Jabra Clipper Bluetooth headset review

The Jabra Clipper is a twist on the traditional Bluetooth design, aimed more at those who want to use it for music than those who are just looking for handsfree calls on their mobile phone.

As the name suggests, the Clipper takes the form of a clip, the device set around a central metal spring clip. As such is measures 47.95 x 25.50 x 16.45mm, the 16mm being at the fat end, tapering down to the opening of the clip where it is 11mm thick. It weighs only 20g.

It's a simple design, the rubberised black outer wrapping around the strong central clip. The clip will let you attach it to anything up to 4mm thick and it is really aimed at your clothing or a strap on a bag.

A Micro-USB charging socket is hidden on the bottom of the Clipper and lives under a discrete flap, mirrored by the 3.5mm headphone jack on the top. Whilst some clip-on devices only offer you 1 earpiece or attached headphones, the Clipper gives you the flexibility to use your own.

Bundled in the box is a set of headphones on a short cable, which defines how Jabra intend the Clipper to be worn. This isn't for clipping on your jeans: the length of the cable means you have to clip it somewhere around the top half of your body.

The main reason for this is the calling functions that the Clipper supports. It contains a small microphone for making calls which we found needed to be fairly close to the mouth so the other person could hear us clearly. Obviously, if it is clipped half-way down the front of your jacket, or behind your head, this isn't going to work (we know, we tried). The optimal position was just down from the collar on a coat. If you don't take calls too frequently, you might be happy to unclip the Clipper and hold it closer to your mouth, which works equally well.

With that in mind, you are perfectly free to ditch Jabra's supplied headphones and use any other set of 'phones with a 3.5mm jack. If you have some short cable headphones then great - you won't end up with lost of spare cable dangling around your person and you'll improve the audio quality you get. Some headphones, for example some Shure models, come with a two-piece cable, which would step around this problem nicely.

Whilst the bundled headphones are okay - better than most you'll find bundled with your latest gadgets - they are a little unsubstantial on the bass and detail. We found ourselves turning the volume up. They offer a degree of noise isolation as they are in-ear types, with a choice of three rubber tips to get the best fit. We swapped them out for our regular Philips SHE9800 and found a much better response.

Swapping for your regular headphones will probably mean you have a full cable length, giving you the flexibility to put the Clipper wherever you like. As we've said, this will cause some call complications, but we like the freedom of the 3.5mm jack.

Control of the device is simple. On the body is a central multi-function button within an encircling moulded ridge which offers the volume up and down. Once paired, it works like a Bluetooth headset, the multi-function button letting you power the Clipper on and off, accept, reject, redial and hang-up calls and pause your music. The volume controls also let you skip tracks and mute the mic if you need to when in a call. The controls are distinct and easy to use without you having to look.

In use and we were pleased with the results. It was straightforward to pair with a mobile phone and then held a solid connection so we could listen to music with no signal dropping. There is plenty of volume on offer if you need it. The Jabra Clipper supports Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and A2DP.

We've experienced drop-out with Bluetooth music devices before, including some from Jabra. We tested the Clipper with a BlackBerry Bold 9700 (not the greatest device for listening to music, thankfully enhanced by the Clipper's controls). During the test period we found the connection to be solid, with no drop-outs at all. This might not be the case for all phones and is a persistent caveat with all Bluetooth music devices.

Call quality was reasonable, although you'll find that talking with both headphones in your ears can be a little disorienting, so you'll probably have to remove one ear piece to restore a little balance. Callers reported that they could hear us clearly, but were also aware of background noise. We still managed to have a normal conversation in busy shopping areas and walking along a busy road.

Charging takes 2 hours, which will give you 6 hours of talktime and 8 days of standby. The Clipper also supports Multiuse, which lets you connect to two devices simultaneously, your phone and PC for example.

Verdict

The Jabra Clipper is an innovative and practical twist on the Bluetooth system, offering a good solution for those that want to listen to music without having to be plugged into your phone and still have calling functions.

The bundled headphones might not be the best, but they are better than your average mobile phone headphones and you can always use your own if you are not happy with the performance.

Easy to control and affordable, the Jabra Clipper is a great little device and well worth the cash.