Aliph Jawbone Icon Bluetooth headphones

Aliph's attractive Jawbone Icon is an upgradable Bluetooth headset

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Aliph Jawbone Icon
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Smaller and more stylish than earlier Jawbones, user-customisable voice alerts

Cons

  • Sound quality can degrade in certain scenarios, thin earhook seems fragile

Bottom Line

Smaller, smarter and glitzier, Aliph's new series of Jawbone Bluetooth headsets aim to combine good looks with a customisable, voice-driven interface.

Would you buy this?

The shape is the same, and so is Aliph's distinctive noise-cancellation technology, but the new Jawbone Icon ($99 as of February 10, 2010) series of Bluetooth headsets sports a bit of style and a new level of user customisation. And you can upgrade them in a manner usually reserved for cell phones and computers: with applications.

The Icon is smaller than the original rectangular Jawbone but retains its basic good looks. Instead of a metallic sheen, the Icon headsets come in iridescent and pearly colors and have snappy names like "The Bombshell" and "The Hero."

According to Aliph, the Icon incorporates design improvements and features suggested by Jawbone users. For example, the Icon has a simple on/off switch on its underside and a large talk button on one end--that's it for physical controls. Pairing the unit with a cell phone is easy: You simply hold down the talk button while switching the device on to place it into Bluetooth pairing mode. And instead of beeps and flashes, the Icon uses voice technology to communicate to users. If you press the talk button while no call is in progress, for instance, the Icon announces how much battery time you have left (a fully charged Icon might announce, "About 4 hours of talk time remaining"). If a call comes in, the same voice states the Caller ID information.

Like older Jawbones, the Icon uses vibrations from your face as part of its Noise Assassin noise-cancellation technology. A small nub called the Voice Activity Sensor rests on your face while the unit sits in your ear. The vibrations from your face help the unit separate your voice from the noise around you. If the nub loses contact with your face, however, the Icon reverts to a less-effective noise-cancellation mode.

In practice the noise cancellation worked well for me, washing away the drone of a nearby TV. When the nub slipped off my face for a few moments, however, the person at the other end heard a distinct drop in audio quality. Since proper fit makes a difference in performance, the Icon comes with six earbuds in addition to the one already installed, as well as a small and somewhat fragile-looking earloop.

The Jawbone Icon uses technology that maintains your preferred volume level from one call to the next, once you set it the first time. If your next caller is a whisperer or has a penchant to bellow, the unit automatically alters the volume as needed. You can still adjust the volume level from your phone, however.

The Icon aims for personalisation: Not only can you choose from the six different styles and colors, but you can also download new voices from the Jawbone MyTalk audio and dial application Website. Currently you'll find a voice for each of the six Icon body styles. You can also switch the language to Spanish, German, or French.

In addition, you can customise the talk button to support voice dialing or to gain quick 411 information access; you can even set the unit up to work with Jott Assistant, an application that lets you send updates to Facebook, Twitter, and other online services by voice. If you use the headset with an iPhone, a battery meter for the Icon appears on the phone's display--a handy bit of integration.

The battery in the 0.28-ounce Jawbone Icon provides 4.5 hours of talk time and ten days of standby time, according to Aliph. Though the Icon and the top-rated Jawbone Prime, introduced last year, are each just under an inch thick, the Icon is stubbier at 1.8 by 0.72 inches while the 0.39-ounce Prime measures 2.1 by 0.56 inches.

Even without the customisation options, the Aliph Jawbone Icon is an admirable addition to the company's line of sharp-looking Bluetooth headsets. It remains to be seen, however, if Icon users will embrace the opportunity to tweak their headsets.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: mobile phones, bluetooth
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?