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Review of Jabra Halo 2 Bluetooth Headset
In the box:
An updated Halo 2 is not much different from its predecessor: some defects are still there, while changes are not dramatic. I have mentioned my opinion of the product a long time ago. Unfortunately, my position was based on testing the prototype, but the commercial models are different. I mean changes are not numerous enough. Anyway, read the first part of the review.
Design and Construction
It's a pity, but the inside is the same: no leather and instead we have some velvet like material, which gathers dust fast. As far as I can judge, the active use of the headset leads to wearing out and the plastic base becomes visible. They could have used genuine or artificial leather for this relatively upscale headset. The construction was not altered too: weak plastic joints could have benefited from metal, but it did not happen. You often feel like breaking the headset, especially when you close it down. On the outside there is velvet plastic and the headset is almost entirely black with silver inserts. The original Halo had a dark grey body, which looked more impressive. The dimensions stay unchanged and both Halo models are at the top of the league in terms of convenience of use and dimensions. They are clearly inconspicuous. As I said Halo was my first “closed” headset to carry in the street without feeling stupid. It is also handy in the office without breaking into other people's personal space.
The package is standard and in the box you get an audio cable to connect to the player or the phone without Bluetooth. The cable goes into microUSB at the bottom of the right “earphone”. It will be difficult to find a similar cable on sale, so try not to lose it. I tried to connect the headset to iPhone 4S via cable and the sound quality was decent. You can adjust every “earphone” to close down Halo and put it into a pocket.
At the back of the right earphone are located light indicators. It's cool they were not at the front. All controls are centred around the right side: multifunctional key and a sensor volume controls. How to turn the headset on? Just open it up for the right earphone to be in place and the indicator signals the start of operation. Press and hold the multifunctional key until the Bluetooth indicator starts blinking and you are good to go. The volume sensor is not convenient. You have to adjust quite often while listening to music, but often the touching can be erroneous. The manufacturer wanted to save space and not to disrupt the style of the model, so I will not be too critical. The multifunctional key is convenient and is used to answer/end calls, activate Play/Pause modes and basic features, for example, calling the last number. What about moving to the next or previous track? Tap the “-” or “+” symbol twice and you are done. The sensor is also responsible for rewinding. Fast forward option did not work with the phones I tested.
The manufacturer claims up to 8 hours of talktime and 6 hours of music playback as the battery is a weak link in this model. On the other hand I am ready to forgive this headset everything. You can use the charger or USB cable, which is less attractive. The charging time is around two hours. The indicator blinks red and it is better to put the headset down while charging.
The location of the jack is different now and several users of Halo found that the charging often stops, probably due to the loose contacts in the jack. Some try to fix it independently, but I would advise to go to the service centre and ask for a new one. This Jabra has a defect, which is not new. My friend purchased his first Halo and one earphone did not work, but luckily he checked it before buying. I suggest you to do the same. When working with iPhone you see the battery icon on the screen, which is good.
Here we get a proprietary Noise Blackout technology, i.e. two microphones polish your voice and transfer it to your interlocutor. It works well and Halo 2 can allow for convenient use in mildly noisy environment, so the model is one of the best in this respect. It is indeed cool to chat through Halo 2. Basic features work well and operation distance is around seven meters, which I tested in the apartment. If you connect it with the cable only the headphones function will be available. It ca be connected to a couple of phones at a time. I tested it with Blackberry 9810 and Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray.
The model features what Jabra calls AM3D Virtual Surround Sound 2.0 & Power Bass. I think the volume is not that impressive and I would like to have some more capacity in the tank. It applies to the Bluetooth connection, but the same happened with the cable connection too. On some track the headset yield a bit of squeaking, but the sound is intense and juicy for a Bluetooth headset. Will it be enough for you to buy it? To my mind for $150 it is one of the best Bluetooth headsets and it offers an appropriate sound. At the same time detailing is not deep enough, which cannot be hidden under any base or surround effect. Not a single company managed to improve the sound of stereo Bluetooth headset. You are free to enjoy life without wires, but any old cable headset from Apple will give me better sound. The market segment is not moving anywhere and if you tested four years ago, let's say, Sony Ericsson DS-970 and did not like the sound you will not feel the difference now. There are some exceptions and Halo 2 is clearly on the list, but I am not sure it is worth paying money for these experiments.
Let's start with advantages:
On the down side we have:
I would like to remind that among other Bluetooth solutions Jabra Halo 2 looks good and will be a good buy. On the other hand why the company failed to get the feedback on the previous model and fix everything possible. Why we see the same cheap material and weak joints. The jack stayed the same and several more buttons could have been added for better playback control. If it is cold outside you would better wear Halo under the cap. I can easily recommend the model, but I am not happy with the “work” of Jabra. The name Halo 2 is misplaced as Halo V0.1 would have been more appropriate alongside with a dark grey color.
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Published — 08 January 2012
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