Let's call it Review Envy.
I'm reviewing Jabra's new REVO Wireless headphones, as useful and as stylish a pair of headphones as you could hope to put on your head, but I really want to be reviewing Jabra's REVO headphones, which don't have the wireless connection but which have this one cool feature that could be the best party trick ever.
The Danish electronics house, more famous for its Bluetooth mobile phone headsets, is getting into the entertainment audio business in a big way. At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, it just announced three pairs of funky new headphones/earphones: the two aforementioned headphones, one of which uses a Bluetooth connection back to your phone, and one which doesn't; and the Jabra VOX ear-phones which are like regular in-ear earphones except a whole lot groovier and feature Dolby Digital Plus audio.
It's the Bluetooth ones we've had in the Labs. These $299 headphones can be used so many ways, it's nuts. They work as high-quality stereo Bluetooth headphones for your mobile phone, as you'd expect. They work as high-quality corded headphones (as shown in the picture above) for non-Bluetooth devices when you plug in an orange cord with 3.5mm headphone jacks on each end. And they work as USB headphones for your PC when you plug in a different orange cable, that has a micro USB jack at the Jabra end, and a USB plug at the PC end. (That's also how you charge them, via USB.)
Pairing the REVO Wireless with a mobile phone is easy, especially if you're pairing a modern mobile phone that has NFC. The REVOs have NFC, too, so all you have to do is tap the phone against the left headphone of the REVO, and (all going well, which it did on four out of the four phones we tested it on) abracadabra they're paired. A lot of manufacturers are coming out with NFC in their phones nowadays, and other headphone makers, such as Sony, are starting to come out with NFC in their headphones, and given how easy it makes Bluetooth pairing, it's pretty clear NFC is the way things are going to go.
Now, audiophiles might scoff at the idea of using Bluetooth for a stereo audio connection - technically it shouldn't be quite as good as a corded audio connection - but in our tests, we really couldn't hear any difference. In my case, that could be because I'm a little deaf in one ear, but I don't think so. In my good ear there were none of the clicks and pops you sometimes get with a Bluetooth stereo connection: just pure sound, indistinguishable from the when I used the cord.
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