When the Jabra JX10 first debuted two years ago, we marveled at its size and design. We hailed it as the best Bluetooth headset we've seen. In the two years since, we've seen even smaller headsets come our way, and its spot as the cream of the crop has been dethroned by the Aliph Jawbone 2. This year at CES, Jabra announced the Jabra JX20 Pura, which it poised as the much-improved successor to the Jabra JX10. Though it is indeed a whole lot sexier than the JX10, and dare we say the Jawbone 2 as well, it doesn't deliver the sound quality we've come to expect from headsets of this price range. In fact, most of our calls sounded downright awful. That said, the JX20 Pura is certainly an attractive-looking headset, as long as you're willing to fork out about $170 per unit.
The Jabra JX20 looks and feels like the definition of a luxury headset. Clad in titanium and glossy black accents, this tiny headset (measuring 1.6 inch long by 0.75 inch wide by 0.3 inch thick) has a smooth finish all around and is quite lightweight at only 0.5 ounce. On the right spine is the Call button, while two volume buttons sit on top. There is a little plastic nub on the left spine that looks a lot like a button, but it's actually just a design detail. Though all the buttons are raised above the surface, we found them a little too skinny for our tastes.
You might be wondering how to turn the device on. The Jabra JX20 Pura features an innovative power switch incorporated into the earpiece itself. Twist the earpiece clockwise 90 degrees to turn it on, and twist it back counterclockwise to turn it off. On the back of the headset underneath the earpiece is a tiny little LED light that glows purple when the device is on. The earpiece is small enough to fit in the ear and rests comfortably against the ear canal. There's also an optional ear hook and eargel cover for added security and comfort. We didn't find the ear hook to be necessary, however.
We paired the JX20 Pura with the RIM BlackBerry Pearl. Pairing went very well, since the JX20 Pura automatically goes into pairing mode when it is first turned on. Call quality was a disappointment, to say the least. Crackling sounds dominated most phone calls, and static and echo were a huge concern. Callers could hardly hear us at one point because the static was so loud. We tried making the same calls just with the cell phone to make sure it wasn't the cell phone at fault, and indeed, cell phone calls sounded just fine--the static only occurred when we were using the headset. We will attempt to pair the headset with more cell phones to see if this is a reoccurring problem.