Jawbone ERA: Hands-on review
When the Jawbone ERA arrived at my doorstep, it caught me completely off guard: I completely forgot it was heading my way for a review. But after spending some time with it, I can assure you, I will not forget the ERA anytime soon. I’ve never really saw myself as one to use a Bluetooth ear piece, because I was always under the impression that they were uncomfortable and clumsy. Is this the case with the Jawbone ERA?
- NoiseAssassin® 3.0 with wind reduction
- 10mm wideband speaker (HD audio)
- Automatic volume control
- Voice announcements
- Built-in accelerometer (motion sensor)
- MotionX™ technology
- Dual micro-processors
- Serial flash
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 automatically displays on smartphone
- On/Off Switch
- Micro USB connector interface (charging and MyTALK)
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
- Bluetooth V2.1 compliant
- Range up to 33 ft (10 m)
- Support Enhanced Data Rate (EDR)
- Profiles Supported: Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) 1.2, Hands-Free Profile (HFP) 1.5, Headset Profile (HSP) 1.1
- Supports Simultaneous Multipoint (two live audio connections)
Setup and Software
The initial setup was quick and easy. I had the Bluetooth active and the ERA paired and connected within a couple of minutes. On the other hand, getting the MyTalk battery meter app up-and-running was a little more time consuming. At first, I expected to just install the app and be over with it. This was not the case, because I had to use a computer to get the whole system set up. It was not difficult, though, the only snag being the fact that it’s not compatible with Windows 8, so I had to switch over to my Windows 7 laptop to get it running. Otherwise the process was simple and painless, and well worth it. Once the setup is complete, you can tweak the device’s voice and settings to your liking.
Hardware and Battery
The Jawbone ERA is a sleek looking device. Its black rippled design looks like it hugs the side of the face, and this is what it does. It comes with eight different ear pieces to get the perfect fit with your device. Four of them work with an earloop, and four of them just fit snugly in your ear. The ERA is made of plastic, but the device has a solid feel to it. Some of the earbuds are pretty difficult to get on, but I didn’t feel like I was going to damage it at all. The ERA package also came with an USB/outlet charger and a fancy carrying case. It’s always nice to have the option to charge through a USB port, for the times you don’t have immediate access to a power outlet but you do have access to an USB port. The battery life on the device was great — it had no problems lasting the full five hours of talk time advertised.
The most important part of any Bluetooth handsfree is the sound, and let me assure that the ERA’s sound quality is excellent. I tried out the headset in a few different scenarios, and the ERA’s sound quality is top-notch in almost all situations. During phone conversations, it actually sounded crisper and clearer than my Rezound’s ear piece, which came as a pleasant surprise. When I was playing games (action-heavy or simple puzzle games), it sounded great, as well. For music, on the other hand, the ERA was just good — I could hear the whole range of acoustics, but the bass just wasn’t there. While I would not replace my iBeats for listening to music in general, I would replace them with the ERA in the situations when discretion is called for when listening to music.
In short, the Jawbone ERA surpassed all my expectations. The ERA’s robust hardware and software features were more then I ever expected from it. Although I would’ve liked a little more simplicity when pairing the app with the head piece, the extra steps were not difficult by any means. Overall, I really loved the ERA, and it gave me a whole new level of functionality when paired with my Rezound.