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Review of Jawbone Icon HD + The Nerd

In the box:

  • Headset
  • Tips
  • Loop
  • Adaptor
  • USB cable
  • User Guide

To my mind the Icon model is one of the best in the Jawbone portfolio. It was a revolutionary solution in its heyday as it pioneered several key features. I think there is no point in repeating everything again, so read the original Icon review, which contains all the necessary information.

Review of Jawbone Icon Bluetooth-headset

This year Icon received a logical upgrade labelled Icon HD and I was happy to review the kit also containing The Nerd adaptor. The majority of people can easily connect a headset to the laptop and use Skype, listen to the music or podcasts, but some may benefit from the dedicated adaptor to connect more securely without dealing with settings, Bluetooth profiles, etc. I definitely support such an approach, so let's see how it works.

Design and Construction

I think you remember that Icon was released in several versions with special design for each. They had different color, surface and even sound. Icon HD as a new product was also restyled. I liked the appearance even from photos, but in real life the handset looks even better. The color is between black and dark grey. The front panel is ribbed, while the back side is finished in glossy plastic. The adaptor looks similar to the headset, so all elements of the kit share the same exterior. I think the designers of the bundle targeted consumers, who do not like bright colors, but prefer understatement. In other words Icon HD + The Nerd produce an impression akin to BlackBerry 9900. It seems like a business device, but the combination of metal and polycarbonate plastic will suffice both worlds of work and entertainment. The box is perfect, where everything has its place and I don't feel like getting rid of it. Well done!

The dimensions and weight stayed the same. It still fits any ear well and can be carried equally comfortably with or without the loop. Besides it is inconspicuous under the head covering.

The Nerd

Jawbone often chooses “loud” names for its products: Icon, Era, Jambox, Up. Similarly, this tiny USB adaptor was christened The Nerd. It should do the job well without any showy emotion. Anyway,The Nerd is tiny and its appearance reflects that of the headset. USB jack is covered by a transparent plastic cap. At the top we get a solitary button, which must be pressed to couple the adaptor with the headset. It takes split seconds and the automatic connection works perfectly well. I tested it with MacBook Pro.There is also a light indicator, which looks nice and copies the design of Icon yet again.

I would like to add one more comment. In sound settings of Mac OS you have to choose Jawbone NERD. During the connection the sound does not go to the speakers. You have to fix it in the settings or eject the adaptor. The headset handles Skype with ease. At the same time you can connect it to a phone. Multipoint is above any criticism.

Operation Time

As before we can rely on 4.5 hours of talktime. Luckily in the box we have a network adaptor and you can use a short USB cable, which remembers the way you tweak it. Operation time is a weak point of the gadget and nothing can be done. If you connect the headset to iPhone the screen will show the battery indicator.

Why HD?

A proprietary Noise Assasin 2.5 technology is used. Watch the video below to see how it works. In real life the effect is not that visible, but Icon HD can effectively counteract ambient noise, which is handy.

New firmware add features to the original Icon: A2DP and voice apps. MyTalk update service is impeccable. In principle it is a computer utility and Jawbone online service. The browser shows a connected device, you can download another voice or audioapp, set up a device. For example, it is possible to assign your own name, activate/deactivate A2DP or customize multifunction key. This way you can start or disable Noise Assasin aka noise suppression. Owners of Blackberry will benefit from a special app indicating the headset battery level. You can find it here. Voice controls are also available in the style of old arcade games and robots. Good job!

Now let's discuss why this model is called HD. US and European carriers offer HD-voice service, which is an enhanced speech transmission. I will ask Sergey Potresov to write a separate article on that. Icon HD has an advanced speaker to handle this feature. It is nice to hear an interlocutor as if he/she is near you. In any way Icon HD is one of the best headsets on the market and I can easily recommend it for purchase.


The bundle costs around $210. For this amount we get the same Icon with new design, same old outstanding features: various settings and high reproduction quality. The Nerd is perfect for fast connection to a laptop, which is a big advantage for some. I am glad that Aliph decided to please lazy users, who don't want to bother with settings. It's a pity that in software we do not have many updates. Some features of Era like reading contact names could have been added. Despite this Icon HD is still an unrivalled bestseller.

Do you want to talk about this? Please, go to our Forum and let your opinion be known to the author and everybody else.

Sergei Kuzmin (skuzmin@mobile-review.com)
Twitter    Livejournal
Translated by Robert Mugattarov (mugattarov@gmail.com)

Published — 02 December 2011

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