Jawbone Introduces A New ERA! A Reality Review & Giveaway!!!
By: Tony Novoa (Contributing Editor)
Staff Note: YES, WE ARE GIVING AWAY 3 $129 JAWBONE ERA HEADSETS ON MARCH 31st. Details below. Don’t forget about our other ongoing contests and prize giveaways like the BlueAnt Q2 Bluetooth Headset and Wacom Bamboo Fun prize! Remember that our contests are ONLY eligible to our fans & subscribers so don’t forget to sign up. We send you a copy of each new post and giveaway announcement via email. No more, no less, zero spam! That’s a promise! We’re always doing contest giveaways every month so it pays to be on the list.
Ah… the joys of being hands free. When speaking on your mobile handset that is. We all know that as we’re zipping around from point A to point B in our favorite vehicle, we don’t want to be caught holding our beloved communication devices to our ears, lest we get slapped with a ticket by our protectors of the peace. So, what to do if we want to have a conversation without holding our mobile phones? Simple. Don a stylish earset and chat to your heart’s content. All while complying with the law and being safe drivers – or at least appearing so. It seems that the simple act of talking on the phone while driving is enough to distract us and make us more prone to reckless driving. So, you’ve been warned.
It’s A New Year
Last year, Jenna gave away a handful of her favorite 2010 Bluetooth accessory, the Jawbone ICON. But it’s a new year, and look what the folks at Jawbone just unveiled. We all know that despite the warnings, we want to be able to talk, when we want, where we want. And how better to do that than with Jawbone’s latest Jawbone ERA Bluetooth earset. Listing for $129.00, it may not be the cheapest headset on the market but it looks awesome and works quite well. Jawbone is long known for it’s ever expanding line of Bluetooth headsets and the ERA is the latest in the series, following the popular ICON and Prime units. Available in four styles, the ERA offers some stylish choices. From the Shadowbox (black metal), Smokescreen (brown copper), Midnight (black over a red background), and Silver Lining (silver over a white background). We got to try to try the Silver Lining one… after all, every cloud has one and here at MRT, we celebrate optimism.
So just how small is this bad boy. Well, the ERA is small, albeit a bit taller than the ICON, measuring 2″ long, 0.6 inches wide and a tad under an inch thick. Similar to it’s ICON cousin, the ERA has a single multi-function button for answering, ending and switching between calls. By default, pressing and holding the button initiates voice dialing, but it can also trigger MyTalk apps. To control the volume, simply press and hold the button during a call or other audio playback. This will slowly cycle the volume up and down. Release the button when the volume is right. If you prefer, you can also adjust the volume directly from your phone. The only other hardware is an On/Off slider switch. Overall, it’s a very stylish and smooth design.
A Whole Lot Of Shaking Going On
So what makes this different from the ICON? The ERA introduces an additional control mechanism thanks to a built-in accelerometer. This enables using a gesture that Jawbone calls “TapTap”—a double-tap anywhere on the device’s exterior. This mimics the basic functionality of the hardware button: you can answer, end and switch between calls with a quick tap-tap. You can also achieve the same results by shaking the headset, as long as the ERA isn’t in your ear. This is essentially a gesture Jawbone has christened “ShakeShake”, followed by a quick insertion of the Era into your ear. This is equivalent to a TapTap or a button press.
What else can you do? Use the accelerometer to enter Bluetooth-pairing mode by performing a quadruple shake (a double-ShakeShake). Note that the first time you turn on the ERA, it automatically enters pairing mode, so no shaking is necessary.
Both the Samsung Galaxy S 4G and the Verizon iPhone 4 easily paired with the ERA. Other actions such as activating the spoken summary of your battery’s remaining talk time or redialing the most-recently called number can only be activated with a button press, instead of a shake or tap.
While the accelerometer-based controls might seem gimmicky, they were actually easy to get used to. Even so, the ICON’s button were easy to access or press but the flexibility was appreciated. In fact, the ERA’s tapping gesture offers several unexpected benefits. First, if you happen to have longer hair, you’ll find that tapping is actually faster than moving your hair out of the way to find the ERA’s physical button. Second, by using a gentle tap instead of a button press, you don’t risk jostling the ERA out of your ear. Keep in mind that tapping too hard on a device that’s inserted in your ear can be loud. The good news here is that gentle taps also work well.
Of course, with small footprints come some compromises. For example, the ERA’s control system, such as the power switch, can be difficult to access when the device is already in your ear so you may be forced to remove the ERA in order to turn it on and off. Another item of note is that the iPhone seems to need an extra two seconds to enter Voice Control mode when triggered from the ERA.
Like the the other product lines, the ERA comes with an assortment of eartips and an earloop. The variety allows for mixing and matching that eventually should lead to a snug, comfortable fit. The plastic earloop is helpful for keeping the ERA extra secure in the ear.
How Much Time?
So, how long can you actually use the ERA without recharging? Jawbone claims a battery life of 5.5 hours of talk time or up to 10 days of standby time. This seems to be consistent with our findings as well. Note that when you first open the box, you’ll need 30 minutes to charge the ERA 80% of the way, and another 30 minutes to top it off. The ERA charges via a micro-USB port; you can use the included AC charger or any powered USB port. There is also a very short USB-to-micro-USB cable included in the package.
Can You Hear The Quality?
Surprisingly enough, while the accelerometer is innovative and cool, the ERA’s single biggest improvement over its predecessors is its noticeably superior audio quality. The ERA actually features a true wideband speaker that’s 25 percent larger than the Icon’s without impacting the ergonomics of the earpiece. The earnest also uses Jawbone’s NoiseAssassin® technology for both inbound and outbound audio. This automatically adjusts volume and equalizer settings, catering them to your current audio environment. Don’t believe it? Welcome to NoiseAssassin… listen for yourself:
The result is that calls, music and YouTube audio all sound impressively clear with the ERA. It seems that the results are just as
good on the other end of phone calls, where people reported that they could hear well also. In fact, many callers indicated that I sounded better with the ERA than when switched to the phone’s built-in microphone.
Just like the ICON, the ERA can connect with Jawbone’s MyTalk service, which lets you add Audio Apps and DialApps. (AudioApps customize the spoken voice that announces battery-status updates and the like; DialApps replace the “hold down the main button” voice-dialing functionality with 411 services, transcribed texts and status updates, and more). New for the ERA is a Caller ID app that speaks the full names of your callers, instead of just their phone numbers. The app uses high-quality recordings of your contacts’ names whenever possible for better audio.
The ERA also successfully paired with a MacBook Pro and iPad, essentially working like a one-ear Bluetooth headphone. You can listen to iTunes, Skype and other audio without difficulty.
NoiseAssassin® 3.0 with wind reduction
10mm wideband speaker (HD audio)
Automatic volume control
Built-in accelerometer (motion sensor) MotionX™ technology
|POWER AND BATTERY
Up to 5.5 hours talk time
Up to 10 days standby time
Built-in rechargeable Li-ion polymer battery
Jawbone battery meter:
Micro USB connector interface
Bluetooth V2.1 compliantRange up to 33 ft (10 m)
Support Enhanced Data Rate (EDR)
Supports Simultaneous Multipoint
|SIZE AND WEIGHT
Length: 2.02 inches (51.3 mm)
Width: 0.57 inches (14.5 mm)
Height: 0.95 inches (24.1 mm)
Weight: 10.2 grams
MyTALK apps & software updates
Windows 7, Vista XP
Mac OSX 10.5 and higher
|ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION & REQUIREMENTS
Packaging 100% recyclable
Operating Temperature 0° to +55° C
RF Regulatory Radio
Contact & Air Discharge EN61000
Safety UL and EN 60950 certified
Hazardous Substance RoHS/WEEE compliant
|IN THE BOX
Jawbone ERA headset
Spout earbuds (4)
Round earbuds (4)
Binaural earloop (optional)
Micro USB cable
A/C wall adapter
|IN THE BOX
Jawbone ERA headsetSpout earbuds (4)
Round earbuds (4)
Binaural earloop (optional)
Micro USB cable
A/C wall adapter
Four sophisticated, architectural designs:
List Price: $129.99
Reality Grade: A
More information on the Jawbone ERA
We’re Giving Away 3 Jawbone ERAs!
Finally… At MyRealityTech, we like to share the goods and you like to get the goods. So, in the spirit of generosity, we are giving away 3 Jawbone ERAs to 3 lucky subscribers!
We’ll keep it simple. Tell us why the the Jawbone ERA would enjoy a spot in your ear. You have 3 options to enter:
1) Post a comment below.
2) Comment and Like us on Facebook.
3) Follow us and Tweet about this on Twitter.
As you can see, we are giving you many chances to win. The winners will be chosen randomly at the end of March… that’s March 31st, 2011. Enjoy the contest and giveaway! As always, be sure to follow @MyRealityTech on Twitter and “like” us on Facebook and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more exclusive opportunities to win great prizes!