Editors' note: Our initial review unit was found to be defective. We have retested the performance and audio quality, and have swapped out that section of this review. We have also adjusted the overall rating.
Joby might not seem like a familiar name in the cell phone world, but if you're a digital camera enthusiast, you might have heard of its very popular GorillaPod flexible tripod for digital cameras. Still, it might surprise you to learn that Joby is now extending its inventory to include Bluetooth headsets as well. Indeed, the new Zivio Boom Bluetooth headset by Joby is one of the strangest-looking Bluetooth headsets we've laid our eyes on, and we have to say we like the design and the comfort. However, its audio quality doesn't quite match up to its looks. Joby's Zivio Boom is available now for $129.95.
As we mentioned earlier, the Joby Zivio Boom is one of the most unusual Bluetooth headsets we've ever seen. Sporting a very futuristic look, the Zivio Boom is long and lean (measuring only 2.1 inches long by 0.59 inch wide by 0.28 inch thick), and is clad in a soft-touch plastic on the front with shiny silver on the back. The key characteristics that add to its chic design are the three large and round silver buttons on the front. These three buttons correspond to the multifunction call button and the volume increase and decrease buttons. The multifunction button is decorated with eight perforated holes, which let the color of the LED indicator behind the button shine through.
Another thing that makes the Zivio Boom original is highlighted right there in its name--the Zivio Boom actually has an extendable boom mic built into the lower-left corner. The boom mic slides out like a radio antenna, and (all thin and spindly) it even looks like one. When fully extended, the boom mic adds about 3 inches to the length of the headset. It also curves slightly along the curvature of the face, which helps place the mic as close to your mouth as possible.
On the top of the headset is a dedicated On/Off switch and a charger jack. On the back of the headset is a bare earpiece, which you can then outfit with a slew of interchangeable earpiece covers. Joby provides two sets of three--the first set of earpiece covers consists of silicone tips that dip slightly into the ear canal to funnel the sound in, but are not meant to seal off extraneous noise. In fact, they look a lot like the eargel covers on the Bose TriPort In-Ear Headphones. The second set of earpiece covers has the more traditional earbud look and fit just inside the ear. (Do note that you'll have to install a small earpiece adapter in order to fit this style of earpiece cover onto the headset.) We found both to be really comfortable. We also really like that Joby provided us with different sizes of each style, to accommodate different-size ears.
There's also a space for an optional ear loop, but it's not on the headset itself. You'll have to attach a small magnetized disc on the back of the headset, and the disc has a slot for the ear loop. This may seem a bit cumbersome, but we actually like this configuration, as it allows us to place the ear loop wherever we want on the headset. That said--we found we didn't really need the ear loop most of the time. Of course, all earbuds and the ear loop can be configured to fit either ear.
We paired the Joby Zivio Boom with both the Apple iPhone 3G as well as the Sanyo Katana Eclipse. In a first test of the Zivio Boom's audio quality, we discovered a lot of static and buzz, and thus rated it poorly. Since then, we've learned that our unit was defective, and have received a new unit from Joby. The audio quality on the new unit is remarkably different. It turns out that the Zivio Boom's claim of noise-cancellation rings true. Callers heard us loud and clear, even when we were at busy traffic intersections. On our end, we heard them just fine, although we did still get the occasional static blip and their voices sounded a little tinny. That said, we found that we needed to extend the boom mic almost all the time to get that high-quality audio, which is fine, but it might be a little fussy for some people.
Features of the Zivio Boom include the typical capabilities to answer, end, and reject calls, as well as last number redial, voice dial support, three-way calling support, and the capability to transfer calls from the headset to the phone and vice versa. The Zivio Boom comes with a USB charging cable, an AC adapter, the aforementioned sets of three earpiece covers, two optional ear loops, and three more extra earbud covers.