A Real Thinker! The Aliph Jawbone Icon Review
By: Edward Jackson (Senior Editor)
Staff Note: August 6, 2010. This contest is officially closed. All four winners have been notified via email, and have 14 days to reply and claim their prizes. You must email us with your full information in order for us to verify your identities. Any misleading information will result in immediate disqualification, and as such, new random winners will be annnounced. We’d like to thank our friends at Aliph Jawbone for the amazing set of prizes. Congratulations to all the winners!
Staff Note: July 9, 2010. It’s official, Ed’s review is now a giveaway! You heard right. On August 5, we will be choosing two very lucky winners to take home their very own Jawbone Icon Bluetooth headset! You already know the rules, but just in case you’re new to the game…all you have to do (if you haven’t done so already) is register your email on the right-hand side of the page to receive our weekly newsletter (make sure to go back to your email and confirm, otherwise your entry doesn’t count.) Then once you’re in, come back and comment below on what makes the icon something you’d want. Simple as that! Two very special winners from Twitter & Facebook will also be chosen on the same day, so if you have both, follow us, retweet and repost for even higher chances of winning! Goodluck! ~Jenna
Now that Bluetooth headsets have become a mainstay in the market place – design is becoming as important as functionality. Many companies are kicking it into high gear and Aliph’s Jawbone is definitely leading the pack. Never one to shy away from highend design, their latest Bluetooth headset, the Jawbone ICON not only is stylish, but it also has an App store as well. Now that takes guts.
The Jawbone Icon from Aliph is the 4th and latest in the line of Bluetooth headsets known for their noise cancellation technology. The Icon has actually been on the scene for a wile, however, Aliph just recently added A2DP to Icon allowing you to play streaming audio, music, and podcasts, etc. through the headset. Since I haven’t talked about the Jawbone Icon before I figure that this would be a good time to give it a proper review.
Style and Fit
The first thing that you should notice about the Jawbone Icon is that it is not just one Bluetooth headset… It is six. The Icon comes in six different styles. The Thinker, which, we are reviewing here. The Rogue, the Hero, the Ace, the Catch, and the Bombshell. Each headset has a unique color as well as a unique styling that differentiates just a bit from each of the other models in the Icon line. Once you select the style of Icon that suites your personality and move beyond the aesthetic differences, each headset is virtually identical.
And they each weigh only 8 grams! All of these designs have masculine and feminine appeal, but in a classy, not overly girly way. Many other bluetooth headsets try to have feminine appeal by coloring themselves pink, red or purple, or throwing on some floral patterns, yet the Jawbone ICON succeeds in having the appeal for both just by the fact that its design is modern and fashionable. The fact that Aliph includes additional earbuds and the optional earloop is not only a nice gesture, but it ensures that no matter what type of ear size you have – the ICON won’t fall off unlike some other bluetooth earpieces we have tested in the past. There is also a switch on the ICON that lets you turn the headset on or off, and a talk button that is easily accessible to answer calls.
The first thing you see after opening the box are three ear-only buds including the one already on the Icon as well as 4 ear buds to be used with the behind the ear earloop. Most people will find that one three buds with the rubber circle on the back (option A) fits nicely in their ear without the need for the earloop. If, however, you like the security of the earloop, there are 4 different size earbuds to be used with it (option B). Aliph also includes a USB wall charger and a corresponding microUSB cable for charging. The cable, which is less than a foot long, can make charging at remote outlets (like one buried under your desk) difficult, but also eliminates tangles and makes it easier to travel with.
Just this past week we had a freak rain storm in NY and what better way to test the Icon’s Lethal NoiseAssassin technology. For those not familiar with NoiseAssassin from Jawbone, it is a technology that was originally developed for military use in tanks and helicopters, and features a wind reduction proprietary technology that eliminates background noise from mobile phone conversations. So this tech is definitely helpful on a noisy NY street. I put the headset through its paces walking against the wind, standing in the line of fire of screaming fire engines, all the while on the phone talking to my friends and then colleagues who use various different cell phones. I then went to the beach and watched kids playing in the sand and surf, and still the quality of the voice on the other end of the headset was crisp and clear and they heard me just the same. In fact, my peeps claimed that I sounded even better than when I talked directly into my handset, and I have to admit they sounded much crisper and louder too than when I use the handset directly! The earpiece didn’t fall out of my ear once, nor did it give me a headache or ear pain as many of the Bluetooth headsets have done in the past after having worn it in my ear for awhile.
Setup and Usage
Pairing Aliph’s Jawbone Icon via Bluetooth goes as simply as you could hope. Just slide the toggle switch on the side of the headset to the on position, wait until the LED ring flashes quickly white, then connect from your cell phone’s Bluetooth menu. Charging the Icon will display the the same LED colors. Wile it’s in the charge mode it will flash slowly RED, almost like it’s snoring… When it has a full charge the LED ring will stay a constant white.
Yes, the Jawbone Icon has an App store. Well sorta – it’s called MyTalk which is currently in beta and exclusive to Jawbone Icon owners. It offers a selection of AudioApps and DialApps for free (carrier fees may apply but the App to download is free). Once you sign up via the MyTalk website which can be found on the Jawbone website, you will be sent two separate emails allowing you access to this additional feature. As we mentioned before, we where reviewing the Jawbone Icon – The Thinker which already comes with a standard Jawbone audio voice, which I didn’t like very much. But Jawbone has turned it up a notch and has offered its customers customized voices specific to each model of Jawbone Icon. These distinct voices alert you to important information like how much battery life you have left and what number is calling you. So just because you own one version of the Icon headset, that doesn’t mean you can’t have the option of getting the voices associated with the other headsets. Personally I found the voices of The Ace, The Bombshell, and The Catch to be the best and they are also female… The men representatives sounded almost comical. In order to sync the new voice to your headset you must download the software to your PC or Mac and then all you need to do is choose which voice you want and then select ‘SYNC’, and it will automatically transfer to your headset when it’s plugged in via USB to your computer. This process is extremely easy, and if you run into a problem there are some video tutorials to help you out.
For instance, the Hero sounds like Brian from Family Guy, the Thinker sounds like a snotty English man, the ROGUE sounds like a bad version of Antonio Banderas, the ACE is your typical female spy, the CATCH sounded like a happy shiny 20 something, and the Bombshell makes it sound like you might have accidentally dialed a 1-900 number. Kinda silly as they are, everyone can test them out here at the Jawbone Website and try it for free.
The DialApps allow you to use your voice to unlock special applications specific for the Jawbone Icon. Directory 411, Jott for hands free email, Twitter, Facebook, and Google Calendar interaction, 1800free411, and HandsFree Assistant, even new features like A2DP. Where you can listen to streaming music or your favorite sports game via bluetooth. I’m sure there will be more Apps available in the near future as this app store is still in beta testing, but it certainly already offers a wide a variety of options that easily installs and helps you in ways you never thought possible.
Excellent sound quality and noise cancellation, great design aesthetics, very easy to pair with devices, extra earbuds and optional earloop are included for a perfect fit, app store extends the functionality of the headset.
Fingerprints can be annoying, and the caller ID just say’s the phone number only and not the name of the caller.
The Jawbone Icon hits all the sweet spots – the device isn’t just pure eye candy, but a functional and well thought-out device that also looks to leave a small foot print on the earth due to its environmentally sound packaging. The headset offers truly excellent sound quality and noise cancellation, that not only will you appreciate, but those calling you will adore it too. The App store might seem gimmicky to some, but a lot of these apps are actually quite cool. For those looking to make the leap to an attractive Bluetooth headset that hits all the right marks, I highly suggest the Jawbone Icon. The boom is not intrusive on your face, the extra earbuds and earloop for optional ways to wear the device are very much appreciated, and it also happens to be one of the nicest looking bluetooth headsets ever made. Overall, you really can’t go wrong with the Jawbone ICON.