Jawbone Communication 

Hands-free mobile communication is becoming a more popular judging by the number of people who appear to be talking to themselves as I walk past. Sometimes I feel tempted to join in the conversation.

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While you may consider a jawbone to be part of your skull, Aliph, a market leader in noise cancelling Bluetooth headsets, prefers to regard the Jawbone (note the capital letter) as “earwear”.  In other words the Jawbone is an ear-piece style headset for hands-free communication when linked to an appropriate Bluetooth-aware device.  Aliph has now upgraded the original product with its replacement being entitled, not surprisingly, Jawbone 2.  This new version combines a 50% size reduction (now measuring 62 x 14 x 22mm) with breakthrough noise elimination technology to increase its user appeal.

With this latest model of the Jawbone device you get Noise Assassin technology.  This has been developed from patented military technology created by Aliph for the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).  This technology was designed to work in various conditions including those considered extreme.  Working in conjunction with two independent microphones and the unit’s voice activity sensor, Noise Assassin’s task is to filter out unwanted background noise from the main audio communication stream.

Constructed of medical grade plastic, the Jawbone 2 retains the curved shape of the original model.  This is necessary so that the device can rest alongside your face with its voice activating sensor touching the jaw – a feature which gives the product its name.  In order to facilitate fitting the Jawbone 2 to a range of different types and sizes of face, Aliph includes a choice of three earbuds (small, medium and large) plus four ear loops.  Two of the ear loops have leather covering while the other two do not thus making them more suitable for those who wear spectacles.

click image to enlarge

The Jawbone 2 has its own internal, rechargeable battery.   Due to the size reduction of the Jawbone 2, this battery is not as powerful as that found in the original model.  Talk time has been reduced from 6 hours down to 4 hours although standby time has increased from 120 hours up to over 8 days.  Charging the Jawbone 2 is carried out via USB.  A special USB, with a magnetic dock at one end, is provided for this purpose.  This dock holds the Jawbone 2 in place while drawing power from a computer or the mains using the supplied three-pin plug.  The initial charge of the battery takes approximately 50 minutes with a red light indicating when the process is in operation.

Continuing the trend set by the original product, the Jawbone 2’s controls are concealed within the body of the device.  This does take a little getting use to as your fingers search for the appropriate pressure points for the Talk and Noise Assassin buttons.  The task of selecting these controls is not made any easier when you are fiddling around your ear which is definitely classified as a blind spot.  Generally I found the Noise Assassin button easier to locate as it was positioned at the end holding the ear loop.

When paired with a Sony Ericsson W980 handset, the Jawbone 2 performed without any problems with a range of between 10 and 12 feet producing clear incoming and outgoing voice quality.  Supporting Bluetooth 1.1, 1.2, and 2.0, the Jawbone 2 is available in Black, Silver and Rose Gold.  Priced at the same level as the original model, the Jawbone 2 costs £79.99 and is available from various establishments such as Carphone Warehouse and Apple Stores.

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Comment by dsi r4, 13 Nov 2009 6:22

I just purchased my Jawbone 2 yesterday and I'm struggling with incoming call quality. It lacks bass range and sounds tinny. I appreciate the technology to make my voice more clear to people I'm speaking with, but equally as important to me to be able to hear what they are saying.

r4 dsi

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