Jawbone Prime

The Jawbone Prime's ability to filter out nearby sounds is astonishingly good. We suspect black magic is at work here.


9.3
CNET Rating


Design

AliphCom's Jawbone Prime Bluetooth headset certainly isn't a shrinking violet. The company differentiates its Jawbone lines essentially on colour grounds, with the ordinary Jawbone available in black, brown or platinum and the Earcandy variants in rather more striking hues of red, yellow, green or purple, with very silly product names to match.

Earcandy coloured Jawbone headset

Costume jewellery's got nothing on the hot colours of Jawbone's Earcandy coloured headsets.(Credit: AliphCom)

Our review sample was the purple variant, and we're certain that it would be almost impossible to lose. Partly due to the rather bright hue, and partly due to the Jawbone's rather large size. If you're easily embarrassed wearing a Bluetooth headset, the Jawbone Prime probably isn't for you, as it's rather large and has a design that works best when gently resting on your cheek, making it very obvious that you're wearing it. Mind you, one female tester of the Jawbone did comment that it looked rather like a large purple earring, so you might be able to fake your way out of feeling self-conscious.

Controls on the Jawbone Prime are very minimalistic, with only two buttons covering off all of the unit's functions. The Talk button handles power, accepting and hanging up calls, while the secondary "NoiseAssassin" button handles call rejection, volume and voice dialling duties. There's a trend in Bluetooth headset design towards the small and unobtrusive, as many users struggle to wear larger headsets due to either sheer size or public embarrassment.

The Jawbone charges either via USB or AC power, but it's not quite as simple as having a straight USB connection. There's a custom plug on the end of the Jawbone Prime's AC adapter and USB cable, which is a minor annoyance. Lose both, and you'll have no way to easily charge your headset.

Features

Funky colours and two-button interfaces aside, the major selling point for the Jawbone Prime is what AliphCom calls its "NoiseAssassin" technology. This is a voice filtering feature that picks up on the pitch and tone of the user's voice, analyses it against all other noise sources and then filters the outgoing signal down to just the user's voice. AliphCom claims that NoiseAssasin is military-grade technology in a consumer product. Part of how it works is via a small button that rests on the opposite side of the headset. It's designed to rest against your cheek when the Jawbone Prime is worn and detect when you're speaking based on the movement of your skin. When you talk, it starts its noise filtering to make sure you're clearly heard on the other end with all other extraneous noise washed out of the signal.

Performance

The Jawbone Prime was very comfortable to wear in our tests. AliphCom supplies six different ear bud sizes and an optional ear loop, so aside from very small children, we can't think of anyone that it wouldn't fit. Pairing with multiple phones was very simple, and from there we got to testing AliphCom's rather impressive-sounding claims regarding the Jawbone's noise-cancelling qualities.

Our test set-up involved a number of phone calls, in order to eliminate the possibility of network problems introducing additional interference. We used a Core i7 iMac at full volume playing heavy rock tunes right next to the subject wearing the Jawbone, and called in, expecting to be able to maybe just hear the conversation, but mostly a lot of guitar thrashing.

What we got was really quite astounding, as it was hard to even tell there was background music at all when the subject was talking on every single call. Certainly for mobile phone conversations, it was crisp and clear and we had no trouble maintaining one end of the conversation. Colour us highly impressed.

There is an obvious flip side to the immensely impressive noise-cancelling properties of the Jawbone Prime, and that's that it does nothing whatsoever in terms of noise cancellation on the user end. People you're talking to will get your voice in wonderful clarity in almost any situation, but you'll still have the same noise around you. In our test environment with the volume up full whack we could barely hear ourselves think, and it was a little tough hearing the other person on the end of the line sometimes. It's a problem that's a little exacerbated by the Jawbone Prime's odd two-button arrangement, which doesn't let you move up and down volume levels, instead just giving you preset volumes to cycle through.

With an asking price of AU$159, the Jawbone Prime is a premium priced Bluetooth headset, but having tested its noise cancellation properties, we'd say it's money very well spent indeed.



Add Your Review 5


* Below fields optional


Post comment as
 

ryank1w1 posted a comment   
Australia

The Good:Noise cancellation for the person you are talking 2 sounds like you are in an office.

The Bad:bad ear fitting at times I've tried many other buds and broken many loops. speaker quality is my biggest prob as my work environment is a little noisy and if the yell it distorts.

if sound quality for the user was better it would be just what I needed the new Icon by jawbone fixes the stupid charger you get. but reviews tell me that the sound quality will still leave me not being able to make out the conversation at my end in my work environment. My concern is not size or look but possibly battery life which is reasonibly good on all headsets now anyhow. I need louder clearer incoming sound. Thanks Ryan

 

Rat posted a comment   

Does not fit into ear very well,if trying to push back into ear you end up disconecting call. Very loose fitting so a waste of time.

 

Machut posted a comment   

I rush for it believing on what has been said, but i found it hard to use when driving as it kept falling down, can't fit it to my ear too big for it, sound is high but can't be control as it will end ur call... parts easy to break ... i used cheaper modles bfore and they were much better ... i regrade paying lots of money for this useless device.

 

chi.soundone posted a comment   

I was a jawbone fan and have purchased the famed ear piece, only to find jawbone does not offer or carry replacement parts over a period of time......why spend hundreds of dollars and you can't get parts or those parts break at the drop of a hat......when I last contacted jawbone they want me to purchase a new head piece because they didn't stock ear fittings......very much not in favor of this type of service.........!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

alinepfalp posted a comment   
Australia

The sound is amazing but I found a little bit difficult to use it.
And about the price I've always compare it on Shopping.com Australia http://au.shopping.com/




Sponsored Links
CNET's latest

User Reviews / Comments  Jawbone Prime

  • ryank1w1

    ryank1w1

    "if sound quality for the user was better it would be just what I needed the new Icon by jawbone fixes the stupid charger you get. but reviews tell me that the sound quality will still leave me not ..."

  • Rat

    Rat

    "Does not fit into ear very well,if trying to push back into ear you end up disconecting call. Very loose fitting so a waste of time."

  • Machut

    Machut

    "I rush for it believing on what has been said, but i found it hard to use when driving as it kept falling down, can't fit it to my ear too big for it, sound is high but can't be control as it will ..."

CNET Speedtest

Recently Viewed Products