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JayBird JB-200 Bluetooth Stereo Headset Review

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Ironically, Bluetooth has been around for nearly 15 years; However, for most of this time, this technology was dormant. Thus, leading some experts in the technology field wondering whether Bluetooth would become what BETA players and its technology had become with the advent of VHS technology during the 1980’s —- Extinct (VHS had won out over BETA).

However, with-in the last few years, technology and electronic manufacturers have found resounding uses for Bluetooth. Almost everyone is using a Bluetooth headphone these days with a Bluetooth enabled cellphone, computer, and most recently mp3 players.  We have seen Bluetooth spawn from version 1.0 to it’s current inception (version 2.0). Thus, what this has meant to consumers has been a robust version of gadgets! No where is this more notable than with Bluetooth headsets.

We’ve seen varying degrees of shapes and sizes of Bluetooth headsets, but none has been as bold as JayBird’s two-piece Stereo Headset ($120). Dubbed the The JayBird Bluetooth Stereo Headset (JB200), these stereo headphones also work with Bluetooth enabled cellphones, the iPod as well as other mp3 players. Our JB200 unit included a USB cable and AC power adapter, a Bluetooth adpater for the iPod (nice touch!!), a carrying case with extra earbuds and an optional plug-in Bluetooth adapter for non-iPod players as well as a very user friendly JB 200 user manual (it would have been nice to throw in an electronic version of the user manual). For this review, I used my iPod Touch and my Blackberry 8300 Edge.

The JB200 weighs slightly less than two ounces, has Bluetooth 2.0 (A2DP Hands free & Headset), has a wireless range of 10 meters (33 feet) with a frequency band of 2.4Ghz, can be charged via PC USB or AC Adapter, has an estimated battery life of 6.5 hours of Talk-time, 110 hours of Standby time, and 5.5 hours of music playing time. Additionally, the earphones have an audio quality of 16-bit stereo (CD quality) with a headphone output of 15mW RIMS as well as integrated controls for call management, answer call and volume controls as well as an integrated AVRCP music controls: Play, pause and previous track.

Weighing less than one ounce, the base of the JB 200 is constructed from sturdy plastic and the stem leading up to the ear-buds are made of flexible rubber. A slightly thin but tangle free wire runs from one end of the base of the JB200 ear piece to the other ear piece.  Putting on the JB 200 was straight forward (although, I would strongly suggest you have a gander at the pictorial example in the users manual to gain a working visual on how to orient the headsets on your head).

Fully charging the unit took about two hours, and I was impressed that the JB200 had 3 operation buttons that are located on the right ear piece and are situated on top of the ear-piece (from top to bottom: the Volume Up\Next Track, Volume Down\Previous Track and the Power\Talk\Play\Pause buttons as well as the Bluetooth & Battery Status Indicator button are cleverly placed. However, if one has large fingers the operation of the buttons may present some challenges as it did for me.

Powering on the device was quick and efficient, and two beeps indicated that the unit was on and ready for use, and one long beep indicates that the unit has been shut off. A nice feature is the power-on/off light indicator that glows a quick blue when it’s on, and then a solid red when it’s being powered off. Kudos for JayBird for taking the guess work out of such a mundane operation which has been convoluted by other Bluetooth Headsets!Additionally, The folks at JayBird have clearly marketed this device for the everyday person as well as for the work out enthusiast. As a matter of fact, JayBird guarantees this unit for life “Against Sweat”.

I was impressed with the JB200 right out of the box; I liked that it was very light-weight and came with an iPod Bluetooth adapter that works with the 1st generation iPod Nano (1GB, 2GB, 4GB), 2nd (aluminum) and 3 generation iPod Nano, iPod Classic, 5th Generation iPod 60GB and 80GB, and the iPod touch (8GB, and 16GB). There’s an optional non-iPod mp3 Bluetooth adapter that goes for $30.

Pairing up the JB200 with my Blackberry Edge was a very quick and easy process that required me to enter the four digit pass code (I’ll give you a hint: It’s usually the default pass code used for most Bluetooth devices). However, when all else fails, refer to the owners manual for the code. The quality of incoming and out-going calls are pretty good, and if your cellphone is equipped with an mp3 player and you happen to be listening to music when a call comes through, then your music is paused while you’re on a call, then goes back to playing your music once you have ended your call. I chose to answer my calls using the power/talk button located on the JB200, and each call was crisp and I could hear clearly and the microphone on the JB200 responded with nary an echo.

Equally pleasing was the Bluetooth iPod adapter; Simply plug in the adapter, turn on the JB200 and let the fun begin! The Bluetooth adapter gets its power from the iPod. Hence, there’s no additional drain on the iPod battery other than the normal battery drain that is associated with playing various media on the iPod or an mp3 player.  Operating the functionality buttons on the JB200 were fairly easy.

However, even after I became familiar with the buttons, my fingers missed and slid clumsily across the buttons, and I found myself using one hand to hold the unit onto my ear, while I operated the unit with my other hand.

Suffice it to say, if one has fairly large digits, then operating the buttons on this unit will present some slight difficulties. Nonetheless, the head phones provided a rather robust and environmentally sounding experience. Turning up the JB200 to full volume resulted in a distortion free event; It appears that the folks at JayBird have limited the device to go full blast without one encountering a massive ear bleed! I could still hear most back ground noise (and when you’re out and about, that’s what you really want). The ear buds were light and wispy on my ears, and after five hours of listening to music, I didn’t even notice that I was wearing them! Kudos again for JayBird for a job well done!

Ultimately, if you’re looking for a Bluetooth headset that provides stellar performance and quality at a rather affordable price-point, then the JayBird JB200 would make a nice replacement to your current Bluetooth headsets or even a gift! I can see JayBird expanding their customer and fan base with the JB200. Also, I think the sky is the limit if JayBird offers the JB200 in more trend setting colors. Aqua Blue, anyone?

Conclusion:

The Good:
iPod adapter included, light weight, dead on playback, standby, music, talk and charge times.
Affordable, great stereo sound, comes with different sizes of ear buds, great design (although,
the functionality buttons could be a bit sturdier, but this is not a deal breaker), full fledge owners
manual,  and is easy to use.

The Bad:
Make available in more vibrant and funky colors and include an electronic version of owners
manual.