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

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The Good The Jabra Revo Wireless headphone is an excellent fit and finish, is comfortable to wear, and folds up into a more compact form factor for storage. It also features touch controls and NFC pairing for devices that support it.

The Bad Sound should be a bit cleaner, and the protective carrying case should be more luxurious at this price point.

The Bottom Line Despite some small flaws in sound quality and a somewhat high price, superior comfort and design help the Revo Wireless distinguish itself from its Bluetooth headphone competitors.

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7.8 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Sound 7
  • Value 7

Jabra is best known for its wired and wireless headsets, but it's now ventured into the premium headphone market with two on-ear models, the Revo ($200) and Revo Wireless ($250), as well as a more affordable in-ear model, the Vox ($99).

Both the Revo and Revo Wireless have very similar designs and they're among the more comfortable and well-designed on-ear headphones I've tested, with a sturdy fit and finish and a folding design. I liked both models a lot, and found them great for everyday use, though I thought the Revo Wireless reviewed here could have offered a little better sound quality for its fairly high price tag. For Bluetooth it sounds pretty decent, but in terms of clarity, it's not on par with some other similarly priced premium Bluetooth headphones, such as the Harman Kardon BT.

Design and features
The design of the Revo Wireless is arguably its biggest strength. When it comes to on-ear headphones, I'm usually very picky (I prefer over-the-ear or in-ear models), but I had no problem with these. They have memory foam in their earpads, and they conform to your ears nicely and seal out a good amount of ambient sound. It's also worth noting that they don't fit so tight as to pinch down on your ears, so they offer a secure fit -- but not too secure.

The headphones feature touch controls. Sarah Tew/CNET

The headphones feel sturdy and have a nicely air-cushioned headband, with metal armatures. I also appreciated that the earcups are labeled "right" and "left" on their interiors, so it's easy to figure out which is which.

As noted, the headphones fold up. And while they don't turn into a supercompact package, it's fairly compact.

I can't say that I was impressed with the carrying bag that comes with the product. It's thin, lightweight, and very basic. At this price, I'd expect something a little more luxurious. For instance, the Klipsch Image One Bluetooth comes with a nice hard case (those headphones fold flat).

The headphones fold up but the carrying case is very basic. Sarah Tew/CNET

On a more positive note, the Revo Wireless, like the $400 Parrot Zik, offers touch controls -- you simply swipe your finger in a circular motion around the outside of the right earpiece to raise and lower the volume (Jabra refers to this as "Turntable Touch Controls" because of the grooves on the earpiece give it the appearance of a turntable). You tap twice on the front of the "turntable" to skip a track forward and tap twice on the back of the "turntable" to skip a track back. Tap the "multifunction" button in the middle of the turntable to pause/play tracks and answer/end calls. To reject an incoming call you hold the button down for a second.

The Revo Wireless also offers NFC pairing for smartphones and other devices that support it (you hold up the device up to the "NFC Zone" on the left earcup to pair). It works -- I tested it with the Samsung Galaxy S3 -- but I just don't think NFC pairing is much of a feature. For instance, I also used the headphone with an iPhone 4S, which doesn't offer NFC (no iOS device currently does), but after setting up the initial pairing, they automatically paired to the phone once turned on (the Bluetooth on the phone has to be activated, of course).

A few other things worth noting: the headphones do come with a detachable cable -- it has an integrated remote -- so you can use the headphones as wired headphones (yes, the headphones sound cleaner when used in wired mode).

Battery life is rated at 12 hours -- you charge via USB. Sarha Tew/CNET

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.

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