Jabra HALO Bluetooth Headphones

imageBluetooth headphones have been around for a long time, and there are lots of choices. Yet, until a couple of weeks ago, I’ve never bought any Bluetooth headphones. This despite that fact that my wife thinks I’ve cornered the world market on Bluetooth headsets and speakerphones. Indeed, as I reported in Gadget Overflow, recently I purchased the Motorola Endeavor HX1 and BlueAnt Q1 headsets, and the BlackBerry Visor Mount Speakerphone VM-605 to keep my BlueAnt Supertooth 3 company.

But I’ll write about those Bluetooth headsets and speakerphones later. This article is about Bluetooth headphones, specifically the Jabra HALO Bluetooth Headphones. The HALO has been reviewed lately by SlashGear and WmExperts. Those reviews contain plenty of pictures and expert commentary. Nevertheless, I thought I might provide a different perspective as a user instead of a reviewer.

Why Purchase Bluetooth Headphones?

I hadn’t purchased Bluetooth headphones before because my Bluetooth headsets and speakerphones satisfied my needs. This was true, as long as those needs were limited to talking on my cell phone, mostly in my car.

But lately I’ve been listening to podcasts. And since I purchased my Zune HD, I’ve also been listening to music.

The quality of sound is more of a consideration with music, and to some extent podcasts, than it is with talking on my cell phone. A speakerphone provides sufficient quality for a cell phone call, but falls short when it comes to music, and even podcasts.

A speakerphone also isn’t private. I may want to listen to music or podcasts during a lunch hour with other people around.

An in-ear headset is private. However, an in ear headset isn’t as comfortable as headphones. Also, I hear the sound only through one ear with a headset, as opposed to both ears with headphones.

Why Purchase the HALO?

The HALO isn’t cheap; $129.99. Yet I purchased these headphones for several reasons.

  • Jabra generally produces excellent and comfortable Bluetooth devices.
  • The HALO folds, making it easily transportable.
  • The Halo does double duty since it includes an adapter permitting a wired 3.5mm connection to non-Bluetooth devices, such as my Zune HD.

So I trotted down to my local Beast Best Buy, which apparently has an exclusive on the HALO. I laid down my cash, and brought the HALO home.

Problem

The HALO wouldn’t charge. I won’t bore you with the details. A Google search quickly confirmed that I wasn’t alone in my misery. Apparently Jabra has had quality control issues with at least the first batch of HALOs.

I trotted back down to my local Best Buy. They were very good about exchanging my defective unit with one that did work. This was consistent with my past experience with Best Buy. Notwithstanding its name, its prices usually aren’t the cheapest. But its customer service is quite good, and its sales staff relatively knowledgeable and helpful.

Impressions

The HALO lived up to my expectations. It’s very portable since it folds. And I can use it wired to non-Bluetooth devices. The sound quality is fine. It’s reasonably simple to operate.

However, I have two concerns.

First, the unit doesn’t feel very sturdy. Indeed, folding and unfolding makes a sound that leaves me concerned about the life of the hinges. Nothing has broken, yet anyway. Still, a bit disconcerting, especially after paying $129.99 and the QC issues I had with my initial purchase.

Second, Jabra could have done a better job with the fit and material of the headphones. The fit is more or less on the ear, as opposed to covering the ear, forming a seal. I guess that’s a matter of preference. The material has somewhat of a foam rubber feel, as opposed to the material used for Bose headphones.

Still, I’m not displeased with my purchase. The HALO fits my usage scenario. It is portable. It also is flexible since it can be used with non-Bluetooth devices.

If your usage scenario is more sedentary, such as just using them at home with Bluetooth devices, then there may be better choices. As often true with device choices, it depends on your usage scenario.

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