Scott Hanselman

Aliph Jawbone Bluetooth Headset Review and Audio Sample

September 10, 2007 Comment on this post [14] Posted in Reviews
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jawboneI picked up an Aliph Jawbone Bluetooth Headset for the iPhone last week. I want to be able to be on conference calls while I drive up to Seattle every month. My current el-cheapo-brand headset is complete crap and you can hear the wind and road noise, and consequently I spend most of the time muted, and the rest of the time yelling.

I'm very happy with this purchase. You can pick one up at Amazon for a decent discount. Do read the reviews, but I am happy.


  • Fantastic noise-canceling feature.
  • Cool style (if you like that style, but I'm only wearing it while I'm talking on it.)
  • Light, comes with many optional ear things for left/right large/small.


  • Comparatively Fragile. Not something you'd want to just throw in your pocket.
  • Kind of hard to remember which button does what.

Take a listen to this uncompressed WAV file of me talking on the Jawbone. (I called my voice mail at Vonage while driving , then downloaded the WAV, if you care.)

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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September 10, 2007 15:15
Drive, talk, crash...
September 10, 2007 16:33
Hey, if you want to be a reckless, dangerous #sshol$, by conducting conference calls while driving on interstate highways, thats bad enough, but by writing about it as if it was a good thing gives it a multiplier factor as some other simpletons may follow your lead and upgrade to your fancyass-mobile-killing-equipment-headset.

I just want to go to work without some jerk on a conference call crashing into me, my wife and kids don't want that either.

Otherwise I enjoy your blog. Keep it up! :)

September 10, 2007 17:00
Got the same one! With similar experiences. Noise cancellation is fantastic. Had conference calls at Starbucks and nobody knew. And I also left it in my pocket one day to find the earlobe piece all bent. So ditto on that. IMHO its the best bluetooth headset around.
September 10, 2007 19:06
I have to say, I have the same opinion as Jack. If MS is 'insisting' you talk on the phone while driving like that, maybe they aren't someplace you want to work.

I'd rather think that if a manager at MS FOUND OUT that this is what you're doing, they'd insist that you NOT do it. Many managers at Nokia have that sort of policy. If they hear anyone on a teleconf talking while driving, they either ask them to pull over or insist they join later when they're stopped.
September 10, 2007 21:58
i am not impressed with the quality of the voice from your record, near 100 bucks just not cut it.
what is the old one?
September 11, 2007 9:54
While I appreciate that no one should be yanking away on the phone not paying attention to their driving, I'm not sure why there's frustration about this...I'm not "conducting" meetings, nor did MSFT "insist." I just thought it would be useful to keep both hands on the wheel, as I don't want to use my phone without a headset while driving.

How is listening in on a conference call different from talking to the passenger next to you?

I am just trying to make some use of the long 3 hour (often empty streets) drive up to Microsoft. I wanted the sound to be better, both for me to hear and for the other side.
September 11, 2007 15:44
"How is listening in on a conference call different from talking to the passenger next to you?"

You don't share the same context. The passenger next to you does.
September 11, 2007 19:24
David - Can you expand? You say this like it's matter of fact...certainly you share the same general physical area, but how does that make the passenger inherently safer to interact with?
September 11, 2007 20:11
I think by "context" David means that an in-car passenger will know to stop talking when you get into heavy traffic or otherwise need to concentrate on the road, whereas the person/people on the other of the phone won't.
September 11, 2007 23:05
Scott - some people do think that talking to other passengers in the car is safer than talking on the cell phone because they are aware of what's going on around you and (in theory) will adjust their conversation accordingly so as not to distract you from your driving. However... personally I think it depends on the person in the car, and the person using the phone. Sometimes people in the car can be more distracting if they aren't paying attention to the traffic, or using grand hand gestures while talking, or if the driver turns their head often to look at the person they are talking to.

The problem with cell phones in the cars in general is in two parts... one, you have to look down at them to dial or find your contact or answer the phone... two, you have to hold it up to your head while driving, which takes one of your hands off the wheel. The jawbone at least frees your hands so you can drive properly and talk at the same time. As to answering calls... I believe you just tap it against your head to answer, right? (when I first saw one it reminded me of a Star Trek communicator... all it needs is that little squeaky sound)

Mu husband has a jawbone, and he loves it... but just so you know he did have some problems with it (actually started with a problem with the iPhone) Dan started using his iPhone as an MP3 player, and he discovered that when he did this he could no longer be heard on incoming calls. He could dial out and talk to people, but if he answered incoming calls the person calling would hear nothing - unless he was specifically using the jawbone or the little iPod-esqe headphone/mic combo that the phone came with. This is apparently a known problem, so he took his phone back to the Apple store, they gave him a loner and sent the broken one in. Within a week we received a new iPhone in the mail, and all seemed to work fine except for his jawbone. He ended up exchanging the jawbone at the store he bought it from and now his new one works just fine. As to talking to someone who has a jawbone, just keep your window up and it sounds really good.

Let me know the next time you are coming up here, we'll have you over for dinner (my house is in a suburb close to a few Microsoft locations)
September 11, 2007 23:09
OK... I just listened to your headset recording... strike my window comment, I just need to tell Dan to use the noise canceling feature. Thanks!
September 12, 2007 4:43
Two of my colleages returned the Jawbone. One swears by it. Check out the Plantronics 510. It's a little "borg-ish," but crystal clear both ways.
September 12, 2007 6:12
Hi Scott, there seems to be a bit more to it than just "context", google "cell phone drunk driving" and check out a few of the results. I thought that most people were at least aware of this study as it made headlines. If it has been debunked, it would be interesting to know about it. As a result there are a lot of legislative initiatives underway to get it banned.

Anyway, I do know that when I talk on the phone while driving a bit of autopilot kicks in while I focus on the conversation. As a result I don't do it anymore.

Either way, I don't want to go by A) a drunken idiot doing 80 broadsiding me, or B) someone broadsiding me at 80 saying "Can you hear me now?"

Peace out.

September 17, 2007 7:37
Fat people shouldn't be allowed to eat while driving....and extraverted people or managers shouldn't be allowed to talk while driving either...period...

Mexican Dave's law.....

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.