Bluetooth headset head to head: Jabra Stone vs. Motorola Endeavor

CrackBerry idol - Alicia
By Kevin Michaluk on 3 Aug 2010 08:16 pm
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Bluetooth Headset Shootout - Jabra Stone vs. Motorola Endeavor

As someone who works in New York City, there are two things I've learned: (1) never publicly admit you're a Mets fan and (2) Manhattan is the noisiest city there is. Between the subways, buses, cars, taxis, and of course, the people, you need earplugs just to walk down the street. So imagine trying to have a phone conversation while walking anywhere in midtown. It's definitely not a pretty sight. At times I'm like the Verizon guy asking "Can you hear me now?" So what is a city girl to do? To solve that problem I'm going to put two headsets head to head in a battle to see which one can survive "the Manhattan Zone." I'm going to venture out to different parts of the city to see which one will come out on top and be declared the heavyweight champion. Who do you think will win? Click on the jump to find out.

Jabra Stone v. Motorola Endeavor

The Contenders

In the left corner, weighing .25 oz is the Jabra Stone. And in the right corner, weighing 0.46 oz is the Motorola Endeavor HX1.

Jabra Stone v. Motorola Endeavor

Round 1: Packaging & Charging

I don't know about you, but I'm horrible at opening up those sealed plastic packages used to secure electronic devices. Anyone familiar with Larry David and an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm understands the pain of trying to open one and the risk of severe bodily harm. So it came as a relief that neither of the headsets came in those kinds of cases.

Jabra Stone v. Motorola Endeavor

The Stone comes in a round package to prominently showcase the new and improved headset design. In order to open, one will need to go through a series of twists and lifts through different layers to access the headset, charging unit and accessories. Freeing the headset and charging stone involves twisting a circular stand and pinching pins through a slot underneath. Overall, I felt I was solving the Hellraiser puzzle box and that Jabra would rather I marvel at its style than actually use it.

Afterwards, gently place the headset into the stone and plug in the AC adapter for two hours or until the indicator light goes out. When complete, the headset can be charged throughout the day by placing it back into the portable Stone charger. An alert will sound when power is running low in order to be plugged back into the wall.

Jabra Stone Package Contains

  • Jabra Stone headset
  • (2) Eargels
  • Clothing clip
  • Quick start manual
  • AC charger (Micro USB)
  • Jabra STONE charger

Motorola Endeavor HX1

Jabra Stone v. Motorola Endeavor

The package for the Endeavor is a simple rectangular metal/plastic case that, at first, did not show a clear way of opening. After staring at it for a few minutes I found a button at the top that you unscrew and a slit at the bottom that if you take a letter opener and push slightly the case lid will open. The headset is easily accessible and so are the accessories. All you need to do is cut the rubber band holding it in place. Although by using the letter opener I did risk some bodily harm.

The Endeavor says to charge until the indicator light turns green.

Motorola Package Contains

  • Bluetooth headset
  • Micro USB Wall Charger
  • (4) sizes of ear cushions
  • User Guide

Winner: Motorola Endeavor. It charged in under two hours while the Jabra Stone took two hours and 30 minutes. As for Jabra, I understand they want to show off the Stone's new aesthetically pleasing design but there has to be a way to achieve that without making this a lesson on the Rubik's cube. I feel there is a chance to damage the charger and headset when trying to remove. Although at my local AT&T store it is sold in a square box.

Round 2: Technology/Specs

Jabra Stone v. Motorola Endeavor

Wells folks, here it is, it's time for the best part of the review: the technical jargon. Yes this is where we compare the technology used to manufacture the headsets and try not to be too technical, confusing, or boring. So I promise I'll be quick and painless and try not to veer you too much off topic. Then we can get to the fun part of actually demonstrating the headsets while seeing which manufacturer employed better advertisers and press writers.

The Stone utilizes dual microphones to reduce background noise and amplify your own voice. While some headsets, like the Jawbone, employ a sensor that rests on your face to transmit sound, the new style of the Stone has the microphones built into the earphone to improve audio, not hinder it. They call this new and improved quality Noise Blackout Extreme.

Motorola promises that one will "always make the call," regardless of what is going on around you including harsh winds and honking horns with dual microphones. The Endeavor employs CrystalTalk technology to reduce background noise for everyday calls and true bone conduction technology (stealth mode) to ensure call clarity in more extreme environmental conditions. Bone conduction allows the headset to pick up on the sound of your voice through the bones in your ear and is activated with a press of a button.

Manufacturers' summary of key features & specifications:

Jabra Stone

  • Noise Blackout Extreme -Dual microphones reduce background noise while carrying your voice true and clear
  • StatusDisplay makes it easy to check battery level and Bluetooth connectivity at a glance
  • Portable charging unit doubles as carrying case that fits easily in your pocket
  • Up to 8 hours of talk time and up to 12 days (288 hours) of standby time
  • Touch volume control, answer/end button, voice dialing (depending on the phone used)
  • Connect up to 2 devices at a time; streams music from A2DP-enabled mobile phones

Motorola Endeavor

  • Bone conduction to ensure call clarity in noisy environments; CrystalTalkreduces everyday noise and helps mute ambient noise levels; Stealth Mode provides crisp call quality in wind noise of up to 40 mph
  • Voice prompts for headset status
  • Technology used by military forces
  • 7 hours of talk time; up to 10 days standby time
  • Automatic volume adjustment
  • MultiPoint functionality allows for simultaneous syncing of 2 Bluetooth-enabled devices

Winner: Motorola Endeavor. Both headsets display an impressive array of specs and I'm not picky on talk and standby time. But I'm just drooling over the fact that the Endeavor uses the same technology as special military forces.

Round 3: Sound Quality

Manhattan is not just an island but a region filled by a cacophony of noise. Therefore I need a headset that can deliver on its promise of noise cancellation.

Call # 1 - Penn Station through Midtown

For this call, I decided to walk from Penn Station to where I work in midtown, cutting through Times Square and Rockefeller Center. My test call was to AT&T customer service.

During the automated prompts, clarity was crystal clear on the Stone even when passing by construction on 7th Avenue. However, when I reached an actual representative the volume plummeted and no matter how hard I tried to raise the volume, the other party remained low. But the good news is that through all the construction, street noise, and trucks going by, we were able to have a full conversation without anything having to be repeated.

For the Endeavor I repeated the same call and the volume was higher and stronger than the previous one. However, while the volume level improved the clarity of the call was slightly muffled. Although, this issue was not present on subsequent calls and I did have stealth mode turned off. Overall, sound quality was a vast improvement over the Stone, as if the party were standing next to me.

Call # 2 - Rockefeller's Basement Concourse & Grand Central Station*

*Results have been combined for the purposes of this review

Now we're getting into some extreme noise conditions. There were at least a few hundred people in both of these places.

When using the Stone the other party noted that my voice was extremely clear, however, there were traces of background noise that sounded like wind blowing behind me.

Next up was the Endeavor which completely blocked out all background noise. At first, the other party noted that my voice was breaking up but that no background noise could be heard. So I decided to turn on stealth mode to see if that would make a difference. Once activated, again all background noise was eliminated and my voice, while not breaking up, sounded clear but altered as if it were digitized or automated.

Round 4: Comfort

As a girl with long hair the one annoying aspect of wearing a wireless headset is that it frequently becomes dislodged. For some reason my hair has a life of its own, purposely devouring anything it comes in contact with. One minute I'm wearing a headset the next minute it's somewhere else and I'm weeding through various strands to free it. So to me, finding a headset that will stay in place is important. 


While walking from Penn Station through Midtown I noticed how loose the Stone rested on my ear and fell off with any sudden movements. To compensate, I leaned my head slightly to the other side which is not always comfortable even though it's easy to wear.

The Endeavor on the other hand is a different story. Repeating my trip, the headset did not budge at all no matter what speed I walked or even if I tried bending down to pick something up. The inner ear loop definitely helped although I did develop an earache during initial use.

There is one more important thing to mention for those who wear glasses (wire frames at least). I found no difficulty wearing them with either headset.

Winner: Motorola Endeavor. It may come with a little pain but this will go away the more its worn or switching ear cushions. The freedom to walk around without having to worry about it falling off or moving is exactly what I'm looking for.

Round 5: Ease of Use

I won't be long on this topic as most of us are familiar with pairing devices but I must compliment both companies on improving the process. Neither of them prompted for the ‘0000' pin code and were automatically in pairing mode the instant they turned on, either by removing from the charger (Stone) or using the on/off switch (Endeavor). No longer must we struggle with pressing buttons and waiting for solid lights or enter in those pesky pin codes.

The Stone features a new intuitive interface design involving invisible controls. Let's say you want to adjust the volume, you just slide your finger up or down across the middle of the headset. Same thing goes for the answer/end key which is a hidden button at the bottom. I do need to warn you that I kept hitting the answer/end key when putting the headset on or taking it off which is distracting. Finally, status indicators on the inner part display battery and Bluetooth connectivity as green and blue lights respectively. To be honest, while this may be an attractive feature for some, I do not want to keep removing the headset to view its status as it does warn you when battery levels are low.

The Endeavor is your traditional Bluetooth headset with buttons for volume, on/off, and stealth mode. It does, however, come with a very interesting feature: voice prompts. The phone will guide you through the pairing process, alert you when stealth mode is turned on and off, announce the connection and battery status and can bring up the status for the following functions on your phone: Status, Signal Strength, Network, Battery, and My Phone Number. Just press the answer/send button and say "check" to access these features. After awhile they can be quite annoying but the good news is that they can be turned off by pressing either volume button and call button.

Winner: Motorola Endeavor. The invisible controls on the Jabra were too clumsy and not user friendly. In some instances it was unresponsive or I had to slide my finger numerous times to get the volume to work.

Round 6: Music streaming

I'm an avid music lover but have to admit that carrying around multiple devices is cumbersome especially when answering a call. So I would like to have an accessory that can do both to save time.

With the Stone I strained to hear the music and even had to put my finger in my other ear to improve sound quality. Raising the volume on the headset did not make a difference and I even resorted to using the BlackBerry's volume control. This in fact did raise the Stone's volume but only slightly improved quality. The knowledge base article on their website suggests re-pairing the devices which did not solve the problem. Suffice it to say I'm very disappointed.

Unfortunately, the Endeavor does not stream music on the BlackBerry's media player. It is, however, able to stream music using Slacker and Pandora, once you go into the applications' settings and allow for Bluetooth support. The sound quality and volume were amazing and even walking through Times Square during rush hour had no affect on my listening experience.

Winner: Motorola Endeavor. As much as I would love to give it to the Stone, the poor music quality is a complete letdown by Jabra and their answer to the problem is unacceptable. Considering their reputation and that I've used other Jabra headsets with no problem, I'm surprised they would release a product with this flaw and minimal tech support.

Round 7: Dragon for E-Mail Part II

No review would be complete without our favorite dictation application. How could I not include this in the challenge?

Indoors

  • Both headsets were able to function with the application perfectly with the same error rate as using the BlackBerry's speaker.

Outdoors

  • The Stone displayed a higher percentage of errors when using Dragon in noisy areas (Rockefeller & Times Square) than the Endeavor which only had one mistake during testing.

Winner: Motorola Endeavor. Is it me or is there a trend developing here?

Round 8: Price

How much is this going to set me back you might ask? Price differs considerably for both headsets depending on the store you go to. The Stone is sold at the CrackBerry store for $109.95 but I found it at Amazon.com for $56.95, Newegg.com for $79.99, and at Buy.com for $54.95. The Endeavor is sold at the CrackBerry store for $109.95, but again I found it at Amazon.com for $64.95, Newegg.com for $69.99 and at Buy.com for $44.97.

Winner: Your choice. Now that the price has come down with various vendors it all boils down to what you are willing to spend and what features / capabilities you are looking for.

Conclusions

While the Stone may be what Jabra is calling a combination of "stunning aesthetics with unrivaled technology," it does not live up to its hype. I'm baffled Jabra would release a headset with numerous defects including voice dialing not working. Product support states it's an optional feature not supported by all devices and to check your phone manual. I've never experienced problems with this on other headsets, including the Endeavor. So, if you're looking for a basic lightweight headset then the Stone is the one to choose. If, however, you are looking for something with more power and features then choose the Endeavor. It lived up to its expectations even when I sounded like Number 5 in "Short Circuit." As advertised, it "always made the call," and the combination of CrystalTalk and bone conduction technology make for a great noise cancelling headset. For that, I declare it the heavyweight champion of this head to head.

Pros:

Jabra

  • Battery sound alerts you every 30 seconds when 10 minutes of talk time left
  • Everyday calls are clear
  • Lightweight and comfortable

Motorola

  • Stealth mode obliterates background noise
  • Adjustable for both ears
  • Strong volume levels
  • On / Off switch

Cons

Jabra

  • Can only wear in right ear
  • Not waterproof or rain shower proof
  • Clothing clip - If Stone charging case is lost lose ability to charge
  • Low volume / Background noise can still be heard
  • Voice dialing is dependent on phone

Motorola

  • Stealth mode deteriorates voice quality
  • Unable to stream BlackBerry media

Kevin Michaluk Kevin Michaluk "Founder, Editor in Chief " 3922 (articles) 3285 (forum posts)
27 comments

Kevin Michaluk

Kevin (aka Ryan Seacrest): Alicia... now that's what I call a Featured BlackBerry Accessory Review. You totally put CrackBerry effort into that one. Takes a lot of time and effort to put together a review like that. Now lets go to the judges and see what they thought!

CrackBerry Idol Judges

Dieter: Stupendous video! A tad long, though - I might have tried to tighten up the introductions to the two headsets a bit. Your review was very comprehensive, too. You're a super strong contender here - when my only complaint is that things could stand to be a little pithier, that's a good thing.

Georgia: Alicia, you did one amazing video and review. This competition is getting tough. The video and editing was very well done. Loved how you used another person to test out the Bluetooth headsets ob the street. The written review was exceptionally thorough and the comparison diagram was a treat. There were some minor grammatical errors in the text, such as starting a sentence with "and". All in all, great job!

Craig: Alicia, all I can say is wow! We really do have the cream of the crop in the top 10. This was an unbelievably thorough review both on video and in written form. A few too many "um"'s but your presentation certainly made up for it. I loved the way you started the video, and the rest of the video was great. Including someone off the street made me think I was watching CNN or something. I half expected Jeanne Moos to show up. I cant say I've read a more thorough written review of a Bluetooth headset!

Brandon 8ch

Great review. Was a little long but you had a lot of information to put in to a video. As Georgia said I liked how you got someone off the street to test the headsets. I personally like the Motorola one because Style isnt everything its quality that counts. Hope to see you in the next round!

DJ Reyes

Very well put together Alicia. Judges are right, competition is heating up. Only thing is I felt the video dragged a little in the middle but picked up again when you did the real world testing. Love it!!

Good luck!

CrackCurve56

All I can say is WOW! I am going out first thing tomorrow morning and buying a Motorola Endeavor and I have about 10 other headsets! This report was thorough, totally complete (I won't have to read the instruction manual on the Endeavor), and quite funny and enjoyable, in both print and video. To Georgia: As far as starting a sentence with "and", though it might not be totally acceptable, I gathered that the point of this video was to make it like a boxing match. On HBO Boxing (which I used to watch), they would say, "And in this corner....". Under those circumstances And starting a sentence is quite well known and widely accepted. All I can say to Alicia is this. So far, with two reviews in the can, I have never encountered anyone in my online travels, that could write so completely and comprehensively accurate. You put humor as well as tons of knowledge into both these headsets, and you showed me which one of the two won by a knockout punch. I avidly await your next review. Keep up this incredible work!

CrackCurve56

P. S. I LOVED your interview on the street. The lady that helped you was quite pleasant to watch and listen to, and she appeared to be telling it like it was. KUDOS.

BB_Newbie50

Thank you for the positive comments. I have to give my deepest thanks to my person on the street Alex. She was so generous for giving up her lunchtime to film our segment!

Diggs31

I defend my Mets now in the safety of cyberspace, but yes you are right, its not good to admit my allegiance publicly in this crazy city.

In any case, as a fellow New Yorker this review really hit home for me (literally) because I experience the same things when I use my bluetooth while walking around. Will definitely be looking into these in the future.

BB_Newbie50

Diggs, I'm a Mets fan too! I was just trying to insert some humor into the review at my own expense.

Diggs31

I actually understood that, I was trying to be self-deprecating as well...and clearly failed. We can suffer through this season together.

Btw, we beat the Braves at Turner 3-2. YES!...now back to the regularly scheduled feeling of impending doom

BB_Newbie50

Diggs, I'm a Mets fan too! I was just trying to insert some humor into the review at my own expense. Alicia

dmarcus48

great review! I'm a bit of a bt junkie, don't know what it is I love the things, I should start a museum! excellent review, very comprehensive, well done!

Spiral_ouT

That is as good as a head to head bluetooth video gets. Great job! If I were in the market for a BT headset, you would have sold me and I would now own an Endeavor. Know it doesn't count for much being only the second review of 10, but as of now, you have my vote!

Dragondima

Woah, that's a huge review. I know you're very good at writing, but that was a bit to much. I really enjoyed your "head-to-head" concept, and the execution was good, but oh so long! 8 rounds was much! Lastly, what's up with the winner?! "You're choice" After ALL that reading, I was so excited to FINALLY find out who won. No one. I would've preferred if you decisively picked the better of the two. The video again was 10 minutes long. Main word being "long." Outside of those details, I thought it was a really well written review, and had a lot of great information, and the pictures were great, and were placed really well. You should be really proud of the work you did!

trjnberry

NO! It was too friggen long! Please Crackberry do not promote these super long reviews. Aicia, go buy the book, How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or less and learn that we don't have all week to read your review!

NO! This is Round 2, final 10. Let's figure out how to avoid too many ahs and ums in our video reviews, please.

NO! I don't buy that your picked a random person and she gave unbiased opinion. You told her what the name of the headset in the question instead of asking her which she liked first without knowing which was which.

NO! I did not find your review to be unbiased. I felt like you really liked the Endeavor and you spinned your review to reflect what was great about the Endeavor.

NO! You haven't lost my vote yet! I still think you have the talent to be a good contributor to this blog, but I just didn't like the length and biased presentation of this review. Your writing is excellent, you explained the products well, but I think for this review, you did it in a biased and too friggen long of way for my interests.

YES! You are still one of my favorites!

MAYBE! We will see you in the final and I think in time, as you polish your presentation skills, you'll make an excellent addition to the CB Team.

AH! If that friggen slider doesn't come to Verizon, I am so going Droid... AHHHH!

clickclick

That was such a gReat face off that my immediate response was to buy a new motorola headset. Straight from my handset still in bed. I'm excited to see how the results are for myself. That was some review.

ErnieH

Just great Alicia! Interesting and covered the points we want to know. But damn! You've made me want to add yet another headset to my collection.

3Dee

Another really super review Alicia. An enjoyable and informative read, with just the right amount of personality and humour injected throughout. You already sound like a professional writer, great job.

CrackBerry Team - a bit harsh dropping this on the same day as the Torch announcement?

Xopher

Although long, I felt that the review was very detailed and covered all the aspects of the devices. The "Um's" were a little much (20 while walking through the Jabra, and four during the Endeavor). Also, you showed all these locations at the beginning of your video, stating you were going to go to these locations for testing, but then didn't return to them at the end. It would have been nice to hear actual voices from over the devices, but that's not a deal breaker for me.

Another point to make. All bluetooth headphones that support voice dialing have the ability to check the phone status. The status check voice is produced by the phone, not the Endeavor, although it is nice to hear that connectivity and other prompts are spoken. There may have been an issue with getting voice dialing working with the Jabra, but that feature is not specific to the Endeavor. You can even check status without a bluetooth device.

I think the written review was well done (even if a bit long). You covered all the bases and gave a good breakdown (including price comparisons besides Crackberry). Kevin might not like that you outed much lower prices elsewhere, even though it is really good info to have. :)

pkcable

Amazing comparision! I thought at first there is NO way I'm going to sit thru a 10 minute video, BUT I did! Great job!

Altimate_One

If I was in need of a BT I would be going to Buy.com for the Motorola today. I've had two Jabra's and loved them both till my current Plantronics, but I will be giving Motorola another look when I am sick of my current BT.

Thanks.

And Dragondima... REALLY?

bradleynj219#CB

Thanks so much for doing this review. I have been thinking about purchasing a new blue tooth headset and your review convinced me to purchase the Motorola Endeavor!

CrackCurve56

Georgia, I think I caught a "typo", grammatically speaking, of course, when you said "ob" instead of "on." :)

CrackCurve56

Hmmm. Seems the writer did say which one she preferred of the two. To compare two headsets, one has to be a bit more lengthy or how would you know all the features of each and which one you might consider buying? Again, I saw which one the writer preferred (Duh!) and I will quote it here.
" If, however, you are looking for something with more power and features then choose the Endeavor. It lived up to its expectations even when I sounded like Number 5 in "Short Circuit." As advertised, it "always made the call," and the combination of CrystalTalk and bone conduction technology make for a great noise cancelling headset. For that, I declare it the heavyweight champion of this head to head."

Dragondima

"Winner: Your choice. Now that the price has come down with various vendors it all boils down to what you are willing to spend and what features / capabilities you are looking for."

I actually really enjoyed her conclusion a lot, so I of course saw that. Regardless, when you make your Winner section in bold, that's the implied final decision. It might have made sense to leave that part out, if in her conclusion she was so decisive. Alicia, do you have any say on this?

BB_Newbie50

Dragondima. I guess i was trying to declare a winner for each round and then make a final conclusion with my overall winner. I apologize for the confusion. I didn't have a lot of time to sit down and edit. I definitely promise not to let this happen in the future and to try and force myself to be a better editor of what I write.

sagnihotri

Love the review.... the creativity which has gone into the first part of it... how the focus is on evaluating and comparing.... ALL THE BEST!!!