Review: Jabra REVO Wireless Bluetooth/NFC-enabled headphones
Jabra REVO Wireless headphones are a new product from Jabra that, besides playing music brilliantly, incorporates microphone engineering with crisp audio pickup via two separate inputs that are used for their “Noise Blackout” noise cancelling technology. It combines NFC for tap-to-pair and Bluetooth 3.0 into a headset with an extremely wide sound profile, including some surprising bass and pretty nice high-end audio reproduction.
The Jabra REVO Wireless phone test
I made a couple of phone calls via Bluetooth at 15 feet from my phone to test distance capabilities, and also call quality. In each of the calls I made, I was able to get about 15 feet away without noticing any loss of audio.
The party on the other side said it sounded like I was calling from a quiet room, although I was in a fairly white-noise intensive place. Whether that’s because of the “Noise Blackout” technology, or that it didn’t pick it up, I’m not entirely sure.
Talking to someone via a headset like this still feels a bit weird, and due to the headset being on, I got to hear my voice echoing off of the ear cups. So it sounded slightly different to me, but the audio on the other end sounded exactly the same. I made comparison audio between the Jabra REVO Wireless and the HTC EVO 4G LTE direct, and while neither of the recordings will ever be used as an audition piece for a DJ gig, they sound about the same when put through my work’s voicemail system.
The Jabra REVO Wireless audio assault
With audio specs listed as “high fi,” and “massive sound,” I sort of worried that what I would get would be a child’s toy. I’m more comfortable with specs that include response ranges, as those can be metriced.
As it was, the Jabra REVO Wireless sounded OK to me. It’s not particularly the greatest at sound reproduction via my audio apps, so I installed the Jabra full Dolby application that is included with the purchase of the product.
It made the audio sound different, but not particularly amazingly different. It also didn’t work with my music in the cloud, which I’m not faulting it for, but that’s something to consider.
I tried it with the Beats audio support enabled and disabled on my EVO 4G LTE, liked it slightly better with Beats enabled, and also liked the audio with Jabra’s Dolby app – but I was not swayed enough to use it over Google Play Music, which is where my library currently resides.
The Jabra REVO’s controls are touch-sensitive, but provide little to no feedback. Sometimes it feels like you’re not registering, and sometimes you’re really not. This seems to be mostly user error on my part, but not having mastered these, it’s something that I kept messing up initially.
Two taps in one area go to the next song, the other reverses, and rotating your finger clockwise or counterclockwise adjusts volume.
There’s a button hidden in plain site on either headphone. The left button appears to be devoted to launching the Jabra Sound app, and the one on the right can be a play/pause/answer/reject call/redial last number button depending on how long or how many times you press it.
There is also an on/off/Bluetooth pair switch, which enables you to pair with your device if it doesn’t support the NFC tap to pair option.
All of the controls appeared to work properly with controlling the music and calls on my phone, however – as always – your mileage may vary.
The Jabra REVO Wireless accessories
The REVO comes with a bag to put the folded headset into, a charging cable (standard USB to microUSB), and an 1/8th-inch to 1/8th-inch plug for the times when you want to listen to something that isn’t wireless (such as your computer). The cables are covered in some sort of fabric and feel pretty solid.
Other things the Jabra REVO Wireless does well
One of the things I really dig about this headset is the ability to just tap my NFC-enabled HTC EVO 4G LTE to the left earpiece and have it automatically pair. There’s nothing that I have to do to enable it, I just answer that, yes, I want to pair to this device on the EVO.
The Jaba REVO Wireless range appears to be about 18 feet solid. I managed to go significantly further away, but I’ve noticed that the thing tends to get a bit touchy at distance. Although I could listen on another floor, it took me keeping my head extremely still. I’m not sure if this has to do with the phone I’m streaming off of or the receiver on the headset, but it worked well enough.
It’s not the best sounding headset I’ve ever played with; however, it is the most versatile I’ve run across in its price range. I don’t think you’ll dislike it.
The headset claims it has a talk time or music streaming time of up to 12 hours, or a standby time of 240 hours. I’m not going to dispute or test that last part, but the first part appears the be about right, I would guess that depends on your distance from the base unit.
Oh yeah, one other thing. The product fits my fat head. I’ve had more problems with headsets being too small that are supposed to be one-size-fits-all. These fit. They’re also pretty darn comfy.
Overall I’m pretty impressed with them. They take the title of the nicest wireless headphones I’ve ever played with. One thing to note, however, is the noise cancelling technology Jabra employs seems to be aimed at reducing microphone pickup noise as opposed to cancelling out the noise so you can listen to your music better. I could be mistaken on this, but I’m not noticing any difference. The headphones themselves seem to block most noise with the thickness of them.
The Jabra REVO Wireless is available from Amazon for $249.99.