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Jabra Earbud for Treo 750, 700w|wx, 680, 650, 600

Wed Feb 21, 2007 - 9:56 AM EST - By Jay Gross


The first thing you notice about Jabra’s EarBud is that it doesn’t cost much. Your piggy bank will thank you. Shocking as it sounds, however, good things do come in inexpensive packages, and this one is an exceptional value.

Jabra’s line of ear equipment comprises the high tech and the low. This plebian example hooks up to your Treo with a low-tech, reliable, uncomplicated wire. There’s four feet of it, enough to reach from your pocket to your ear - plenty to tangle into a Gordian lump, so by all means take advantage of the collar clip to keep the Tangle Gremlins at bay.

Tangles aside, I like wired headsets because they don’t depend on high-tech networking to connect up. Plug them in and you’re instantly on the phone, talking and listening without making excuses ("Hold on a sec while I re-pair my headset"). I’ve found Bluetooth pairing to be particularly problematic on my 700p, so while I might try to get one working during a call on my 650, I wouldn’t on the 700p.


The Jabra EarBud’s connector is a Treo-standard 2.5-mm earphone plug. It needs no adapter. Just plug its no-tech wire directly into the high-tech phone. It’s not stereo, so only one ear needed, a good arrangement if you’re using the headset while driving, keeping your other ear available for warning sounds, like your passengers yelling about that oncoming train.

The EarBud weighs in at nearly nothing – 18 grams, a smidge less than two thirds of an ounce, and that includes one of the ear gels (the medium sized one, if you must know). Except for the tangle problem, it’ll find a happy home it in a pocket, where it’ll be accessible when you need it. I don’t keep my headsets plugged in (or paired) all the time, but use them only when I’m contemplating a long phone call, or one during which I might need both hands to operate the computer keyboard, a knife and fork, or other contrivance. However, I frequently see people going forth in the world wired up. I think they put on their headsets like articles of clothing. Shirt, shoes, headset…

In use, Jabra’s device wedges into your outer ear. It has no ear hook, just the selection of gels, on which Jabra claims to hold a patent. (They’re lucky I don’t work in the US Patent Office, or maybe you can patent common sense now.)

Spend some time experimenting with the gels to achieve a comfortable fit that stays put. The angle of the gel is as important as the size you choose, and you can’t easily rotate the gel after it’s in your ear. The package contains six gels, two each in small, medium and large, and I found the fit good and snug, reasonably immune to falling out.

Even so, animated discussions might result in dislodging the Bud, though it’s easy to put back. If you talk while replacing the ear piece, the caller might not even notice the difference.

The collar clip relieves strain on the ear nicely. Wonder who patented that? With the clip in place, your ear supports only a few inches of wire, rather than the whole contraption.

The comfort issue is a matter of personal taste. If you’re okay with things perched in your outer ear, then you’ll be fine. If not, you might want to opt out of ear buds in general, and go for something that surrounds your ear (circum-aural).

With the Bud in your ear, its microphone, an inch-long bulge in the wire, dangles near your mouth. It contains an on-off switch. I can’t imagine why this is such a big deal – it’s promoted in two places on the package – but there it is. The Bud is not externally powered – no batteries or recharging needed – so "off" is a relative term.

The device’s connector is angled, rather than straight, but the Treo with EarBud attached probably won’t fit on a charging cradle.

Sound quality

For its tiny size and tiny price, Jabra’s EarBud provides excellent sound quality, both incoming and outgoing. I’m particularly impressed with the volume of its incoming sound. In noisy environments – coffee houses, sidewalks, airports, bawdy houses – that extra sound oomph is most welcome. The EarBud’s volume can be turned down (or up) with the side buttons on the Treo, and for sensitive ears in quiet areas, you might even need to attenuate it a bit.

Even at full volume, the sound quality is quite decent, but at two-thirds power it’s excellent, with little distortion. I tested this with music, rather than voice -- even though the device isn’t intended for that use -- because music more readily shows up any distortion. The EarBud’s not my choice for music listening, but it’s way decent.

Being wired, the ear bud shows very little "echo" effect, a frequent problem among higher-tech headsets.

I have previously written about two wired headsets , the Seidio 2-in-1 hybrid headset Review | Buy, and Palm’s Hybrid Headset Review | Buy. If only Jabra’s EarBud were stereo -- this one would outperform both of them.

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