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Jabra SUPREME Bluetooth Headset review:

Jabra SUPREME Bluetooth Headset

Of course, if your phone doesn't support PBAP (Phone Book Access Profile), which makes many of the Supreme's functions possible, the device also acts as a simple manual headset. What's more, all of the physical buttons double as traditional headset controls. For instance, hitting answer/end accepts calls, while double-tapping rejects them. You also can shut off voice prompts by swinging open the boom arm while holding the Voice Control button.

Another key Supreme feature is its active noise-canceling abilities. Activated by default, Jabra promises that it will noticeably squash unwanted ambient noise like wind, or the drone of highway traffic. An additional twist is the Jabra Supreme app, downloaded from the Android market, which automatically detects headsets and allows for tweaking of noise canceling settings. You can use preset profiles like "office," "outside," and "car," an Audio Note tab brings the ability for recording personal voice recordings, and a call log pulls in recently made calls for easy access. Forget about that paper manual, too, since the app also saves the Supreme's instructions.

The Supreme can also stream multimedia audio, such as podcasts, music, and Internet radio, from phones. I honestly wouldn't use this feature often, only under extreme duress like if my more suitable stereo headphones self-destructed or ran out of juice. Still, it's good to have a backup in a pinch.

Pairing the Jabra Supreme was a cinch. I just flipped its boom arm open, told my Android phone (actually used both like Meizu MX running Gingerbread and Galaxy Nexus featuring Google ICS) and was connected in minutes. My experience with the Supreme app was a different story. After downloading the software from the Android Market and opening, the app told me flatly that my headset wasn't running the latest software. That's a big issue since the only way to finely control the Supreme's noise canceling is through the application. Resolving the situation wasn't too difficult, though--it was just a matter of flashing the headset with updated firmware using PC software found on Jabra's site.

As for noise canceling, the Supreme seriously cuts down on background din. On my test calls walking at midday and during rush hour on New York City streets, callers reported that the rumble of cars and wind noise was practically nonexistent. On the other hand, callers also said that there was a distinct background hiss and that the beginnings and ends of my sentences were clipped, perhaps by aggressive audio processing. On my end, audio pumped through the big earpiece sounded very clear and had plenty of volume, forcing me to turn the headset down.

Jabra claims the Supreme delivers 6 hours of talk time and 15 days running on standby. I personally had my test unit running for at least 3 days both on standby and having placed multiple calls plus listening to streamed audio. At the end of it all, the Supreme still had 4 hours of talk time in its reservoir.

The Jabra Supreme sure has a bold moniker and definitely promises a lot, including powerful noise canceling and advanced voice-control features. For the $99 price, though, it's not a huge step over smaller and cheaper headsets like Plantronic's Marque and LG's HBS-700. But if you absolutely need clear calls in hectic environs, can live with the fit, and are willing to spend a little more, the Supreme is worth a look.

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