Jabra Revo Wireless

Despite some small flaws in sound quality and a somewhat high price, superior comfort and design help the Revo Wireless headphones distinguish themselves from their Bluetooth headphone competitors.


7.8
CNET Rating


Jabra is best known for its wired and wireless headsets, but it's now ventured into the premium headphone market with two on-ear models: the Revo and Revo Wireless, as well as a more affordable in-ear model, the Vox.

Both the Revo and Revo Wireless have very similar designs, and they're among the more comfortable and well-designed on-ear headphones I've tested, with a sturdy fit and finish and a folding design. I liked both models a lot and found them great for everyday use, although I thought the Revo Wireless, reviewed here, could have offered a little better sound quality for their fairly high price tag. For Bluetooth, they sound pretty decent, but in terms of clarity, they're not on par with some other similarly priced premium Bluetooth headphones, such as the Harman Kardon BT.

Design and features

The design of the Revo Wireless is arguably their biggest strength. When it comes to on-ear headphones, I'm usually very picky (I prefer over-the-ear or in-ear models), but I had no problem with these. They have memory foam in their ear pads, they conform to your ears nicely and seal out a good amount of ambient sound. It's also worth noting that they don't fit so tight as to pinch down on your ears, so they offer a secure fit — but not too secure.

The headphones feature touch controls.
(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

The headphones feel sturdy and have a nicely air-cushioned headband with metal armatures. I also appreciated that the ear cups are labelled "right" and "left" on their interiors, so it's easy to figure out which is which.

As noted, the headphones fold up. And while they don't turn into a super-compact package, it's fairly compact.

I can't say that I was impressed with the carrying bag that comes with the product. It's thin, lightweight and very basic. At this price, I'd expect something a little more luxurious. For instance, the Klipsch Image One Bluetooth come with a nice hard case (those headphones fold flat).

The headphones fold up, but the carrying case is very basic.
(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

On a more positive note, the Revo Wireless, like the Parrot Zik, offer touch controls. You simply swipe your finger in a circular motion around the outside of the right earpiece to raise and lower the volume (Jabra refers to this as "Turntable Touch Controls" because the grooves on the earpiece give it the appearance of a turntable). You tap twice on the front of the "turntable" to skip a track forward and tap twice on the back of the "turntable" to skip a track back. Tap the "multi-function" button in the middle of the turntable to pause/play tracks and answer/end calls. To reject an incoming call you hold the button down for a second.

The Revo Wireless also offer near-field communication (NFC) pairing for smartphones and other devices that support it (you hold up the device up to the "NFC Zone" on the left ear cup to pair). It works (I tested it with the

Battery life is rated at 12 hours and you charge via USB.
(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

You can also connect the headphones to your PC via the included micro-USB charging cable to get a direct digital connection. Bluetooth can be a little finicky with PCs (you should be able to use the headphones wirelessly if your PC is Bluetooth enabled, but you can sometimes have a problem pairing, depending on your system). The headphones will charge when you have them connected to your PC via USB, and you can also connect your phone via Bluetooth while they're charging. (Note that the headphones only ship with a USB charging cable but not an AC adapter).

The ear pads feature memory foam.
(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Performance

Judging the performance of the Revo Wireless is a little tricky. One of the issues is that you can choose to run your music through Jabra's Sound app, which is available as a free download for iOS and Android devices with an included code. The app allows you to tweak the bass and treble and gives you the option of turning on Dolby Digital Plus processing, which changes how your music sounds. Some will think that the Dolby processing improves the sound, and others might not think it really makes it better. You also have the option of activating a "Mobile Surround" mode, which gives the impression of a widened sound stage.

Audio purists probably won't like any of this stuff, but as I said, some folks will prefer the Dolby processing. Regardless, the only problem is that the app only works with your iTunes library on your phone (or music library on your Android phone) and not with music services like Spotify and Rdio, which more and more people — including me, are using.

The headphones could sound slightly better for the price.
(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

What I can say is that, overall, these just aren't the cleanest-sounding Bluetooth headphones I've tested. They're decent for Bluetooth, just not great. While the headphones deliver a good amount of bass, audiophiles will think it sounds a tad muddy, which one would argue should not be the case with US$250 headphones. If you're looking for a more natural, clear-sounding Bluetooth experience, the Harman Kardon BT, Parrot Zik and Nokia Purity Pro by Monster are going to deliver better sound quality.

I also compared these with the Klipsch Image One Bluetooth, which also have a great design (I actually like the Image One's design slightly better). I expected the Klipsch to sound as good or better than the Jabra Revo Wireless, but the Jabra came out on top (the Image One headphones have lots of bass, but it's mushy). I also like liked the Jabra's better overall than the Beats by Dre Wireless. To put it another way, this model came out sounding slightly better than some models in its price class but fell short of the top-sounding Bluetooth models.

Using the Revo Wireless as a wired headphone yields better results, ergo cleaner sound. And while I can't tell you what's different about the internal design of this model versus the standard, wired Revo, in terms of pure sound quality, the standard Revo's going to deliver the same or slightly better sound. (To be clear, I'm comparing the Revo versus the Revo Wireless in wired mode.)

Battery life is decent. It's rated at 12 hours for music streaming, and I managed to use the headphones on my daily commute to and from work (a little more than an hour total) for a week without a problem.

Finally, as with most stereo Bluetooth headphones, the Revo Wireless can be used as a headset for making mobile phone calls. As you might expect from a company that has been in the headset market for a while, call quality was good. Callers said they could hear me well, and indoors at least, they said I didn't sound like I was on a headset.

Conclusion

The Revo Wireless is one of those products that's hard to attach a final score to. It's got so much going for it in terms of a strong design and excellent comfort level, as well as an impressive feature set, that you can overlook some small performance issues and the lack of a swankier carrying case.

If you're a stickler for sound quality, these headphones may not cut it for you, especially at their elevated price. But as day-to-day "mobile" headphones, I found them to be a pleasure to wear and could see people using them at the gym, although you'll probably want to be careful about sweating on them too much (putting them over a hat is an option).

Via CNET.com



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Im Batman posted a comment   
Australia

Nice looking headphone, really nice.
Hope Bose can take some cues from here and improve their units.




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User Reviews / Comments  Jabra Revo Wireless

  • Im Batman

    Im Batman

    "Nice looking headphone, really nice.
    Hope Bose can take some cues from here and improve their units."

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