Calling a Bluetooth headset the “Style” is a tall order. While headsets are a necessary evil for many people, they’re rarely stylish. The Jabra Style ($49.99 list) both looks and sounds better than most headsets out there, but you have to suffer an uncomfortable fit for fashion. It won’t unseat the Editors’ Choice for budget headsets, the Plantronics M55, but it’s worth looking at if you’re lucky enough to find it comfortable.
The Jabra Style looks professional without being conspicuous. It measures 2.63 by 0.9 by 0.65 inches (HWD) and weighs 0.35 ounces. Like the larger Plantronics Voyager Legend, it has a long, very visible boom mic running down the side of your face; unlike the Legend, there’s no bulky hardware behind your ear. The rest of the Style is located in a bulge that sits on your ear. It’s a matte black (or white) with a silver stripe running down the center. It’s not ugly per se, but it isn’t as fashion forward as the Jabra Stone3.
There’s a single button on top of the Style for answering and ending calls, dialing and redialing numbers, and activating voice control services. On the bottom is a Power switch that doubles as a pairing switch. Battery and Bluetooth LED indicators are also hidden underneath.
The micro USB charging port sits on the back. The Style comes with an AC adapter and an extra ear tip for use without the plastic ear hook. More than one extra ear tip would’ve been a welcome inclusion, as the included one did not fit me.
Pairing is easy. Slide the button toward the Bluetooth symbol to turn it on and hold it there to pair. I didn’t have any trouble pairing this headset to several devices. The Style also supports NFC pairing, making connecting to your Android device as simple as tapping the two together.
The sound quality of the Style is above average, as long as you avoid noisy situations. It has substantial bass and clarity, which is surprising. Volume was consistently loud. There’s no hissing or connection problems playing music or podcasts through it, as I heard on the Jabra Stone3. There’s no volume control on the Style, but it responds to your phone’s volume control.
During testing I used AT&T’s Samsung Galaxy S3, Verizon’s iPhone 5s, and Sprint’s Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Voices came through loud and bassy, and my voice was more than intelligible on the other end. Noise cancellation, however, was close to nonexistent. Cars and bystanders were still audible and garbled my voice whenever they were present, issues (literally) unheard of in the equally priced M55. Inside, where noise is usually kept to a minimum, the Style functions much better. The more expensive Jawbone Era and its noise cancellation is near-perfect.
As for battery life, the Style’s claim of up to six hours is accurate. After three hours of use, the indicator showed over 50% of remaining battery life. The Style’s range is in line with most Bluetooth headsets, and experiences connection issues around 50 feet.
After a few hours of wear, the plastic ear hook, as most ear hooks do, started to hurt slightly. Since the ear tip also didn’t fit well, the Style doesn’t make for a good all-day headset.
The Jabra Style is a decent Bluetooth headset for the price, but there’s nothing particularly exciting about it. It has NFC pairing and solid audio quality, but the fit and noise cancellation leave a lot to be desired. The Plantronics M55 is almost the same price, but has a much better audio quality and fit. The Voyager Legend is a bit pricier, but offers outstanding audio quality. If money’s no object, our Editors’ Choice, the Jawbone Era, is still the gold standard for Bluetooth headsets, with its perfect blend of style, battery life, and audio quality.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc