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Review: Jabra Halo Smart

[wpsm_highlight color=”yellow”]Price: $80[/wpsm_highlight]

Jabra is best known for its mono Bluetooth headsets, though it’s proven that it can make capable stereo headphones as well, like the excellent Jabra Move Wireless. The company tries to have it both ways with the $79.99 Halo Smart, a pair of Bluetooth earphones that focus on call quality as much as music.

While the well-designed, wind-protected microphone lets your voice come through clearly on phone calls, the earphones lack the bass presence and high-end clarity to offer a truly compelling musical experience. The headset consists of a U-shaped neckband, from which the two earphones extend on short cables. The earphones themselves are mounted on small P-shaped plastic extensions with built-in magnets that let them stick together or connect loosely to magnets in the neckband when not in use, to reduce dangling.

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The earpieces lack any sort of stabilizing earfin or hook, but they sat comfortably and securely in my ears without any adjustment. The right arm of the neckband holds three buttons for volume and playback control. The side buttons adjust volume level when tapped and rewind/skip forward when held down. The center button plays and pauses music, and answers calls.

The left arm holds a single Voice button that activates your smartphone’s voice assistant (Siri on iOS, Google Now on Android), or mutes the microphone when on a voice call. The microphone also sits at the end of the left arm. A micro USB port for charging sits behind a small rubber door at the bottom of the back of the neckband.

Jabra estimates that the Halo Smart can last up to 15 hours buy cheap cipro when playing music, or up to 17 hours of call time, which is roughly double what we typically see. Besides a short micro USB cable and three additional pairs of differently sized eartips, the Halo Smart doesn’t come with any accessories.

Jabra built the Halo Smart primarily with voice communication in mind, and it hands calls extremely well. Thanks to the microphone array on the neckband (which is larger than the mic you’ll find in the inline remotes of most earphones) and capable noise cancellation, my voice came through clearly, even for calls made on a fairly busy city street during testing. If you want a stereo alternative to the traditional mono Bluetooth headset, the Halo Smart is worth considering.

It doesn’t fare quite so well with music, but its performance is solid considering its price; most Bluetooth earphones are $100 or more, and the sub-$100 models we’ve tested offer similar or slightly inferior music playback (and lack the Halo Smart’s excellent call quality).

If you want a stereo Bluetooth headset you can count on for voice calls, the Jabra Halo Smart is a very good option. You can do a lot better on the music side by spending just a bit more, though, to get headphones that offer much better audio quality, though its inline mic isn’t quite as impressive. You can also get excellent sound for much less if you go for a wired option. You can also split the difference by picking up an inexpensive mono headset for calls to use alongside a pair of wired earphones for music.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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