Traditionally noise cancellation and price have been the difference makers when shopping for a Bluetooth headset. High-end headsets like the Plantronics Voyager Pro and various Jawbone headsets have set the bar for business users requiring great sound quality. The average consumer tends to be more comfortable purchasing one of the myriad of headsets in the $30-$50 price range, sacrificing sound quality for value.
Product design in Bluetooth headsets is becoming one of the ways that manufacturers differentiate their products from competitors. Motorola added functionality and usability to the Oasis headset by focusing on the product design, while Jabra added both functionality and style in their Stone headset. With the second version of the Stone Jabra continues to improve on their design, as well as cleaning up some minor flaws with the original model.
For the full review of the Jabra Stone 2, keep reading.
The Stone 2 headset is a single curve that loops over your ear. Though it looks like it would be painful to wear, Jabra put smooth edges in all of the right places to conform to the outside of your ear. The control system for the Stone 2 utilizes a single button to answer and end calls. The external surface of the headset features a touch sensitive surface that reacts to swipes up and down the side of the headset to adjust the volume. Indicator LEDs on the interior of the headset give you feedback on battery level and Bluetooth status.
The Stone 2 gets its name from the spheroid shape when placed in its holder. The shape itself makes it very easy and comfortable to carry in a pocket, with no sharp edges or fragile hooks to break off during transport. In addition to securing the headset, the holder also features a built-in charger that will charge your headset while it’s in your pocket.
The Stone 2 uses Jabra’s Noise Blackout Extreme with dual microphones to handle noise cancellation. It’s not the best quality sound I’ve ever heard, but it is more than adequate for most users. Where the Stone 2 really sets itself apart from its predecessor is with voice control. When you have an incoming call, the Stone 2 will read from your phone’s contact list (using the Bluetooth Phone Book Access Profile) and audibly speak the name of the caller. Saying “answer” or “reject” will activate the corresponding command on your phone; making the task completely hands-free.
Other niceties offered with the Jabra Stone 2 include support for A2DP, or Bluetooth stereo audio. I find this particularly useful for listening to podcasts while on-the-go (or listening to music during boring meetings).
From a style and design perspective, the Jabra Stone 2 is hard to top. With 2 editions available, glossy from AT&T and leather from Verizon, the major downside that I see is that the $129.99 price point is awfully close to the subsidized prices we’ve come to expect from smart phones themselves. That being said, this is a pretty killer headset. With voice control, Bluetooth stereo support, impressive comfort, and an integrated charger built into the carrier; the Jabra Stone 2 is a headset that competes favorably against the best Bluetooth headsets on the market.