13
Feb
Snapshot_20110213
Last Updated: July 24th, 2011

I recently broke down and picked up a Bluetooth headset. I needed something to talk on while driving a stick-shift or working with both my hands. I wanted to get something awesome because, honestly, it's go big or go home when it comes to Bluetooth headsets, and you get what you pay for. I paid for a Jawbone ERA, and I got the best Bluetooth experience I've ever had (and I've had every iteration of the Jawbone at one time or another). I shot a quick video to show you all the features, but I couldn't show you everything using my camera, so there will be screenshots and explanations after that. Stick around, grab a snack, and envy my elite Bluetooth device, won't you?

Now, as I stated in the video, there is a whole new dimension of interaction with this headset. Aside from all the insane new features built into it, like the accelerometer, NoiseAssassin 3.0, and the "apps" you can load onto it, the way you adjust settings and update the firmware is pretty revolutionary as well. Let's talk for a minute about Mytalk.Jawbone.com.

MytalkJawboneHome 

I recommend you click that image to view it full size. There's a lot going on there, and I'll talk about the pieces individually. First, you may notice that all of this is browser based. This is one of those "good and bad" type situations. The good part being that you have a sexy interface to modify all of your bluetoothiness, the bad being that you need an internet connection to modify things that in no way involve the internet. In my opinion, that is a bit of an oversight, but it hasn't really caused any issues for me. You basically just install a tiny program (browser add-on) and away you go. Here is what comes up in that left-hand section when the ERA is plugged in:

ERAconnected

The "AUDIOAPP" is the voice your Jawbone is currently talking to you with, the "DIALAPP" is how you have configured the Jawbone's button, and the other two deserve more than a one-line description.

ERAcontacts

Here are the contacts settings. These are phone numbers and names (up to 20) that are stored on the headset itself. Let me explain why this is awesome: No matter what phone you have this thing connected to, it will tell you the name if one of these contacts calls you whether or not that contact is stored on the phone you're using. The headset has its own phonebook. HOLY CRAP.

ERAadvanced

Here is the advanced settings panel. It's fairly self-explanatory, but I'll give you a quick rundown of the awesomeness happening here, as well: You can change what your ERA's name displays when searching for it while pairing it with a phone, alleviating that "Is my headset the QVY67554477 or the MOTO727JSTEVEN112yQ? Or maybe the AP19500PEDROCOMICSANSMS" confusion. You can also toggle the caller ID and voice announcements, should that feature not strike you as crazy cool. In addition to that, this is also where you could turn off A2DP, should you be into making bad decisions. You can turn off the accelerometer functions, adjust whether the press+hold of the button changes the volume or toggles NoiseAssassin, and turn on and off the accelerometer functions, again, if removing features is your thing.

They also list some apps (mostly for the iPhone at this point) that can be used in conjunction with the ERA to enhance your experience. I won't go in depth about all of them (or any of them, really) but here they are:

MytalkJawboneApps

The one that stands out for Android users would probably be Vlingo. I have to say, being a Vlingo user myself, it, in conjunction with the ERA, is the single greatest hands-free experience I've ever had on a phone. Seriously. I won't turn this into a Vlingo review but, suffice it to say, it should be the first thing you install after pairing your phone with the ERA.

Overall, this headset is, in my opinion, the gold standard for any peripheral I will ever buy for a phone. For $129.99, it really can't be beaten, even by more expensive headsets. Having owned Jawbone headsets in the past, I was still completely blown away by this thing. The audio quality is great both on phone calls and streaming music and media to it. The battery life is also a big plus. I've been listening to music 100% of the time during all my shifts at work since I got it and still only have to charge it once every couple of days.

Here's the moral of the story. If you like Bluetooth headsets and have the money, buy the ERA. If you like Bluetooth headsets and don't have the money, take out a loan and buy the ERA. If you're not sure whether or not it's the right headset for you, buy the ERA. Easy and simple. It does everything, and the firmware will be upgraded through mytalk.Jawbone.Com to increase efficiency and presumably add features in the future. It's the first time I've ever been excited about a headset.

You can buy it at any number of local stores, or from Amazon. You can grab Vlingo, which I also enjoy excessively, from the Android Market or Appbrain.

Vlingo

Brad Ganley
An Android power user, Brad consumes most of his free time with unhealthy amounts of cell phones and cell phone related things when he isn't playing with his son. Brad is also an avid movie-watcher and tea-drinker.
  • shadowjin

    Brad, can you also pair this to a PS3?

    besides that cool video review.

    • Nathan

      pretty sure any BT headset will work with a PS3, but it may just be audio, i doubt many of the other features would work for obvious reasons.

      • Brad Ganley

        Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's accurate. Bluetooth, being universal, would work on the most basic level, but I can't guarantee that you'd be able to utilize all of the features this headset offers to a smartphone.

  • Nathan

    damn pretty bad ass headset. if i ever get one again i may have to pick this one up.

    • Brad Ganley

      Worth every penny. Great size, great sound, and my boss can't tell I'm listening to music :P

      • shadowjin

        @Brad and Nathan..

        thanks for the response. I did some research and it does work.. only the audio in MP online. 5.5 battery life isnt bad, i expected it to last longer.

        • James

          Yo dude how did you do it I'm having a lot of trouble! :/

      • Steve

        I have Vlingo now on my Droid X and I've paired it with my ERA, but something not working correct? Do I need to somehow delete the other dial app(s) even the default from the ERA to make my Jawbone respond to voice commands from vlingo? Thanks!

  • http://stuarthalliday.com Stuart Halliday

    Cough $130
    For that price I'd want stereo!

  • Slighter

    Been eyeballing the Icon on ebay as a replacement to lost and broken og Bone and Blueants.
    Till I saw this vid.
    I thank you
    My wallet does not.
    Cheers

  • Adam

    Holy Good God Almighty! $130?!?!?!?!?
    For that price, it sure as hell better have a bevy of features. In fact, it should be able to read my mind to make and answer phone calls!
    Still, nice review, Mr. Moneybags.

    • Brad Ganley

      That's a pretty standard price for a high end headset. Plantronics voyagers are at the same price point and do less, and the Bose bluetooth headset is $150.

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    This is the most baller headset out of any I'd ever seen, and I'd go for it for its sound qualities, but running apps and having its own address book sounds like too much of a hassle to maintain, and something I'd probably never end up using. That's why I have a phone with a large screen - I don't need my headset to do these things. Kind of like Shuffle vs iPod Touch.

    • Brad Ganley

      You can ignore the features you find to be superfluous, like I do.

  • Krad

    I had no idea this just came out. I have been out of the headset game for years because frankly i think people who wear them all the time look like a Tool or they think they are secret service.

    However my pos motorola bluetooth speakerphone in my car is just not working right anymore and is a pain.

    So because of your review, I am going to pick on of these up and strictly use it in the car and when I play Black Ops.

    Found a 10% off coupon for best buy. With a few gift cards and some reward points this should be below $100 for me.

    here is the coup.
    http://dealspl.us/bestbuy-coupons/209486p

  • michael

    I recently bought the Icon for about 60$.
    It's nice and I'm sure the ERA is even better in terms of noise reduction but I don't see any major reason to update it to this ERA - the motion buttons, HD sound and noise reduction v3. So if anyone wants great headset for half the price, check out the Icon. Great noise reduction.

    • Brad Ganley

      Yeah, at this point, I would say the Icon will be pretty close the experience I'm having with the ERA, but more...utilitarian, let's say. I was using a Jawbone Prime before this so, for me, this was a major upgrade.

  • Jen

    Brad, could youpair this with a ps3and a phone at the same time?

  • Beni Agoustari

    Love your video (even easy for seniors to follow-up)
    Would the ERA work with Dragon Naturally Speaking and which version?
    Thank you
    Beni

  • carrion

    would you be able to tell me from your opinion which is better jawbone era or bose series two

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