Here's our Hardware Tip for.. December 11, 2011
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The Jawbone Icon HD and “The Nerd”

Howard Sobel, WUGNET Reviews Editor

Jawbone started to differentiate itself from the rest of the Bluetooth crowd when it created a small limited appstore called “My Talk” which allowed you to upload Jawbone’s and other Jawbone compatible services software to your device. Jawbone also allowed you to upgrade your firmware within its MY TALK portal with Jawbone “Updater”. This year, Jawbone has pulled away from the pack again with the Nerd, Up Band, and Jambox. Jawbone site

I tested the Jawbone HD and the Nerd and was impressed with both. Jawbone has become my favorite Bluetooth provider. I’ve used devices from competitors and Jawbone has taken the lead on many levels. Plantronic’s Voyager Pro was a nicely performing device for me but I think I left it at the Post Office never to be found again. But I won’t miss its proboscis which stood out and made me look like a airline pilot speaking to control tower.

I like Blue Ant which we’ve reviewed before and found it’s a strong competitor to Jawbone in some respects of its early support for voice /music (A2FG) and multiple device support.

Jawbone has pulled away from the pack and is running a strong race. First let’s talk about performance of the Jawbone HD. Initially I thought Jawbone fell short with its noise cancelling technology. Opps, then realized I didn’t have Noise Assassin® originally developed for use by tank commanders and helicopter pilots . Once turned on all the complaints from my contacts about quality stopped immediately and the performance was great in all environments. As I delved into MyTalk, I made sure to update to the latest firmware. Then I found I could choose my favorite voice. I like The Bombshell but you can choose from The HERO, The CATCH, The ROGUE, The THINKER, or The ACE. If you prefer a different language, MyTALK also offers six localized versions. Spanish, French , German, and Japanese are supported as well as Mandarin and Cantonese dialects of Chinese.

Then I tried out the DialApps

DialApps let you customize an easy access button that links your Jawbone device directly to 411, voice-to-SMS and voice dial services. Some apps even let you use voice to listen and post to Facebook/Twitter. Once you select and sync a DialApp, all you have to do is press your Jawbone's TALK Button for 2 seconds to activate. DialApps save you time and give you true hands-free freedom...leave the phone in your pocket and make your calls with the touch of a button.

I found the Voicetogo service similar but better than Jott which was pulled off the market when Nuance began to dance with Apple. VoiceontheGo with one click allows you to do very useful tasks with simple voice commands all from a voice driven prompted/menu. This is a great option for those on the go who need to do some business with as little distraction as possible while driving and without taking your eyes off the road. Sample commands allow you to set Reminders, send text messages, listen to email, respond to email, update Twitter or Facebook or Evernote.

Jawbone Thoughts a twist on a Jott feature allows you to record voice reminders. The App is available on the Apple Appstore. If you’re an Android fan you may like The Companion. You need to keep checking the site to see what’s new and on which mobile platform.

The Jawbone HD is now my #1 Bluetooth favorite until someone catches up with full-spectrum, HD-quality sound. Now Enter “The Nerd” “The Nerd” is a simple small footprint USB device that allows you to some pretty cool things.

One of the coolest things about “The Nerd” is the ability to use it as a wireless microphone that is avilable to your PC or Mac and apps that support a Mic. The ability to chat on Skype on my PC and walk around with hands free great clarity sound. This feature alone justifies the price for me. Finally I’m free from my tether. Yea I could use my iphone but I like the clarity and freedom offered by “The Nerd”. You can also listen to your music collection within range of about 30 feet or so. For more information head over to Jawbone and see what there up too. Their Up Band helps you integrate technology with a healthy lifestyle and they claim the Jambox is the smallest, best sounding wireless speaker and speakerphone on the planet.

The Good Stuff

  • Superior Noise Reduction and Clarity.
  • Simultaneous Multipoint gives you the flexibility to manage audio and calls from two different phones or Bluetooth® devices at the same time.
  • 5 Hour Battery Life (We usually got 4 hours).
  • List price for ICON HD $99.00 (with Nerd) $139.99 USD
  • Included seven earbuds and an optional binaural earloop.
  • Ability to Update firmware and apps.

    The Other Stuff

    A little pricey but what do you expect for quality and innovation?