Jawbone ICON HD + THE NERD – Bluetooth Headset
When you look for a bluetooth headset, you may not be looking simply for good features, but ones that may be unique, even advanced. Perhaps Aliph had this in mind when they released the Icon HD, another Jawbone (its brother Era is already on the list), with a small USB drive called the “nerd” which can allow it to connect to almost any PC or Mac. They also gave the Icon HD sensors and apps of its own. Do they make the Icon HD innovative enough. Here’s the review.
Design and Comfort
Innovation does not mean the Icon HD lacks good design – in fact, it’s design is better than that of the Era. The front is two-paneled and textured. The on/off button is between the voice sensor and the ear tip, while the rear edge holds the talk button. The device is quite light, at just 0.3 ounces. Seven sets of ear tips are provided with this, three in-ear and four with a hook. Once the right fit is found, it’s a pleasure to wear this small headset.
The Nerd, or the USB device that comes with it, is equally stylish, though it’s a bit too small for comfort.
Performance and Battery
True to its name, this Jawbone gives great call quality and transmission. Like the Era, it pours in bass, ensuring rich and textured sound output. The volume is equally sufficient, and will not be an issue either indoors or outdoors.
Apart from some wind noise, there was little to complain about during the review test call. In fact, with a 25% larger earpiece than the original Icon, the Icon HD ensures greater clarity, volume and of course, noise cancellation. Though there may be slightly better bluetooth headsets in the market, the Jawbone Icon HD definitely figures among the top ones.
Transmission is like the Era, flawless. Distances of up to thirty five meters could be easily serviced by the headset during review, for both calls and music. There’s nothing to complain about audio quality either; the Icon in fact gives a more natural sound than the Plantronics Voyager Pro+ or Era.
The Nerd, however, is the real USP of this device. Basically it is a small (very small) USB device that can be inserted into any PC or Mac, for instant audio streaming. At first this may seem redundant – after all there are bluetooth transmitters available easily, and many laptops and tablets have Bluetooth. Well, many of them don’t too.
But what’s best about the Nerd is that it doesn’t need complicated drivers or an unwieldy user interface (like that in Windows) to operate. It simply needs to be plugged in, and a button on it pressed down for 3 seconds. This puts the Nerd in pairing mode. The Icon now needs to be turned on while holding the talk button, and they will automatically pair. After this you can stream music or whatever you like to the Icon. In our review, this method worked well for both PC and the Macbook Pro.
The Jawbone Icon HD also runs apps, like Jawbone Companion, which can give a bluetooth headset battery indicator and whisper reminders on the headset by checking the handset calender. Other apps can dial important numbers, etc. This app functionality, which is fully available on Google Play Store, will only improve with time.
The Jawbone Icon HD + the Nerd is an excellent companion if you’re looking to have just a good bluetooth headset. However, it gets better (and better justifies its price tag) when one begins to use the apps and the Nerd. In fact, the Nerd takes bluetooth headset streaming to a whole new level. All in all, a great buy if you want the most feature-rich and innovative bluetooth headset in the market.