Bluetooth headsets get a bad press. Although they are amazingly practical, allowing you to use your phone whilst keeping your hands free, they've always had something of an image problem. A problem that is probably reinforced by just about every estate agent in the world rolling up to meet you in his flashy BMW, wearing his Bluetooth headset.
Stereo headsets can perhaps be seen in a different light and the Jabra Halo in a different light altogether. The Jabra Halo gives you a compact a slickly-designed headphone arrangement more at home on hoodies than regional sales managers.
A uniformally slim profile right round the headband, the Halo will also slip under the afore-mentioned offending hood with ease, and no one would even know you were wearing them.
The Jabra Halo folds too, making it into a more convenient bundle to pack into a bag – with a touch neoprene cover in the box – once you arrive at your destination. They don't fold as flat as some wired models because of the 29mm wide headband.
The actual earpieces are adjustable so you can fit the headphones to your head and perfectly comfortable for wearing for long periods, thanks to them being really light. Of course there is no adjustment to the shape of the actual band, so if you have a uniquely shaped head, you might find the Halo rests on a few high points on your skull.
The right-hand ear contains all the workings, with a single button in the centre, and a touch area on the leading edge. This touch area will all you to adjust the volume of the music you are listening to as well as skip tracks back and forwards, as long as your connected Bluetooth device accepts it.
The single central button lets you pause your music (although we found performance varies depending on what Bluetooth device you are using it with). That same button also lets you accept and hang-up calls. When a call comes in, the music fades, you hit the button, and take your phone call.
In our tests we found that the Halo performed well in calls. Jabra boast that their headset contains a technology named Noise Blackout which helps your voice stand-out and avoid background nasties. In practise it works pretty well, especially considering that you don't have a mic poking out across your face. We tested it in a variety of backgrounds and never had any complaints: your voice can come across as rather distant, but it is still clear. Equally, incoming callers were loud and clear.
As a stereo headset however, it is pitched at those that want to listen to music from their phone too, so the Halo forms a perfect companion for all those music phones on the market.
Audio performance is pretty good, providing a nice bassy, rich audio experience; the Jabra Halo perform better than many of the bundled in-ear headphones that you get with mobile phones. But the performance doesn't match that which you'll get from some of the more substantial cans out there. The design of the Halo also means that sound leakage is a bit of a problem as you turn the volume up.
A Micro-USB socket lives at the bottom of the right-hand earpiece and allows charging, as well as connecting up to a 3.5mm cables to hookup to audio devices without Bluetooth. It's a nice move, meaning that you don't need additional headphones for your iPod.
In the box you get a wall charger, the 3.5mm cable, a short Micro-USB cable for charging and the neoprene cover, so you are covered for most possibilities. The battery will give you 8 hours of talk and music and 13 days of standby and charges in 2 hours.
Overall we like the Jabra Halo. A unique design that folds away securely enough to survive kicking around the bottom of your bag. We were happy with the audio performance and impressed with how comfortable they were to wear over long periods.
If you are looking for a smart and unique stereo Bluetooth headset, then the Jabra Halo might just be for you.