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Saturday, February 13, 2016

5 Best Bluetooth Headsets 2016 Comparison | Headset Review

Best Bluetooth Headsets 2016

5. Jabra Motion : 

Jabra-Motion-5-Best-Bluetooth-Headsets-2016
For Jabra, it is an answer to Platronics’ Voyager Legend. Other on the hand, Jawbone Era is also one of main competitors for Jabra Motion. And we’ll find out shortly how this Bluetooth headset stands against the other two devices.

Design:

Jabra usually don’t get criticized for its design, nor this device will get ’em any. Design wise it is a very descent headset. First thing you’ll figure out its design is its unusually large size compared to other Bluetooth headsets in market.  Jabra Motion is very comfortable to wear, particularly soft are its eargel tips. Jabra gives you three out of the box. These eartips fits nicely in your ear canal in tight seal it. Motion’ eartips is extendable and you can enhance it, according to your comfort.

That elongated but foldable Mic!

It features an over-ear design + an overwhelmingly elongated mic. Courtesy of that mic, Jabra Motion goes from over and back of your ear, even beyond your earlobe and nicely aligns up to your cheek. Some may find, that mic touching their cheeks – uncomfortable — but I didn’t feel much problem in it. For portability, you can also fold it.
Jabra-Motion-Review

Controls

On its rear edge, Motion has touch-based volume controls. Some other buttons like answer/end call and volume/mute toggle key, both on its lower half. Then, there is a MicroUSB port through which, you can charge the Motion.

Only one Complaint for Design…

One main problem I have is that, since they cover the whole back of your ear, they may feel awkward to eyeglasses’ user (Like me). But again, this depends on your preference. There are many persons who feel it okay to wear even when using glasses.

Features:

Jabra Motion is a very serious piece of Bluetooth Headset – no doubt about that. For connectivity options, we have a Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC – in case you don’t like Bluetooth and your Smartphone permits NFC. Like any other high-end Bluetooth headset, the Motion offers you many internal voice commands. You’ll hear it saying: ‘Say a command’. For which you just have to say ‘What can I say’. That’s it. You’ll get a list of voice commands, it does for you.

Motion-based Controls give you , umm, mix feelings

Since it has word Motion in its name, Jabra Motion has a Motion-sensor we usually called.. an accelerometer. By this the Motion performs many Motion-based features like answering calls when/if you pick it up or activating Noise Cancellation when/if it detects you walking. I haven’t got any particular problem with these controls but some people had some issues.
Brian Bennett from Cnet Says: “Sadly, I couldn’t get the Motion to operate in this regard, and not for the lack of trying. The headset never automatically picked up the line during incoming calls when I grabbed the device off my desk. I observed the failure with the HTC OneBlackBerry Z10, and Motorola Droid Razr HD. I also didn’t notice the Motion shifting its noise-cancelling profile based on whether I was walking or not”.
Yet, this was his personal experience. I didn’t have these particular issues.

Standout Companion app

In my opinion, Motion’ companion app is perhaps its best offering. Through this app, you can connect to other Bluetooth devices, monitor the battery level and select a sound profile. These sound profiles are just different settings that depends on your surroundings. There is a Car profile, an office one and one for outdoors too. Another function, this app does is ‘Audio Note’. As its name reveals, it lets you record anything you say – as a reminder. You can even voice control your phone through it e.g. Opening Apple’s Siri app using the Motion.

Performance:

Its sound is loud, crisp with a bit more attention on Highs. Due to tight-fitted eartips and Noise cancellation, you won’t get any background noise. Call quality is very good too. At least, in sound quality, the Motion is little-bit better than Voyager Legend – just a bit though. Jabra Claims its battery life is seven hours. You can even enhance it up to 8 hours with fair usage.

Conclusion

For me Jabra Motion is an unfinished business. I mean — while it has very sound quality — it has some issues like compactness for which you should better go to Jawbone’ Era. Its Motion-sensors are somewhat iffy too. But still it is very choice, since it’s been on more than 40% discount on Amazon.

4. Sennheiser PRESENCE-UC :

Sennheiser-PRESENCE-UC
Sennheiser isn’t a new player in Audio Gadgets’ markets. From wireless headphones to Aviation headsets, Sennheiser has been making all these for more than half a decade. But still people don’t go for Sennheiser Bluetooth headsets as much as, say, in-ear headphones or other consumer headphones. One particular reason in my mind is generally increased price other of its competitors. Anyways, we’ll dive head first to find out how far this headset succeeded.

Aesthetics:

Design wise, PRESENCE is very slim. Black from outside contrasts well with stainless steel, and overall make a stylish combo. On its backside, you’ll find a MicroUSB post for charging and an LED indicator, just over it. You can apply/remove its ear-hook whenever you want, so that you can wear it on any of your ears. Since it weighs only 13 grams, forget about tiredness.

Features:

Sennheiser presence has the latest Bluetooth 4.0, which does very less power consumption but covers more area than its previous versions. Connection is easy to make, just hold on that multi-purpose button and you’re done. For better call quality, Sennheiser have implemented their HD Voice Clarity Technology – it makes voice calls much clearer on both ends. One unique feature it offers is that unlike other headsets that feature two microphones, PRESENCE has three built-in microphones + Sennheiser Speak Focus technology.
These two filters out background noise from your voice during calls. Then we have Sennheiser’ WindSafe technology, what it does is to negate Wind Noise to clear-out your voice even more.Generally, doctors advice us to not listen through headsets for long. Reason: it will affect our hearing. To prevent this, PRESENCE has ActiveGard feature, it detects/removes potentially dangerous sounds/noise and energy. Simply put, almost all of its features ensures clear, natural and HD voice.
Sennheiser-PRESENCE-UC-Review

Best Battery life:

It is the longest-lasting Bluetooth headset – during our testings. It has a 10-hour talk time and 14-days of battery life on Standby. What’s even more good is that the PRESENCE talks less than one and a half hours to charge fully.

An expensive Bluetooth Headset:

Well, it is really an expensive piece of hardware. Even more expensive than Jabra Motion and Voyager Legend – that’s the main reason why it’s not in top three. Yet, there are some little reasons to justify that much asking price like sound quality, clear and loud voice etc. And there isn’t any major issue in it. Except from apparent NFC – actually the lack of it.

3. Plantronics Voyager Edge : 

Plantronics-Voyager-Edge-5-Best-Bluetooth-Headsets-2016
Voyager Edge is the new high-end Bluetooth headset offered by Platronics, alongside its old brother Platronics Voyager Legend. It has some minor design improvements from Voyager Legend such as compactness and removal of that bulky over-ear design. Following is what we found out Voyager Edge, in our testing:

Design

Design wise, Voyager Edge is a merger between the Legend and Platronics’ own more fashion-focused Discovery line. In particular, its design resembles a bit from Platronics Discovery 975. It also borrows some looks from the Legend. Prominently, it features a thin flip-boom Mic, like Legend, and discard somewhat-bulky over-Ear design of the former and the Motion from Jabra.
On the other hand, it as the Diamond-shaped body from Discovery 975E. In size too, Edge resides somewhere between the compact Era and the big Motion. Unlike Era, the Edge has physical volume control, call answer and Voice Commands buttons.

Comfort level is Above Par but Not Best

The Edge has three eartips, out of the box, with stabilizing fins for more grip and one optional clip-on loop plastic loop for more security. To be honest, Edge’s Loop’ Fit didn’t had that much grip as Era’s. Since its eartips reside outside your ear canal, rather than stuck in it – like Jabra Motion — you may won’t feel it more stable. Therefore, you may have to tinker with it,  a little bit, to find you comfort spot. But after doing that, comfort and fit becomes great.
Overall, Edge is comfortable to wear, but not as much as Era (which we’ll cover later in this post).
Plantronics-Voyager-Edge-Review

Features

Voyager Edge have all the features found in Advanced Bluetooth Headsets. Like Sennheiser PRESENCE, it has three microphones to promise you a zero background noise, even when its design doesn’t do any noise isolation. It also boast Bluetooth 4.0, to pair with cellphones, with combines with A2DP support — in case you want to listen music instead of calls — and NFC capability. For NFC, just touch the back of your Smartphone’ back with the Edge, wait for a few secs and that is it.
Other than these, it has some other offerings. First, we have dual-capacitive sensors which detect if you’re wearing the Edge. Therefore, whenever there comes a call and it is in you ear, this headset will answer automatically. Other Motion gestures are supported too. It also supports Voice commands and even in un-English languages such as French, Spanish and even Mandarin etc.

Performance

Even though its flip-boom mic is smaller than Legend and the Motion, its sound quality is as impressive as the other two’s. Three microphones remove background noise. On the other hand, JawBone Era one-ups the Edge in terms of loudness, but its sound quality compensates for that.

A Little-Shorter Range and above-average battery life..

While Platronics’ says that its Bluetooth range is approx. 35 feet, I found it to nearly half only. Even at 25-26 feet, signal drops off completely. As per its battery life is concerned, I was able to get nearly about 6 hours of talk time. Not so impressive but still good.

Conclusion:

Just as I said earlier, the Edge lies somewhere in-between the stylish Jawbone Era and Legend’ performance. So I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a Bluetooth headset that is balanced between stylish and performance.

2. Jawbone Era (2014) – Most Stylish Bluetooth Headset : 

Jawbone-Era-(2014)
So here’s what we’ve talked about on above paragraphs. At approx. 6 grams, one of the lightest – if not the lightest – Bluetooth headsets ever made – the Jawbone Era. The Era series is all-time favorite in Bluetooth Headsets niche. And with this latest version, Jawbone tried to take advantage of latest smartphone technologies.

Design:

You can call Era, the Parrot Ziks of Bluetooth Headsets. It is arguably the most stylish Bluetooth Headset in market, right now. Thanks to its new redesign from previous generation, it has also reduced 42% size. Due to this, it is one of the smallest Bluetooth Headsets around. So if your friend won’t notice it in your ear, don’t be surprised, such small it is. It is available in four colors such as Silver, Red, Bronze and Black.
From some distance, it looks like a big candy. It consists of an earbud + a silver eargel and a power switch. It sticks in your ear, which means shake off your head as many times you want and it’ll stay there. One more advantage of this ‘In-Ear’ design is prefect fit. Since its silicon eargel is very soft, it is much more comfortable to wear than Voyager Edge. It ear gel also stay inside your ear canal and make you feel comfortable.

“Noise Assassinating” features:

A voice activity sensor, two microphones and a feature Jawbone calls “NoiseAssassin 4.0” – all are there to ensure no background noise during calls. It works great, you can attend you calls, even in Noisy roads to crowdy areas. Its microphones are actually Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems — MEMS — microphones that are accompanied with customized DSP Algos. to make you voice crisp and clear.
Since it has only one multi-purpose button, learning all those shortcuts will indeed require some time. But some basic functions are easy.Like short press to answer/end call, long one to change call volume and multiple presses to play music/redial last number depending on what you’re doing.
Jawbone-Era-(2014)-Review

Jawbone App:

Jawbone companion is very handy too. It automatically searches for nearby smartphones to pair with ’em. You can customize its multi-purpose button functions and even located your misplaced Era through this app. Some other not so important features are different choices for its voice like mobster and bombshell. Through this app, you can keep check on your saved appointment that are about to begin. Also you can automatically do conference calls, as this app will let it automatically dial those numbers.
One main kink in this app is that it requires Jawbone Era connect to computer first, before doing any of these customization.

Sound Quality and Performance:

As the Era is very small, you might thought it’s audio quality is not up to the standards of the Motion or the Edge. Since the sound quality is usually directly proportional to speakers size. Despite of its size, it is actually more loud than previous Era. Even Edge couldn’t beat it in terms of loudness. But that loudness doesn’t come on expense of Audio quality, which remains clear and natural. In short, just Jabra Motion and Voyager Legend have better quality. But again, these two aren’t the most sexy Bluetooth Headset, Era is.

Pretty average Battery life but above-average range

Jabra claims that Era’ Battery life is up to 4 hours. Well, these are just..claims. In fact, in our testing it didn’t even lasted 3 hours. Now what’s disappointed me most in this otherwise perfect Bluetooth device. And while its range is claimed to be 33 ft. It also dropped signals before going 25 ft. away.

Conclusion:

Well, Jawbone just showed us how compact and beautiful a Bluetooth Headset can be, a clear difference to some bulky and larger ones, we were using a few years ago. Of course, its battery life deducts is short, so if you want some substance over style, go for Jabra Motion. But Its sound quality and comfort is one of the best around. It is available in two versions – with and without carrying case – by the way, carrying case would cost you approx. $30 extra.

1. Plantronics Voyager Legend : 

So this is the Best Bluetooth Headset among all, I’ve tested, read and even heard. And my statement didn’t changed even after reviewing its little-but-expensive bro Voyager Edge. Though Voyager Edge was released as an improvement from Legend, it couldn’t beat the Legend in terms of Audio Quality. Let’s dive head first on its review to know what I found about it.

Design

From Design, you would hardly feel that it is a high-end Bluetooth device. It is entirely made from plastic, with some exception of rubber on its earloop for better fit. It also has that big and bulky boom arm-like mic, like Jabra Motion. Even your grandfather can tell you that it is one of the largest Bluetooth Headset around – let alone a compact Headset. But still, keep in mind, that was released more than four years back. That’s why you can’t argue much about design.
The Legend has two buttons — one for voice and other for Calls  — on its boom microphone. On the other hand, there is a power button — below a volume up/down toggle button — on earloop’ base. You will get three eartips of different sized out of the box,  and two foam pads for better fit if you want ’em. You can wear the Legend in both of you ears, just rotate the boom, twist it and switch you ears.
Overall, it design is OK, and fitting is very good. And it is very light when compared to its size. But if you want a Bluetooth Headset for best design, lightweight and comfort, you can go for Jawbone Era.
Plantronics-Voyager-Legend-Review

Features

Even though it is a bit old, it has features what most of new Bluetooth Headsets offer nowadays. We’ll start with connectivity options. One important thing that it has Bluetooth 3.0, not the latest 4.0. Anyways you can connect it with your Bluetooth phone, just by holding up that call button and by saying ‘Pair Mode’. Yes, it also features different voice commands. To learn what types of commands you can say, you will have to say: ‘What can I say’, and you will found all of that list.
It has some built-in sensors which will detect that whether you’re wearing the Legend or Not. Based on those scenarios, it will either mute that call or answer it.

Performance

As I am saying once that it is best, it is so for a reason. It sound quality is best among all. Even though Noise Cancellation is not at its best, what you will get is a pure, full and clear voice over calls. Despite average Noise isolation, there is virtually no background Noise.
Other features include A2DP, which means you can stream music from podcast/your phones or even prompt from GPS apps. Through multi-point support, you can connect it to multiple devices and switch between one another. Then we have Vocalyst, a subscription-based app from Platronics, which reads your emails and Facebook/twitter updates. After one free year, its fee is $25 per year.
Bluetooth range is good, but not very best. In our testing, it lasted for more than seven hours – which is quite good. For improved charging, Legend uses magnetic adapter on its adapter – which is better than conventional microUSB connector. Therefore, it takes one and a half hours to charge fully.

Final Words From Author

So these were some of the best Bluetooth Headset – according to my research/testing — which you can buy in 2016. As I said before in this post, there is not much difference than no. 5 and no.1 headset in this article. It is totally up to your preference. If you want style, you can opt for Jawbone Era and for performance-seekers we have Voyager Legend. On the other hand, Voyager Edge is a nice balance between Style and Substance. Budget users can consider Jabra Motion too.
I prefer Sound quality above all, that’s why I chosen Legend above all. But I wouldn’t be surprised if you go for any other Bluetooth Headset.