PROS / The Jawbone Icon HD combines great high-definition audio with military-grade noise cancellation. MyTalk app platform offers downloadable apps.
CONS / There's no volume control on the device. There's also no caller ID.
VERDICT / The Jawbone Icon HD offers HD-quality sound. The NoiseAssassin 3.0 is one of the best noise cancellation systems on the market.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Jawbone is famous for developing the NoiseAssassin noise cancellation system for military purposes, making it one of the best noise cancellation technologies for Bluetooth headsets. The NoiseAssassin is currently in version 3.0 but the Jawbone Icon HD uses version 2.5. The only noticeable difference between the 3.0 and the 2.5 is the added auto-adjust volume control, a feature that increases or decreases the volume to match the background noise so that you can always hear your caller comfortably.
However, the auto-adjust volume feature in the 3.0 was disappointing and unreliable. Because audio volume comfort is mostly dependent on the user's preferences and hearing ability, auto-adjust volume features can be frustrating and very noticeable. You want to be able to customize your sound levels to your ears. The Icon HD allows you to do this.
Unfortunately, the Icon HD doesn't have a volume control button or rocker on the device, so you must control the volume from your phone. Removing your phone from your pocket or purse every time you want to turn the volume up or down undermines the purpose of a hands-free Bluetooth device.
Jawbone upgraded the audio driver in this version of the Icon Bluetooth headset by adding a dynamic 10 mm wideband speaker. This gives you HD voice that's comparable to the best Bluetooth headsets in our review. Your caller's voice will sound crisp and clear, though there can be some buzzing or hissing during moments of silence. The Icon HD is great for streaming audio like podcasts, audio books or music, if you don't mind listening to music through one ear.
With seven different earbuds, you have a better chance of finding a size and shape that fits your ear. Three of the earbuds have a rounded stabilizer extension that creates tension against the hollow part of your outer ear. This tension is supposed to hold the earpiece securely in your ear. However, the rounded design often fails to secure the headset in your ear despite the light weight of the headset. Fortunately, an over-ear hook is included to add extra stability so you don't have to worry about it falling out.
The Jawbone Icon HD is compatible with Jawbone's MyTalk platform that allows you to download apps specifically for the headset. MyTalk gives the headset speech-to-text and text-to-speech features and allows you to customize the voice you hear when you're given voice prompts or when you receive a text. The app also allows you to have your emails and news stories read to you through the headset.
Despite all the apps you can download, one disappointment is the lack of caller ID. Because the headset lacks the PBAP Bluetooth profile, which allows the headset to access your phone's contact list for caller ID purposes, you'll only hear the phone number of your callers.
One of the optional features of the Icon HD is a feature Jawbone calls the Nerd, a USB audio adapter that allows you to connect to your computer. Most computers have Bluetooth compatibility, but it can be difficult to pair your Bluetooth headset with your computer. The Nerd makes this connection easy, allowing you to use your headset like a VoIP headset for gaming, Skyping or streaming audio. In addition, because you can pair to multiple Bluetooth devices at the same time, you can still receive phone calls while connected to the Nerd. However, the Nerd costs extra.
With high definition wideband audio and one of the best noise cancellation systems in the NoiseAssassin 2.5, you can't go wrong with the Jawbone Icon HD. With the MyTalk platform of apps, you can customize your hands-free experience. If you don't mind the extra cost, the Nerd allows you to easily pair the Icon with your computer.