoided Bluetooth headsets because in the past I have found them uncomfortable to wear or they kept falling out of my ear, awkward to operate and provided iffy audio. In fact I even stopped looking at them several years ago. Until recently that is..my wife started to complain I wasn’t answering my phone when I was in crowded places..because I couldn’t hear it ring in my pocket..a sign of advancing age?? So resigned myself to getting a Bluetooth headset. I looked at them all and bought a Jawbone ERA
I liked the look of the Jawbone ERA as well as the weight..I remembered reading good things about the Jawbone series over the years so figured it was worth a try. To my first concern..fit..the ERA came with a full complement of ear tips..8 in all..surely one would be comfortable. Surprisingly the most comfortable was the medium one that was already installed. It felt good in my ear, comfortable even for long term wear and wonder of wonders it didn’t keep falling out…I didn’t even need to use the hook. A really good start!
Now how does it sound? In my ear the audio was excellent and the automatically adjusted volume was always just right for the prevailing conditions so I never had to touch the volume control switch..even music sounded surprisingly good even if in only one ear. At the receiving end the audio was clear and sufficiently loud..but the effect of the Noise Assassin 3.0 was obvious in the somewhat mechanical sound..a small price to bay for being able to talk under some noisy conditions that cause lesser devices to fail.
There are other neat features..when you turn it on the ERA thanks you for waking it up and sounds a tone to indicate it has paired with your phone. If you press the rocker button at the top of the ERA it will give you a time check and tell you how much battery life is left. If you hold the rocker down while in a call or listening to music the ERA will cycle the volume and you can remove your finger when you are satisfied with the level. I haven’t had to do this as the adaptive volume works so well. A long press will activate the voice dialing feature on phones that support it..I found it worked very well on my HTC Sensation using both Google Voice and Vlingo. The ERA also contains an accelerometer which allows you to shake the headset to start the pairing process or once it is in your ear double tap it to answer or hang up.
And there are apps! The selection is still pretty small…mainly different voices or dialing apps that make voice dialing more reliable. I have also installed an app on my HTC Sensation that shows me how much battery is left on my era and notifies me of calendar events. More apps are promised in the future. You can see the apps on a special web page that also allows you to adjust settings of your headset.
I love my Jawbone ERA it does everything I want, it looks good and it fits. Available in four colours, the Jawbone ERA would certainly qualify as the best Bluetooth headset you can buy but, it is expensive at $129.99 pretty much wherever mobile phones are sold. I bought mine on sale at Best Buy a few months ago for $99.99 and I notice that this week it is on sale at Future Shop for that price.