By: Joey Cam
August 31, 2009
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Review: Aliph’s Jawbone Prime Bluetooth Earpiece
MANUFACTURER WEBSITE: http://us.jawbone.com/
When it was brand new the original Jawbone from Aliph was the best Bluetooth earpiece I had ever used. To my dismay I accidentally broke it. When that happened I saw the Jawbone II was out. I purchased it and was a bit disappointed. I thought it would be an improvement between the two generations but I was wrong. It wasn’t an improvement, not worth the buy.
I also ended up losing the Jawbone II (they are so small), I have no idea where I left it. By this time the Jawbone Prime was released. I was hesitant to purchase it because of the Jawbone II was (in my opinion) a failure but I did anyway. This time I was not disappointed. I thought I let everyone know about it.
I broke down this review of the Jawbone Prime from Aliph into 7 sections and posted a video of the Bluetooth earpiece below.
While driving a 2006 Mustang GT convertible with the top down I chatted with a few people using the Jawbone Prime. The built-in NoiseAssasin 2.0 noise cancelling technology really did a great job while I was driving on the street. One of the people I spoke to on my cell phone (using the Bluetooth earpiece) asked me if I was chatting with her while I was at home. She couldn’t hear the wind slightly blowing against my face while driving around 40 MPH.
NoiseAssasin 2.0 did not function well when driving on the freeway. The wind blowing at my face around 70 MPH was too much. Also for NoiseAssasin 2.0 to work optimally you must make sure the white cylinder shaped object (aka “voce activity sensor”) on the bottom/back of the device is always touching your face while in use. Each time the Prime earpiece is turned on NoiseAssassin is automatically turned on. It can be manually turned off if you would like.
Aliph claims that the Jawbone Prime’s operating range is “At least 33 feet”. This range is in perfect conditions where the cell phone is within line of sight of the Bluetooth earpiece with no wireless disturbances. I tested it out in my house. I placed my cell phone in a room. Then I walked over to the living room. There is a single wall the separates the room the cell phone was in from the living room. I was able to go to a distance of roughly 18 feet before the signal quality rapidly declined.
While getting ready to exit my car I forgot I placed the Bluetooth device on my lap right before I got out. When I stood up I did not know that it fell from my lap to the concrete floor. I stepped on it with all my weight. I heard a crack, then looked down and noticed it was my Prime earpiece on the floor, in two pieces. I was slightly depressed that I owned the Prime for only a month and I broke it already. After I picked it up and looked over it closely I noticed that nothing appeared to be cracked or broken. The crack I heard was actually a snap. When I stepped on it I snapped off the top which was built to be removed. I easily snapped it back together and it was like new again. I tested it out by calling a friend and was happy that it worked 100%. After this experience I can say the Jawbone Prime is very durable. It will bend and unsnap before it breaks (at least in my instance).
Ergonomics / Fit
The Jawbone Prime comes with several earbuds in three sizes, small, medium and large. It also comes with a slim earloop. The earloop fits comfortably around my ear. The earbud fits snugly and firmly within my ear. The earbuds fit so well that Aliph states the earloop is not required. Through testing (walking around without an earloop at a fast pace) I agree with them. For those of you that plan on running or jogging while wearing the Prime Bluetooth earpiece I recommend you use the earloop.
Talk Time / Battery Life
This is one area I cannot critique accurately. One full charge lasted about a week for me. But this is highly inaccurate since I mainly communicate with people using text messages and do not chat heavily with people via voice, like many of you out there. If you heavily use your cell phone to chat with people via voice the battery life for you might be as little as a day or two. Aliph’s claim is that the talk time is “Up to 4.5 hours” and the standby mode is “More than 8 days”. There is a huge difference between 4.5 hours and 8 days. The Prime does an excellent job at conserving battery life while not in use (standby mode). When the unit starts blinking a red light it is time to charge it. I noticed that when the battery is low (red light blinking) the microphone quality and operating range heavily decline.
Power Adapter / Charging
A two-piece power adapter is included. It will either charge using a wall outlet or by USB port on your computer. The total charge time is about 50 minutes.
Design / Look
The Jawbone Prime’s design is as visually pleasing like other high-end Bluetooth earpieces I have seen. Similar to clothing and jewelry, each individual may differ in taste. No matter what design or brand I see people wearing, everyone who walks around with a bluetooth earpiece (in my opinion) looks like a dork, including myself.
Final Thoughts and Rating of The Jawbone Prime Bluetooth Earpiece
I have tested various Bluetooth earpieces (mainly from Jabra and Plantronics) that family and friends own. I have also owned about 6 Bluetooth earpieces in my lifetime. The Aliph Jawbone Prime, bluetooth earpiece is the best I have ever used in regards to voice quality and wind guard technology. I am also happy about the build quality which made it only bend and not break when I stepped on it with all of my weight. The ear fitting is great (it comes in 3 sizes). I would have given this unit 4.5 out of 5 mouse pointers but I will bring it down to 4 mouse pointers because of the battery life compared to Jabra’s JX20 Pura which competes against the Prime. The JX20 Pura Bluetooth earpiece gives the user 1.5 hours (25%) more of talk time.
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