Bluetooth Heaven: Aliph Jawbone

Allow me to introduce you to the fanciest Bluetooth headset currently available, the Jawbone from Aliph. I’ve been hearing about the device for some months, but it wasn’t until CES that I actually encountered one. So is it everything it’s been cracked up to be?

In short, yes. The Jawbone is the best Bluetooth headset on the market. Combining advanced noise-cancellation technology, attractive aesthetic, a variety of fit options and an affordable price point, the Jawbone is the most versatile competitor amongst the crowded pool of Bluetooth headsets

Fitting the headset to your ear is a simple task. The package includes four ear pieces—a large and small for right and left—and assorted earbuds. It only took me a few minutes to find a combination to fit my giant ears comfortably. Bonus points goto Aliph for including a fit set.

Using noise shield technology, the Jawbone is capable of canceling out, or significantly reducing ambient noises. It enables you to converse in environments that might not typically be hospitable to conversation. Combining innovative acoustics and audio processing, the technology permits for you to hear the person you’re speaking to and for the person you’re speaking to to hear you.

Its proprietary voice activity sensor accurately identifies when you’re speaking to modulate your voice against background sounds. I had a lot of success with this, trying it in a variety of environments. The best example of the device’s communication prowess is in crowds. I typically have a lot of trouble discerning phone calls when I’m in crowded places. With its dynamic volume and frequency adjustments, Jawbone virtually eliminated that problem for me and allowed me to converse freely wherever I was at. The system achieves this by monitoring and adjusting to interfering background noises.

It also allows the person on the other end to better hear you. Using multi-directional microphones, the device processes your speech and removes background interference from your outgoing speech signal.

There are problems, however. With its gridded face and three stylish colors, Jawbone is an aesthetically pleasing device. The problem is that it’s sort of clunky.

I don’t use Bluetooth headsets on a regular basis because I find having something hanging from the side of my head awkward and restrictive. Given the somewhat larger mass of this particular headset, I found it a bit more awkward than most. This is completely a personal issue though and I can’t hold it against the device too much. I know that it won’t be a problem for plenty of people, particularly those who are used to using Bluetooth headsets.

All-in-all though, I think Jawbone is an impressive device worthy of merit. At $119 it is priced well within range of its competitors. Considering the advanced nature of the unit and its impressive noise-cancellation features, I believe its expanded girth can be overlooked in favor of its definite utility. If you’re in the market for a Bluetooth headset, I suggest you look no further than Jawbone.