JayBird JB-200 Bluetooth Stereo Headset Review


Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £79.00

It’s a strange trend, but even though something’s clearly a great idea it sometimes takes manufacturers years to get right. Take the recent surge in the number of cheap, mini notebooks on the market, sparked by the infamous Eee PC. I’d been desperate for a product such as this for many years, and I’m sure many others were too, but manufacturers just kept missing the mark. Portable computing was either too expensive or too fiddly to use, or cheap and too limited.

It wasn’t until late 2007 that a manufacturer worked out that people wanted small, usable and fully functional laptops at reasonable prices – and the subsequent success of the Eee PC is proof that listening to your customers pays dividends.

Sometimes an obviously good idea just doesn’t catch on simply because it hasn’t been implemented correctly. And it’s a similar situation with Bluetooth music. The technology is there: bitrates are now easily enough to transmit audio streams at a high quality – Bluetooth 2.0 can reach speeds of up to 2.1Mbits/sec. And the demand is clearly there, with even stick-in-the-mud Sony adding Bluetooth to its top-end MP3 players.

But a product has yet to come along to convince me to move from wired headphones. The best efforts, Etymotic Research’s ety8’s, are hands down the best wireless headphones I’ve listened to, but they are unwieldy to wear and expensive. Everything else just seems to sound a little thin. Perhaps the Jaybird JB-200 wireless stereo headphones can change my opinion.

They certainly talk a good game. The manual witters on about high performance sound and goes into great depth on how important achieving the right fit is, complete with diagrams a 1970s biology textbook would have been proud of. To be fair this is probably necessary as it’s quite fiddly to get the Jaybirds into the right position.

The rubbery part of the headphone that goes in your ear looks like it ought to create some kind of a seal, but it’s actually designed to sit in the outer part of your ear. And what can only be described as a ‘nozzle’ then directs sound up into your ear canal. It’s important to adjust this so it points directly into the ear canal as the direction it points in has a dramatic effect on how these headphones sound. Point them the wrong way and they sound absolutely awful, so it pays to fiddle and fettle until you get to a position that you like.

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