Despite the rise of data-centric smartphones, quite a few people still use their handsets for simple voice calls. And for some of those people, a quality Bluetooth headset is a great solution when talking in the car or chatting for long periods in noisy places. For $99.99 the Jabra Supreme brings decent features and quality performance, though its design wasn't what I hoped. Read on to see if this advanced wireless Bluetooth accessory is right for you.
Jabra's Supreme certainly bucks the design trend for Bluetooth headsets. At 0.63 ounces, it's very light and seemingly compact at first glance. But after unfurling the device's long boom arm it quickly becomes clear that the Supreme is a much bulkier contraption than your typical mono headset. Not only does the microphone arm protrude a good distance forward, but also the main headset body itself juts a full 1.2 inches from the ear. That girth makes the Supreme veritably plump next to sleek models like the Jawbone Era (0.72 inch).
Also adding to the Jabra Supreme's real estate is its large ear loop. Though the adjustable loop is thin and flexible, it didn't latch firmly onto my ear. It also didn't help that it can slide up and down vertically within the headset's base. At first I thought my fit issues were due to my wearing glasses, but I had problems even after removing my spectacles. But even so, the Supreme never fell from my ear once attached.
Buttons on the headset include a Voice Control button that sits in the middle of the mic boom, a large answer/end button on the device's front face, and volume keys on the edge closest to the ear. Here too is a flap covering the Supreme's Micro-USB port. Tiny lights on the bottom edge display alerts about the headset's battery, charge, and Bluetooth status.
It's clear that Jabra envisioned the Supreme to rely heavily on its voice-recognition features. After flipping open the boom mic to turn on the headset the first time, the Supreme guided me through a set of voice prompts for pairing it with my phone. Though essentially it told me what I was going to do anyway (open my smartphone's Bluetooth settings and connect to the headset), I appreciate the Supreme's friendly voice chirping the default pairing code so I didn't have to flip through the manual to find it. Also, I like that it announces that it's connected each time I used it, leaving no room for misunderstanding.
Jabra makes much of the Supreme's voice dialing prowess, which I admit it is impressive. Pressing the Voice Control button on the boom arm kicks the device into listening mode. Then, it will prompt you to say a command. Options are many, including "redial," "pair with new device," and most importantly, "phone commands." Saying the latter activates a menu for conducting primary phone functions like "call John Smith" or "dial 555-1212." You even can instruct the Supreme to open your calendar or tell you how much battery life is left. If you forget what commands are possible, asking "what can I say?" gives you all spoken word options. Finally, pressing the Answer/End button will push the headset directly into the phone command voice-control menu.
When calls come through, just say "answer" or "ignore," and the Supreme will do your bidding. I was able to screen my calls easily this way, perhaps a little too well since my knee-jerk reflex is to bat dialers away.