- Active Noise Cancellation
- Superb sound quality
- Pair with two devices at once
- Flimsy feel
- Loose fitting
- Review Price: £99.99
- Active Noise Cancellation
- HD Voice Technology
- 24mm speaker
There is an inherent problem with wearing a Bluetooth headset. No matter how well designed it is, you will almost certainly end up
looking like something of a berk wearing one. Add to this problem the hefty price tag of £99.99 and the Jabra Supreme is already
facing an uphill struggle.
The Supreme is the latest in the company’s long
line of Bluetooth headsets and its headline-grabbing feature is that it claims to be the
first mono Bluetooth headset to feature active noise cancellation, a feature
we’re more used to seeing on stereo headphones. We’ll get onto how this
technology works in a while, but first let’s look at that all-important part of
a Bluetooth headset – the design.
Jabra is known for producing rather stylish-looking headsets, which culminated
in the unique Stone range that was about as stylish as a Bluetooth headset could look.
However that design had its flaws as the lack of a microphone boom meant that
picking up your voice was less-than-flawless.
The Jabra Supreme goes back to a more traditional design, with a main earpiece
combined with a flipping boom arm and adjustable ear hook. The first thing you
notice is that there are very few design flourishes and it seems as if Jabra
has put all its focus into getting the sound side of things spot-on.
The whole thing weighs just 18g and is encased in sleek-looking black-and-grey plastic
and rubber. The action of the flipping boom arm feels nice and solid, but the housing feels a bit flimsy and not as premium as we would have liked for the
The earpiece features just four buttons in total. On the outside is the main
button and acts as the call answer/finish button. On the rear of the earpiece are
two volume buttons, in between which rests a microUSB port (under a plastic
flap) for charging.
The fourth button is located on boom arm and is used to activate the voice
controls. All the buttons are easy to access and are responsive under your
fingers. On the underside (depending on which way you are wearing it) are the
Bluetooth and power indicator lights.
The boom arm is hinged and can be flipped out to switch on the headset and back
to turn it off. Once turned on, it automatically connects to any devices it has
previously connected to. A friendly American lady will let you know this
through the headset.
The headset is secured to your ear via a replaceable ear hook that can be
inserted to suit left or right ear users. The Jabra Supreme comes with two ear
hooks (small and large) and both have an adjustable end to help secure it to
On the inside, the headset comes with a pair of ear cushions, which should suit
most people. Putting these on is not easy and securing them was a bit of a
kerfuffle – but once we got them on, they stayed on.
Overall the Jabra Supreme was not the most comfortable
headset we have ever worn. It never felt completely secure on our ear and
because the ear hook is replaceable it felt as if the headset was hanging off
our ear – despite its small size and low weight.
The boom arm is just 55mm long and we never felt it was imposing on us while not in
use. It did get caught on our jacket a couple of times, but it was certainly a
small irritant we could deal with to get the improved sound quality.
Pairing your Jabra Supreme with you phone is a pretty
straightforward process. The first time you turn the headset on it will
automatically enter pairing mode. Then simply go to the Bluetooth menu on your phone
and connect to the Jabra device. If this is too complicated for you, the voice
guidance system will help you through if you need some extra assistance.
The Jabra Supreme supports connections to two devices at once, which is really
handy if you have work and personal phones (or a phone and Bluetooth-enabled
PMP). To pair with another device, press the Voice Control button and say
“Pair New Device”. Switching between phones is a relatively simple
process with the first phone (or primary phone) overriding the second device.
If you receive a call while listening to other audio
sources from your phone, you will automatically be switched to the call and on
finishing you will return to the previous source. However if you are listening
to, say, a podcast, it will continue running in the background and so you will
have missed some of it.
While design and comfort are of course important when considering a Bluetooth
headset, if that is not combined with excellent sound quality then you are
basically wearing a rather extravagant earring.
The Jabra Supreme comes into its own when you finally manage to use it to
answer or make a call. Incoming calls are relayed to you by that nice American
lady, who even tries to tell you who is calling – though some of the
pronunciations are rather comical.
A simple tap of the call button answers the call and in the tests we carried
out, we found that no matter the situation, the sound was excellent. The
active noise cancellation works very well. It uses a combination of one
dedicated microphone with an electronic chipset to generate an “anti-noise”
sound, removing ambient noise heard by the person wearing the headset.
While other mono Bluetooth headsets may claim to have active
noise cancelling technology going on, Jabra is adamant that it is the first to
include it in such a headset. Other headsets have noise blackout technology which
sits on both sides of the call, and which, according to Jabra, is not the same
as it does not actively work to cancel the noise like the Supreme does.
We tested the headset out in a variety of situations (from a busy street in
central London and a packed bus to a car with the window down) and not once did we have
a problem hearing the people on the other end.
Speaking of said people, most reported not knowing they were speaking to us on
a Bluetooth headset, though some reported that we were shouting a little too
much – though this was probably down to us thinking we couldn’t be heard
As well as active noise cancellation, the headset uses Noise Blackout 3.0 technology
to reduce background noise that could be transmitted to the person
on the other end of the line.
Jabra has also
included Wind-Noise Reduction (a technology it is still awaiting a patent
for) to help you
when you want to take
a call on top of a mountain. We found that while walking through the
remnants of Hurricane Katia earlier
this week, didn’t hinder the sound at all – which was amazing.
Sound quality while listening to music or podcasts
through the headset is not something it is designed for but the Jabra Supreme
does support the A2DP profile allowing for streaming of audio from multimedia
and GPS apps.
We listened to podcasts and the radio while testing the headset but the quality
was far from perfect. This however could be more to do with the inherent
problem of streaming audio over Bluetooth but considering a mono headset is not
designed for listening to music in the first place, it isn’t a major drawback
of the headset.
Pressing the Voice Control button gives you access to a
number of voice commands. Battery, Pair new
device, redial, call back and cancel are all self explanatory and work well –
though our accent did confuse them on a number of occasions.
The final command, and the most important, is “Phone
command”. This will give you access to your phones’ menu and let you voice dial
anyone in your contacts list. While it worked perfectly with an 4 we were unable eto get it to work with the HTC Evo 3D.
When we contacted Jabra about this, they sent us a compatibility
spreadsheet for all its devices. While the Supreme is yet to be added to the
list we were pointed towards the Stone saying it would have pretty similar
It shows that the majority of HTC devices do not support
voice dialling, even high-end phones like the Sensation. However the
Supreme should work well with all BlackBerry devices and other Android devices
but we would suggest checking before purchasing.
While a problem like this is certainly a drawback, the
issue is not with the Supreme but with support from specific handset manufacturers.
Jabra claims that one charge, via the supplied USB cable
(a cigarette lighter adapter is also included), will give you up to six hours
talk time and 15 days of standby time.
In our tests we found that Jabra is not far off in its
estimation, as we got between five and five-and-a-half hours use from the
headset, which is decent if not mind-blowing.
On first viewing the Jabra Supreme headset certainly looks the part. Compact
and stylish it certainly doesn’t draw unnecessary attention to your ear. Add to
this unrivalled sound quality for both parties thanks to active noise
cancellation and it seems like the Jabra Supreme is a winner. However poor support
for the voice commands, a rather flimsy feel and a high price tag means it falls
short of our getting a recommended sticker.
Score in detail
Build Quality 7
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