One-minute review: Jawbone 2 headset

A new Bluetooth is supposed to cancel noise, but all that's canceled is the conversation you want to hear.

Published August 1, 2008 5:20PM (EDT)


As a pathological multitasker I generally speak on the phone only when I can do something else at the same time, like walk the dog, shell fava beans or bike to the beach. Of course, I'm wearing a Bluetooth headset during these activities, which means trading hands-free freedom for not always coming through loud and clear on the other end of the line.

I owned Aliph's original Jawbone (before losing it to an incident with the washer-dryer), and it did an excellent job of canceling background noise like wind and traffic. So I was enthused when the company sent me the new Jawbone 2 ($130) -- sexily smaller, lighter and armed with a more comfortable leather-wrapped ear loop.

That's the good news. And that's all of it. The rest is bad: The much-ballyhooed NoiseAssassin technology that worked so well on the original is, in my real-life test, brain-dead on the sequel. Fiddling to adjust the headset to ensure the sensor maintained contact with my cheek made no difference, and half the time I inadvertently hung up by accidentally pressing the headset's single-piece outer shell that covers two buttons underneath.

My test included mildly windy walks on the boardwalk and bike rides in light traffic, and in all cases friends on the other end said the sound quality was atrocious.

As I wrap it up as a guest blogger, I'd like to ask a favor: Recommendations for the best Bluetooth headset that's loud, clear and cancels background noise so callers can hear me without constantly asking, "What did you say?"

What do you say?

By Joe Hutsko

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