MEGATech Reviews: Jabra Supreme UC Bluetooth Headset

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Jabra is the name in Bluetooth headsets, so when I saw that the Jabra Supreme UC cost $149.99, I wasn’t that surprised. That’s a lot of money to be sure, but you’re paying for quality, right? That’s what I set off to find out.

Twice as Nice

While Bluetooth headsets are primarily used with mobile devices, they can be just as handy when used with a desktop PC or laptop, something that Jabra is encouraging with the inclusion of a Bluetooth USB adapter. The headset can pair with two devices simultaneously, so it can be your go-to device for answering both your mobile phone and a Skype call on your computer. You know those people everyone hates because their headsets are glued to their ears? Jabra wants you to be one of those people.

Music is a No-No

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Let’s get one thing out of the way immediately. One of the features of the Supreme UC is the ability to stream music. This is also the device’s biggest letdown. Ignoring the fact that listening to music in one ear pales in comparison to listening in both (you could say it’s half the experience), the audio quality just isn’t good enough for music. While communication is of the utmost importance, music demands a higher audio quality than a phone call. If you don’t have any earbuds then yes, the headset is an option for listening to music, but it won’t be a pleasant experience.

Voice is a Yes!

That being said, the audio quality is actually pretty stellar. I had zero problems understanding everything that was said to me during phone calls, even while walking outside on a particularly windy day. When listening to WTF with Marc Maron, Marc’s gravelly voice came through crystal clear. Obviously the main purpose of any Bluetooth headset is for making and receiving phone calls, and the Supreme UC knocks it out of the park. As for general PC use, my wired 3.5mm headset still sounds better, but that’s not surprising.

I’m writing this portion of the review using the headset in conjunction with Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Voice command technology seems to be one of those things that we can’t quite pin down, and not just because of the software’s inability to accurately decipher what you say. Hardware plays a big part in it too. If your voice isn’t coming through clearly enough, that makes the software’s job even more difficult. My attempts at using Dragon NaturallySpeaking have been hit or miss, but using the Supreme UC, I’m having the most success I’ve ever had with the program. That alone should speak volumes about the audio quality.

Gaming

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Another area in which the headset shined was with gaming. Obviously you can use it for PC gaming, but as with music, you wouldn’t want to because you’d be sacrificing “surround sound” for using just one ear. The headset worked well with the PlayStation 3, however, and using it with games like Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Borderlands 2 made it extremely easy to give and receive orders. I was able to hear anonymous teenagers on the Internet call me homophobic slurs in unparalleled clarity.

Simple to Use

Next to the audio quality, the best thing about the headset is how easy it is to use it. Voice commands made pairing a breeze and if you throw the Bluetooth adapter into your computer and turn the headset on, it pairs automatically. The device automatically switches on when you flip open the boom mic and a “power on” message lets you know that the device is working. Charging the device to capacity doesn’t take more than a few hours and it took days of sporadic use for the battery to deplete. Heavy music use would surely deplete it faster, but like I said, you won’t be using the device for that.

Build and Comfort Level

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A removable hook means that the device can be worn on either ear, and my one issue in this area is that wearing glasses makes it slightly uncomfortable. I’m not sure if that’s the fault of Jabra or simply the luck of the draw. A faux-leather padding on the actual ear piece makes it very comfortable against your ear. If the padding slips off, it’s a bit of a pain to fit it back on. That said, the hook that wraps around you ear has the same leathery padding coating on it, and while it could be a tad more comfortable, it would take hours of use to really become a problem. In my experience, Bluetooth headsets are either comfortable but hang too loose, or they fit snugly but to the point of discomfort. The Supreme UC manages to find a nice balance between the two.

The construction of the device is very simple. It’s a tiny round body, not unlike a large, scary beetle, with a fold-out boom mic and adjustable/removable ear hook. Despite its light weight, it feels sturdy, though obviously you should handle all expensive electronics delicately. The Supreme UC also comes with an AC charger, a USB cable, a car charger, and a small case that snugly fits the headset and USB adapter. It would be nice if the case fit a charger as well, but a free case is a free case.

Worth the Price?

With the exception of playing music, which you shouldn’t be using a Bluetooth headset for anyway, the Supreme UC does its job extremely well. The $150 price tag might be a bit much for some (you can find it for as low as $95 online), especially since a lot of people could probably get away with using a lesser headset, but the Supreme UC is more or less without any major flaws.

About

Dylan Duarte is a freelance writer who's covered film, television, videogames, and of course tech! He's also an aspiring screenwriter and likes that watching movies is considered "work" because of it. You can follow him on twitter @dylanduarte, but be warned that it's mostly the nonsensical ramblings of a potty-mouth.

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