Michael Steinhart, Technology Editor at CBS Interactive Studio 61 has been testing the Jabra Halo Smart for several weeks. Below are his thoughts on the headset. You can read the original article on CNET.
Michael’s note: Jabra provided me with a Halo Smart unit to try and with comparative market stats to help illustrate how Jabra feels the Halo Smart compares to other headsets. I’ve been using the Halo Smart for several weeks now, and below are my thoughts.
Taking it on the road
Traveling from New York to Chicago and back this week, I noticed a few things about business travelers and the devices they carry.
Many were taking phone calls with their mobiles pressed to their ears, carry-ons slipping off their shoulders, tugging their rollerboards awkwardly.
Some had huge, noise-cancelling headphones on while watching videos or listening to music on their tablets.
Still others were pulling wired earbuds from their carry-ons, struggling to untangle them while keeping the contents of their bags from falling everywhere.
And a few still had old-school Bluetooth earpieces screwed into their ears, believe it or not.
I felt just a bit superior, as I had the new Jabra Halo Smart wireless neckband. The earbuds fit snugly and I found that background noise in the airport — and even on busy city streets — didn’t affect the clarity or sound quality of the music I was streaming. When a call came in, the music stopped, the band vibrated gently, and I could switch over to the call by tapping my phone or a designated multipurpose button on the Halo Smart band.
A microphone built into the band’s left arm picked up my voice clearly; I was able to participate in a conference call and type with both hands on my laptop without breaking a sweat. And when the call ended, the band took me right back to my music.
Built for real life
The Jabra Halo Smart neckband is designed to adapt flexibly based on your daily routine. It’s discreet – no flashy colors or long cables to fight with. It’s built for grownups, with a tasteful design that blends with any clothing style or environment.
There’s no compromise on the productivity side, either. The Jabra Halo Smart delivers superlative voice and audio quality and integrates with Google Now and Siri for hands-free, voice-activated searches. You can download an Android app that reads texts, social messages, and even calendar appointments to you, and it’ll alert you when the Halo Smart’s battery is running low.
All of these features add up to a device that keeps mobile professionals connected and productive wherever they may be – indoors, outdoors, and in transit.
As a bonus, the Jabra Halo Smart outlasts and outperforms the competition, as we’ll see.
Work all day, dance all night
The Jabra Halo Smart neckband delivers up to 17 hours of talk time, which is more than any of the leading products in the category can claim. Its microphone features a mute button, so you can tune out your environment without fumbling with the phone -especially useful for business and conference calls. As we mentioned, the Jabra app can read incoming text, email, and social media messages to you, and a tap of the voice search button lets you ask questions, get information, and even listen to directions without any need for typing.
That mute button — plus the noise and wind protection for the microphone itself — are features that no other neckband in the category offers. These innovations make the Jabra Halo Smart an all-day productivity tool. You also don’t have to worry if you’re caught in a sudden shower; the Jabra Halo Smart is water-resistant. That’s a lot more than the noise-cancelling behemoths can say.
The music and audio playback features shouldn’t be overlooked, either. The Jabra Halo Smart can provide up to 15 hours of musical enjoyment on one charge. Other neckbands max out at 10.5 hours; Jabra leaves them in the dust.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the Jabra Halo Smart retails for $79, which is significantly more affordable than similar neckbands. You can find it at your local Best Buy or at www.bestbuy.com.
Considering that a typical professional may be dividing his or her day among exercise, phone calls, research, travel, and numerous transitions from indoors to outside, the Jabra Halo Smart neckband stands out as a versatile and purpose-built tool for busy mobile workers.