Jabra BT350 review: Jabra BT350

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MSRP: $79.00

The Good Stylish design; comfortable fit; user-friendly controls; vibrate mode; solid audio quality.

The Bad Sensitive sweet spot; not great in noisy or windy conditions.

The Bottom Line A stylish design and acceptable performance make the Jabra BT350 a perfect choice as a midlevel Bluetooth headset.

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7.3 Overall

Jabra BT350 Bluetooth headset

It's been a few months since we've reviewed a Jabra Bluetooth headset, so we were eager to put the Jabra BT350 through its paces. For the most part, we've been pleased with Jabra's products, particularly the caller ID Jabra BT800 and the Jabra FreeSpeak BT250, which earned our Editors' Choice award. Naturally, we expected a lot from the BT350, and it didn't let us down. Despite a couple of minor quibbles with the Jabra BT250's fit and performance, the feature-packed BT350, which even comes with a vibrate mode, is a solid choice for a Bluetooth headset, especially since it's fairly priced at $79.

The Jabra BT350 first caught our eye earlier this year at the annual Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association show in New Orleans. Although hardly Jabra's flashiest model, the BT350's slender oval form factor and blue and silver color scheme make for a stylish yet understated design. The small size (2.48 by 1.02 by 0.47 inches), light weight (0.6 ounces), and lack of a boom mic also mean that the headset won't look too conspicuous on your head.

The Jabra BT350's fit is quite comfortable, and it's easy to slip the headset on and off. The highly flexible ear loop can be shaped to fit almost any size ear and is adjustable for either ear. The BT350 fit securely in our tests but only after we fiddled with it for a couple minutes; because the earpiece rests on the ear rather than protruding into it, we had to move it around to get the placement right. Once we did, the headset hardly jiggled when we shook our head. Just make sure you take the time for a correct fit.

The simple controls on the Jabra BT350 are well designed and easy to use. A long, slender multifunction button on the face of the headset turns it on and off, readies it for pairing, and controls calls. We had no trouble finding the button when wearing the BT350, but we'd prefer a button raised just above the surface of the headset. The twin volume buttons are well designed too, but since they're located on the side, they switch positions depending on which ear you're wearing the headset. When worn on the left ear, they're on the top; when worn on the right ear, they're on the bottom. The final feature on the headset's exterior is a tiny LED light that indicates charging status.

We tested the Jabra BT350 with the Sony Ericsson S710a. After this simple pairing process, we were ready to make calls. Audio quality sounded admirable with little static or interference, but we had to adjust the headset's fit a few times to find the sweet spot. Callers said they could tell we were using a headset, but they didn't report any significant sound-quality complaints. Voices at times sounded a bit hollow, and clarity decreased in noisy conditions, but the Jabra BT350 performed well all around and compared favorably to the best headsets. If you work in construction, drive a convertible, or talk frequently in loud environments, you should take the BT350 for a test run before buying to make sure it's loud enough.

We were pleasantly surprised to find the Jabra BT350's vibrate mode for incoming calls, which is similar to the BT800's. It's shocking to feel your ear vibrating the first few times, but we think the vibrate mode is a nice addition to an already generous list of features. Other features include last-number redial, support for Bluetooth 1.2, call reject, call hold, and voice dialing. After 2 hours of charge time, the Jabra BT350 has a rated talk time of talk time of 7 hours and a promised standby time of just more than 8 days. In our tests, we coaxed 6.5 days of standby time.

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