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Jawbone Icon – Bluetooth Headset Review

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £61.58

Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal. As such, if you want to make or take phone calls while operating a vehicle you’ll need some kind of hands-free system and if you don’t have that built into your car already, you’re best choice will likely be a headset, such as the Jawbone Icon.


The design aesthetic leaves no doubt that the Icon is descended from the same product line as the Jawbone Noise Assassin and Jawbone Prime before it. Although no matter how stylish the Icon looks, it remains inexcusable to wear any Bluetooth headset while not actually inside a car. Furthermore, the names of the different designs – The Thinker (the one we have here), The Rogue, The Hero, The Ace, The Catch, and The Bombshell – are a tad silly and can’t justify the £60-odd price tag in isolation.


The Icon is the most compact Jawbone yet, measuring 45mm x 18mm x 24mm which, coupled with its mere 8.2 grams of weight, makes it practically unnoticeable in the ear. This is helped by the large choice of earpiece fittings so you should have no problem getting the Icon to stay in place in your ear.


One notable plus to the Icon is that it features a physical power button. Not that you’ll need to turn it off very often with a claimed 10-days of standby power. The 4.5 hours of talk-time isn’t outstanding, but anyone having long conversations while driving is clearly Doing It Wrong. In a slight regression, the Icon has a micro-USB port for charging, rather than the fancy magnetic dock charger of its predecessor. However, this does mean you can use someone else’s micro-USB charger if you’ve mislaid the Icon’s one.

The rear of the device is home to its one and only button, usually serving to answer and drop calls, but also giving access to a couple of other features with differing press-and-hold combinations. Holding the talk button and turning on the Jawbone, for example, places it into pairing mode. It’s worth mentioning that with my iPhone 3G a second battery indicator appeared on the iPhone’s status bar, showing the Icon’s charge level. I can only assume other handsets could have similar functionality added in the future.


Because you can’t – or at least shouldn’t – be looking at your phone’s screen when driving, the Icon also has voice prompts delivering useful information. These range from spoken warnings about battery level, to identification of incoming caller ID. There’s also support for voice activated dialling, as long as your phone is compatible.


The inside of the Icon also features the trademark Jawbone Voice Activity Sensor (VAS), the base of which is circled by a status LED. The VAS cleverly lets the Icon pick up vibrations from your jaw when talking, adding to the noise-cancellation accuracy of the “NoiseAssassin 2.5” system that purportedly improves upon the already impressive previous Jawbone headsets. Also helping make calls as clear as possible is “Wind-Noise Reduction Technology”, which claims to do just that in gusty environments.


The in-call results speak for themselves. Only because the others could see me in my car were they able to tell I was in it – engine noise was completely nullified. Upon venturing into a busy main road I had to open my windows before the traffic intruded into my conversation and even then external noise didn’t impede it.

The lack of noise intruding into dialogue is great, and better still it’s coupled by good quality on both ends. I had no problem hearing everything once I worked out that the headset’s output is varied by your phone – there are no volume controls on the headset itself. Those that I called did comment on a slight tinny quality to my voice but nothing to hinder them in understanding what I was saying. There was no such issue at my end, suggesting to me it’s a side effect of the noise-cancellation processing. Whatever the cause it’s no big issue.


The Jawbone Icon hooks up with a desktop application called MyTalk. You’ll have to be a US resident to get full use of this, as a range of ‘DialApps’ are available – bound to a press and hold of the talk button. As these apps include “Jott Assistant,” an app for updating Twitter, Facebook and the like via voice commands, perhaps that’s for the best. The option to choose one of six different voices available for the Icon is available to us Brits. You could even use Spanish, French or German voices if you wanted.


MyTalk also makes it possible to change the configuration settings for different phones. Considering the Icon can be paired with multiple devices that’s probably the most useful aspect of MyTalk – everything else is a little gimmicky.


Still, a few superfluous features shouldn’t put a damper on what is a brilliant Bluetooth headset. The Icon’s call quality is commendable, with noise-cancelling technology that works just as advertised and I’d argue it’s among the most attractive and comfortable headsets to come through the TrustedReviews labs.

Verdict


The Jawbone Icon is exactly what we’ve come to expect from this line of Bluetooth headsets. Its attractive well thought-out design couples with great performance to justify its price.

Trusted Score


Score in detail

  • Features 7
  • Value 8
  • Design 9

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