The Jawbone Bluetooth headset from San Francisco-based Aliph has been with us in one form or another since 2006. Early models were designed by Yves Behar of Fuseproject and were included in an industrial design exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Later models have become shorter and wider, up to the Jawbone ICON range, which are 1.73 inches long, .7 inches wide and .98 inches high. The Jawbone ERA reverses that trend slightly coming in at 2.02 by .57 by .95 inches, and it also weighs in a little heavier at .36 ounces compared to the Icon's .28 ounces. The Jawbone ICON is available in standard, HD and HD The Nerd (which connects to a desktop PC via wireless USB adapter) models. The newest model is the Jawbone ERA.
All Jawbone headsets are Bluetooth-enabled and include NoiseAssassin technology. This noise-cancelling technology was developed under contract to the U.S. Department of Defense for use by combat soldiers in the most trying conditions. The headsets sit flat to the jawbone, giving them their name. Sensors in the headset monitor the skin for movement, indicating speech and activating background noise-cancelling algorithms.
Aliph is not shy when it comes to other technology, either. All the new models have HD sound and can be updated and customized with apps via their MyTalk online platform. Apps for iPhoneR, BlackberryR and AndroidR phones will let you see from your phone how much battery life remains in your headset, or you can tap the headset and it will tell you. It also whispers in your ear when it needs recharging. The designs are understated yet beautiful, and the headsets come in recyclable packaging, which the company says it has reduced by more than 50 percent from previous years.
The Jawbone ERA introduces motion-sensor control, thanks to its accelerometer. This means you can pair the headset with your phone or other device by shaking it, and you can answer calls by tapping the headset.
The Jawbone headsets don't have many drawbacks. They are lightweight, sleek and live up to the manufacturer's claims. About the only thing that lets them down even a little is the earbuds and loops that come with them. Although it's nice to be able to customize the headset to get a good fit, it can take a while to get on your ear and seated properly even after you've customized it. Also, the earbuds and loops can be a bit brittle and are prone to break. Don't let that put you off though, since replacements are available cheaply enough.