As shown in my clip from the Great Wall, included in Mobile Industry Review Show 27, I took the unusual combination-product – the Jabra BT8030 Bluetooth headphones, headset and speakers – with me to Beijing. Deployed normally as a chunky pair of headphones which connect to mobile handsets or computers to perform standard duties in making calls and listening to music two buttons on the top of the device unfold it to an almost flat bar and amplify the volume to allow use as battery-powered bluetooth speakers.
As you can tell from the shape, this unit is most at home as headphones – with a long battery life and impressive sound quality they are a tight fit and too warm and heavy to wear for extended periods for my taste, although for someone preferring larger on-ear headphones these may be a good choice. Any phone supporting the bluetooth A2DP profile can use them to listen to music wirelessly and in my experience the phone’s battery will be exhausted before the headset’s is. As a bluetooth headset for calls the unit is unspectacular – working well with the usual array of call answering and volume buttons found on most devices, although microphone performance is weak with the microphone positioning is so far from the wearer’s mouth.
As speakers the stereo performance and bluetooth reception range both impress – at the opposite side of our appartment the music sounded clear with good left / right separation from substantial spacing between two channels. Unfortunately the quality of the audio produced is weak – strong bass often overwhelms the sound and tinny top-end, with the majority of the sound muddy in the mid-range. In normal use this is fine for casual listening of dance and pop music, but anything acoustic or more sonically challenging isn’t done justice.
Typically retailing in the UK at £70 this unit has reduced significantly in price since their launch. With an excellent travel case and long battery life it may make a good travelling solution for those that can accept the size and weight when used as headphones – others may prefer to opt for separate units. Without the regular need for mobile speakers I will opt for a pendant-style option I can use my regular headphones with when wanting wireless audio.