I’ve come to realize that there are few things in life I hate more than untangling cables, specifically headphone cables. Whenever I grab my iPod I spend a good couple of minutes weaving in and out in an attempt to make sense of this matted web of wires. The same goes for my phone’s hands-free; I prefer not to look like I’m on an episode of Star Trek with an in-ear Bluetooth headset permanently embedded in my ear, so I go old fashioned with a cabled one. So naturally I was intrigued when I got my hands on the Jabra Halo2, a sleek and lightweight Bluetooth headset that was just begging to be ‘paired up’.
Jabra have been known for producing quality headsets and car speakerphones, so the Halo2 borrows much of Jabra’s signature build quality and design. The headset comes in a sleek black finish with smooth silver edges near the ear pieces. From afar it almost looks like you’re wearing a hair band, in part due to the device’s slim appearance. The inside of the Halo 2 is lined with velvet and felt, which helps to cushion the device when you’re wearing it, preventing it from pressing down too hard on your ears. Sadly the velvet lining is a magnet for dust and dirt, and heaven help you if you’ve even got a slight case of dandruff.
Jabra have kept the Halo2 as simple as possible – there is a button on the right ear cup which lets you answer or reject calls, and you can slide your finger up and down the side to adjust the volume or double-tap to change tracks. There are two small indicators on the inside that indicate the battery status as well as Bluetooth connectivity, along with a cleverly concealed micro-USB port for charging and connectivity. Switching off the headset is as simple as folding it up again, making it ultra portable and easy to carry around. My only concern was that though the headset build quality was excellent, I was a bit worried about the hinges where the devices folds up. I think that if you’re in a hurry to pack up the headset, you might just damage it, so I would exercise caution when packing it away.
The beauty of the Halo2 is how ridiculously easy it is to set up and use. By simply unfolding the headset the device turns on, and can be instantly paired with any Bluetooth device. Even if you don’t have a Bluetooth phone or mp3 player, the Halo2 includes a handy cord that connects the micro-USB port to a standard 3mm jack. You can also connect the headset to a PC USB port using the provided cable to instantly turn the Halo2 into a pair of high quality stereo headphones, without the need to connect to your PC’s audio port.
So the Halo2 may look great, but how did it sound? Well here’s where things were a bit flat for me. While the headset does sit quite comfortably on your head, there’s a good amount of sound that can be heard by anyone standing close to you, which is a bit disappointing. And even with the volume on my iPhone and the headset set at max, it wasn’t as loud as my in-ear headphones, but to be honest I don’t think that many people will be walking around with their music at full blast. I skipped through several tracks from classical music to rock, and found that the Halo2 was able to playback all of them without any loss in quality; the only exception is that the bass wasn’t as prominent as I would have liked it to be.
Connecting the Halo2 to my phone to make a few phone calls, I found that I was able to hear my caller properly, but they were having a bit of difficulty hearing me at times, especially when there was a sudden strong gust of wind and the headset decided it would be great to replay that blowing noise in the background. Battery life is quite good, clocking in at just under seven hours of non-stop usage on a full charge, connected to my iPod and Blackberry simultaneously. The micro-USB connector on the headset gives it an advantage that you’ll no doubt be able to find someone with a USB cable or charger nearby in case you need a recharge.
The Halo2 is a decent bit of kit, but it’s not going to blow you off your feet. While it does give a fairly respectable run as a pair of stereo headphones, there are slightly better headphones available on the market that can shine just as brightly. Add to that the fear that you quite possibly might break the thing in two if you’re not careful, and you’ve got a headset that while compact and lightweight, has a little further to go to become a complete success. If you’re looking for a portable wireless no-fuss headset, than the Jabra Halo2 will no doubt please you. If you want something a little more hardcore, then give this one a miss.