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Jabra Halo Stereo Bluetooth Headset
Now that Apple has finally got around to adding Bluetooth A2DP audio streaming to the iPhone the world may finally wake up to how useful A2DP actually is and start taking more of an interest in wireless stereo headsets, like this one from Jabra.
The Halo not only supports A2DP wireless stereo audio, but also features AVRCP to allow you to wirelessly control music playback on your phone. AVRCP enables you to skip forward and back through your tunes as well as play and pause tracks on compatible devices. Unfortunately, AVRCP isn't fully supported by the iPhone - play and pause are enabled, but track skip is not. However, the full feature list is supported by most other handsets, so this is an iPhone failing rather than a weakness of the Halo.
The neatest feature of the Halo's design is the two folding arms that hold the ear pieces in place. This folding design makes the headset much easier to store as it's a lot less bulky when they arms are folded up. You can't quite fit them in a shirt pocket, but they'll slide pretty comfortably into most coat or jacket inside pockets. The hinges on the arms are also active in that when you fold them out the headset automatically turns on and when you fold them closed it turns itself off again. Once the arms are folded out they can then be pushed back over the hinge to lock them in place. Once locked, you can then extend the arms to better fit the profile of your head.
As the headphones weigh just 80g they're light and pretty comfortable to wear even for longer periods. The headband is also reasonably tight so it'll keep the ear pieces in place unless you start head banging to Slipknot or something similar.
The Halo's only two controls are found on the outer face of the right-hand ear piece. The first is a simple multifunction button that's used to take and reject calls as well as start and pause music playback. The second is the touch slider that not only controls the volume level, but also acts as the forward and back track skip buttons. Controlling volume with this slider is easy, but using it as a track skip button is less straightforward.
To skip tracks you double tap either on the + or - end of the volume slider scale. Unfortunately you can't see the + and - markings when you're actually wearing the headset and the double taps aren't always registered even if you do tap in the right place. Both of these problems left us feeling that it would have been a better idea to include dedicated track skip buttons as on the similar STK BTHS600 stereo headset.