Jabra Revo Wireless headphones review: Bluetooth headphones with a superior design

You can also connect the headphones to your PC via the included Micro-USB charging cable to get a direct digital connection. Bluetooth can be a little finicky with PCs (you should be able to use the headphones wirelessly if your PC is Bluetooth-enabled, but you can sometimes have a problem pairing, depending on your system). The headphones will charge when you have them connected to your PC via USB and you can also connect you phone via Bluetooth while they're charging. (Note that the headphones only ship with a USB charging cable, but not an AC adapter).

In all, the Revo Wireless has an impressive feature set. The only thing missing is a noise-canceling feature.

The earpads feature memory foam. Sarah Tew/CNET

Performance
Judging the performance of the Revo Wireless is a little tricky. One of the issues is that you can choose to run your music through Jabra's Sound app, which is available as a free download for iOS and Android devices with an included code. The app allows you to tweak the bass and treble and gives you the option of turning on Dolby Digital Plus processing, which changes how your music sounds. Some will think that the Dolby processing improves the sound and others might not think it really makes it better. You also have the option of activating a "Mobile Surround" mode, which gives the impression of a widened sound stage.

Audio purists probably won't like any of this stuff, but, as I said, some folks will prefer the Dolby processing. Regardless, the only problem is that the app works only with your iTunes library on your phone (or music library on your Android phone) and not with music services like Spotify and Rdio, which more and more people -- including me -- are using.

The headphones could sound slightly better for the price. Sarah Tew/CNET

What I can say is that, overall, this just isn't the cleanest-sounding Bluetooth headphone I've tested. It's decent for Bluetooth, just not great. While the headphones deliver a good amount of bass, audiophiles will think it sounds a tad muddy, which one would argue should not be the case with $250 headphones. If you're looking for a more natural, clear-sounding Bluetooth experience, the Harman Kardon BT, Parrot Zik, and Nokia Purity Pro by Monster , are going to deliver better sound quality.

I also compared these with the Klipsch Image One Bluetooth, which also has a great design (I actually like the Image One's design slightly better). I expected the Klipsch to sound as good or better than the Jabra Revo Wireless, but the Jabra came out on top (the Image One has lots of bass, but it's mushy). I also like liked the Jabra's better overall than the $279 Beats by Dre Wireless. To put it another way, this model came out sounding slightly better than some models in its price class, but fell short of the top-sounding Bluetooth models.

Using the Revo Wireless as a wired headphone yields better results, ergo cleaner sound. And while I can't tell you what's different about the internal design of this model versus the standard, wired Revo, in terms of pure sound quality, the standard Revo's going to deliver the same or slightly better sound. (To be clear, I'm comparing the Revo versus the Revo Wireless in wired mode).

Battery life is decent. It's rated at 12 hours for music streaming, and I managed to use the headphones on my daily commute to and from work (a little more than an hour total) for a week without a problem.

Finally, as with most stereo Bluetooth headphones, the Revo Wireless can be used as a headset for making cell phone calls. As you might expect from a company that has been in the headset market for a while, call quality was good -- callers said they could hear me well and indoors at least; they said I didn't sound like I was on a headset.

Conclusion
The Revo Wireless is one of those products that's hard to attach a final score to. It's got so much going for it in terms of a strong design and excellent comfort level, as well as an impressive feature set, that you can overlook some small performance issues and the lack of a swankier carrying case.

If you're a stickler for sound quality, these headphones may not cut it for you, especially at their elevated price of $250. But as day-to-day "mobile" headphones, I found them to be a pleasure to wear and could see people using them at the gym, though you'll probably want to be careful about sweating on them too much (putting them over a hat is an option).

Those considering the wired Revo might have noticed that while its price is $199.99, it can be found online for closer to $150. Ideally, we'd see a similar $50 discount on this model, but it's still recommendable at $250, despite its small performance drawbacks. However, I'd rate it four stars if the price were to come down a bit.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy See all prices

Jabra Revo Wireless - headset

Part Number: 100-96700000-02 Released: Mar 29, 2013
Low Price: $199.00 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Mar 29, 2013
  • Color black
  • Weight 8.5 oz
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Additional Features Near Field Communication (NFC)
  • Type headset
  • Headphones Form Factor ear-cup