The Jawbone 2 from Aliph is now available at Apple Retail Outlets. As a new reviewer, this gives me a chance to review this fabulous piece of technology once again. Our own Gary Mazo reviewed the Jawbone 2 back in May. He fully covered the internal electronic and materials technology, so I will focus upon its superb sound quality, aesthetic beauty, and other subjective traits While most bluetooth headsets are only slightly better than tying a string to a can, the sound of the Jawbone 2 is arguably better than using the phone itself. There is no usual microphone. The Jawbone 2 uses a small soft stylus that rests on your, well, jawbone! It senses the vibrations of your face and turns it into sound. When you speak, as well as when you listen, the background noise is minimized through sophisticated electronic algorithms. I was able to carry on a conversation with the windows down and the music far too loud for normal headsets. The Jawbone goes a long way to eliminate the background noise coming into your ear through the ear piece. However, if you’re dopey enough to leave the stereo blaring while on the phone, your mileage may vary.
The box itself is a thing of beauty. Its clean, crisp lines and stark black and white presentation are stunning. After you finish admiring the box, put it directly into the recycling bin. You won’t be returning the best bluetooth headset you’ve ever used. I saw both the original jawbone and the Jawbone 2 right next to each other at a big box store. The original Jawbone, at almost twice the size as the Jawbone 2 looked a lot like a custom display, blown up to show detail. Were Andre the Giant still with us, I believe he would favor the original design. For the rest of us, the new version, with all of its improvements, is way more cool.
Every aspect of the design is fully thought out. Unlike many other bluetooth headsets where function follows form, the Jawbone 2 is a perfect example of form following function. The first detail you notice is the rippled 3D surface pattern. This texture was inspired by noise abatement surfaces. There are no visible buttons. They are hidden under the skin of the headset. They respond with a tactile click when the outer surface shield is pressed. The LED status light magically appears through the ripples in the outside shield. The inner surface gently caresses your face with its soft sensual curves…er, maybe I should just say that its shape is comfortable against your face.
There are four ear loops to custom fit any head, even my big head with its large ears. Three sizes of ear pieces are also included. This is where I have my only true issue with the design. To be fair, this issue is common with many headsets and headphones. The openings in the human ear are not round, yet the ear pieces are! The hardness and shape of the rubber ear piece forces your ear to conform to the shape of the ear piece rather than the other way around. The Jawbone 2 needs ergonomically designed ear pieces made of softer, more malleable material. A redesigned ear piece would be more comfortable and would increase noise suppression due to a more accurate fit.
Lest I forget, the Jawbone 2 is now available in black, silver, and, at a slightly higher premium, rose gold.
The pros: Best sound quality and noise suppression of any bluetooth headset I’ve heard.
The cons: Slightly uncomfortable, yet acceptable, ear pieces. And, of course, a bit pricey.