JayBird JB-100 Bluetooth Stereo Headset review: JayBird JB-100 Bluetooth Stereo Headset
JayBird JB-100 Bluetooth Stereo Headset
The category of stereo Bluetooth earbuds is still growing, so it's nice to see a newcomer to the market focusing on just that. JayBird debuted in 2007 with the JB-100 headset, a compact stereo earbud set, as well as complementing adapters for the iPod and other audio devices (sold separately). At $129.99, the JB-100 falls comfortably between two close competitors: the Etymotic Ety8 and the Plantronics Voyager 855. This headset has its pitfalls, but if you can get a comfortable fit, it's a worthwhile consideration.
One thing is for certain: the JayBird JB-100 offers a nice, low-profile design--especially compared with the Etymotic Ety8. The bulk of the earpieces is contained in the two crescent-moon-shaped units that curve behind the ear when worn. Passersby probably won't even notice them, particularly if the user has long hair. To keep the bulk to a minimum, JayBird elected to not offer playback controls on the headset. Instead, you get a Call/Power button and volume up/down controls on the right ear piece. A thin cable, meant to be worn behind the head below the hair line, connects the right to the left ear piece. The left unit features a small battery contact panel, which connects to a corresponding section on the included charging dock.
Achieving a comfortable fit with the JayBird JB-100 is going to take some effort for most users. The user guide suggests using a mirror the first time you wear the headset. Unsurprisingly, I was unable to achieve anything resembling a secure or comfortable fit, so small-eared users take heed. (Trying before you buy is always recommended--Jaybird has a 30-day return policy.) However, other testers in the office could wear the headset with no problems, and those who can get a good fit will be rewarded with an activity-friendly listening device. The JB-100 is lightweight and water- and sweat-resistant, so the unit is definitely gym-worthy. When you're not wearing the earbuds, you can store them in the included nylon bag.
During testing, I was able to very quickly and easily pair the JayBird JB-100 with both the Samsung T10 and the iPod (with the corresponding Bluetooth transmitter attached). I tested the unit in various settings--the office, on the streets of San Francisco, and on the bus--all with pretty solid results. (I had to hold the earbuds in my ears in order to duplicate the results an average user would get.) The one major downside was that the earbuds don't get that loud and don't form a seal with the ear, so volume was an issue when walking the busy city streets. Also, if you're looking for a deep low-end response, this is not the headset for you. Still, audio was nice and clear, with good detail on the high-end, and the mids were well-represented with warm undertones. If you want to cut the cord between your music and you without an ungainly setup hanging from or on your ears, the JayBird JB-100 fits the bill.