Ears-on Review of the Jabra STONE Bluetooth
There are so many different bluetooth earpieces out there now that it becomes difficult to differentiate one from another. It’s certainly hard to stand out of the crowd when you are manufacturing a brand new bluetooth. That’s why Jabra decided to design a new style of bluetooth that would catch everyone off guard, and market the heck outta the thing.
As it turns out, Jabra was quite successful in doing this. After launching an aggressive marketing campaign involving a mysterious “stone” (and quite literally, I received an envelope in the mail from Jabra with an ACTUAL STONE inside as a way of generating interest and curiosity) the mystique behind the bluetooth headset gave it all the buzz Jabra ever needed. Nobody knew anything about it, and nobody knew what it even looked like. What did it have to do with an actual stone, after all?
The Stone has finally been released, and the mystique is now gone. But we have in its place a gorgeous bluetooth headset, its design definitely a cut above the rest. Here’s how it fares.
Design of the Jabra STONE
The Stone name comes from the docking port the headset snaps into whenever it needs to be charged; when headset and dock are put together it looks incredibly reminiscient of a pebble that you might be tempted to try throwing in the pond to see how many times it skips (Disclaimer: do not throw your Jabra Stone into the water). The headset itself is curved in such a way that offers a great ergonomic feel when placed into your ear, and looks beautiful at the same time. There’s just one problem though: due to the way the headset is curved and angled, it can only fit in the right ear. There’s no way it could possibly logically fit into your left ear, which could be a hassle if you prefer having earbuds in your left ear as I do.
Since there is no boom to pick up your voice, the device itself becomes quite small and light (.25 oz) and less awkward to wear.
The stone docking port uses a MicroUSB port which comes in handy. The dock is meant to hold enough juice for up to 3 charges on the headset, as it can hold a charge of up to 6 hours talk time. This sounds great, but sadly the headset’s battery doesn’t last long. We will get into that later.
A handy addition to the Stone is a little belt clip accessory that comes with it, which is flexible and allows you to hook it to not just your belt but your coat and a plethora of other surfaces as well.
Features of the Jabra STONE
The Stone uses a combination of both physical buttons and touch-sensitive ones. The physical button present on the Stone is right next to the earbud on the front of the device, where the Jabra logo is located. It’s easy enough to use, and very similar to many other bluetooth devices: quick tap answers and ends the call, holding it down will power the device on or off, and two clicks in a row will perform a redial. The rest of the front is touch-sensitive in which sliding your finger up and down will change the device’s volume. This in my opinion is the most difficult part to get used to on the Stone, as there is a little bit of a trick to your finger sliding. You have to start and end at just the right areas on the Stone’s front.
It is capable of A2DP, which means the Stone will allow you to listen to music. There is also support for voice dialing as long as your phone has the capability.
Another feature that is useful but by no means unique anymore is the device’s ability to connect to multiple devices at once.
Noise cancellation is of course a priority with the Stone, which includes Jabra’s very own Noise Blackout Extreme DSP technology. Not that it’s really that much different than the device’s equals at Motorola (Crystal Talk) or any other competitor; the technology consists of using two microphones in which one processes the background noise and dismisses it, while the other mic actually picks up your voice. This helps cancel out wind, traffic, lots of other people, and any other major distraction to the person you’re talking to (besides yourself, of course).
Also, one neat feature of the Stone is that whenever you take the headset out of the charging port, the device assumes you are ready to use it again and automatically connects with your phone. You can always tell by the two LED indicators on the back of the headset, one green/red for battery life, and the other is blue to indicate it’s connected to a phone.
My Experience with the Jabra Stone
I have to admit, I had my struggles with the Stone when I first got it. The first few times I used it, phone calls came out crackly and the device would not charge in the charger port or automatically connect with my iPhone when I took the Stone out of the charger port, like it was supposed to. It was really concerning me that this could be a problem with other users.
After talking with the Jabra rep, however, it was determined that this wasn’t a known issue with any other devices. So I worked through it and after a little while the kinks sort of worked themselves out somehow. Now when I use my Stone it automatically connects without a problem and there is no remnant of crackly calls. The audio is also quite decent as I have listened to games and music on it while working. No problem.
Sadly the rumors are indeed true about the battery life. I was able to get just a little more than 2 hours of talk time, and 1 hour of music playback. Since I’m not a huge talker, though, the Stone would actually last me for about half the day before needing a recharge.
My absolute favorite thing about the Stone was the comfort level. I didn’t feel like the headset was going to burn a hole through my ear after the first hour of wearing it. It is perfectly comfortable for most normal phone conversations lasting 1-2 hours.
So here’s my overall take on the Stone now that I’ve had a few weeks to try it: the Stone is one of the most, if not the most, beautiful headset I’ve ever used. It has wonderful style and very elegant look to it. It’s also a great headset to wear for comfort and audio quality, just not for long talking.
While it’s true you have the charging stone that lets you recharge up to 3 times before needing to plug it in, each recharge still takes around an hour to complete. Not great for a battery lasting 2 hours. Without that hiccup, it’s certainly a bluetooth headset worth looking into.
Do keep in mind, however, that it does cost a pretty penny at $129.99.