Jabra Halo Bluetooth headphones: Cut the cord in style (review)

Summary:The Jabra Halo wireless stereo headphones handle music and calls in style.

I like to listen to music and podcasts when I travel and when I am working mobile, and good headphones are a must. I have a good pair of Sennheiser earbuds, but my preference is over-the-ear headphones for comfort, and wireless for convenience. That led me to pick up a pair of Jabra Halo Bluetooth headphones, and I am glad I did.

Jabra is famous for Bluetooth headsets for use with phones, so I knew their technology is good. What attracted me to the Halo headphones is the design with comfort in mind, along with the hidden microphone for use on calls. Even though I plan on using the headphones with either the iPad 2 or laptop, it is convenient to be able to use the Jabra on video calls.

The design of the Halo is great, as the unit is as light as can be. The small ear covers are comfortable to wear for long periods, and fully adjustable for a good fit. These headphones don't look as dorky as most over-the-ear phones tend to look. They fold for easy transport, and ship with a carrying pouch.

Pairing the Halo to the iPad 2 was very easy. I unfolded the headphones, and locked them in the open position. This automatically turns on the Bluetooth radio, and the first time put it into pairing mode. They paired with the iPad without incident, and I was listening to tunes. Folding the headphones turns off the Bluetooth radio.

The Halo has a button on the right ear cup for pausing and resuming audio streaming. This is also used for answering/ ending phone calls when paired with a phone. There is a nice touch volume control on this ear cup. Sliding a finger up the side of the ear cup raises the volume and sliding the finger down lowers it.

There are two small LED indicators on the inside of the headband on the right. The red indicator is used when charging the battery via the included microUSB adapter, and the blue indicator for showing Bluetooth activity.

The volume on the Halo is quite loud, a must for me with headphones. I like to push the volume high on occasion, and that's possible with the Halo.

A nice feature of the Jabra Halo is the inclusion of a cable for using the headphones plugged into a 3.5mm audio jack. This makes it possible to use even when the battery runs down (estimated 8 hour listen time), or more importantly during flights when Bluetooth operation is not allowed. I keep the microUSB-to-audio jack cable in the pouch for easy accessibility for these times.

The audio quality of the Halo won't compete with super high-end headphones, but is decent for everyday use. The Bluetooth range is quite good too, so it's possible to listen while walking around the music source.

The Jabra Halo is about $90 so it's not the cheapest wireless headphones available, but I find them to be a good value. Jabra also has a newer model, the Halo 2, for about the same price. This newer model was not available when I purchased the Halo online.

Topics: Wi-Fi

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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