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Closeup of the ColorCore EarGels™

I’ve spent the last couple weeks with the Jabra Vox as my primary set of headphones for my iPhone 4S and iPad 2. First off, a little history…in the past I’ve had trouble with any headset or earphones that didn’t go over the ear. They just wouldn’t stay in properly so I was very interested to see how these would perform given that these are the type you push in.  Also, for phone use, I’ve been generally using a Bluetooth headset if I’ve needed to use the phone while operating a motor vehicle. My Bluetooth headset has been troublesome and somewhat frustrating so having a quality headset for hands free talk is something I’ve been seeking for a while. When the Vox arrived in the mail, I was looking forward to a better hands free experience but worried that the earpiece wouldn’t stay in.

The first thing I noticed about the Vox was the thick cord. According to the documentation the Vox “comes with tangle free, reinforced cables…” (Jabra Press release Jan 7 2013) and in practice I’d have to agree that this headset is far less likely to tangle than others I’ve had. The included carrying case keeps them safe but even if you shove them in your pocket, they don’t tangle as much as other headphones. I can’t say they are fully tangle-free but they perform better than most.

Wearing the headphones has been a joy. They come with several sizes of earbuds (ColorCore EarGels™) but the default earbuds have been perfect. I’ve worn these for extended periods to see if they’d stay in and I’ve been very impressed. Even if just wearing one, when all the weight is on one side, the headphones stay in just fine. In terms of function and sound, they work great too. I’ve done some comparison tests with my old faithful set of over the ear headphones. This is no scientific experiment but I found that the Vox had a greater depth of sound regardless of what I was playing. From Depeche Mode to The Cult to Doug E. Fresh every thing sounded better on the Vox.

Jabra also provides a companion iOS application for the Vox.  It’s free in the Apple store but you have to input a code that comes in the Vox box in order to make it work.  I’m somewhat puzzled by this.  The app purports to optimize sound for the Vox and other Jabra headsets.  This is cool but I struggle with why there’s a forced registration or this use of a special code.  I would not go buy the headsets just to use this app, so that can’t be it.  In the app, you can create play lists and the equalizer is a nice touch but I’m not sure I’m compelled to use it and replace my other music playing apps.  It seems like it should be free but that’s just me.  The performance of the headphones out weighs this nit concern.

The Vox handles all the basics very well plus I enjoyed being able to call up Siri by holding down the middle of the play/pause/volume control.  That has been a very handy feature over the last couple weeks.

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play, pause, volume control

The 3.5mm jack looks like it will fit in to most cases pretty easily due to the design of the attachment.  It’s very thin and worked great with my case.  Since it does turn at a 90 degree angle, thicker cases could have a problem if the hole for the headphones is too deep.

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The cords, see below, are of 2 different thicknesses and change at the Y connector.  The thinner cords at the top tend to tangle a little more easily than the thicker cord at the bottom.

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The ear buds are clearly marked with “LEFT” and “RIGHT”  in red text.

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Not everything was perfect though.  The volume control device, which is attached to the right earbud cord and pictured below will sometimes cause the volume to go up when I am trying to make it go down.   Most of the time it works ok but I did have the issue a few times.  I also found that when trying to call up Siri, music might start playing.  This could be more my fault than any technical or function issues on the headset.  Finally, the smooth surface of the Vox cords feels nice but seems to collect dust.  Again, these are no big deal given the overall performance.

Overall, I recommend these headsets.  HicksNewMedia owner and Chief Technologist, James Hicks, has gone so far as to state that he’s retired all his other headsets in lieu of these.  That’s high praise.  The retail price of these headsets is $99.99. If you’re on a tight budget it might be a tough call but I would definitely add these to your wish list.  The quality of the hardware and the high fidelity sound make these hard to resist.

 

(updated 4/29/13 with references to ColorCore EarGels™)