Jabra JX10 Cara

Words can only set the scene and pictures don’t do it justice. There was a moment at my desk, while I sat in my wooden chair when this suddenly made perfect sense to me.

Jacob Jensen, who up until now was unknown to me, designed the Jabra JX10. The man has been around since 1926, that puts him at about 82 years of age and he has over 500 products under his name. This includes everything from wind turbines, watches and kitchen appliances to sound systems, telephones and doorbells. So it’s a safe bet that when it comes to design, Jensen knows his stuff and that’s why Jabra employed his expertise when it came to the JX10.

Branded as the most exclusive Bluetooth headset to date, the JX10 Cara is a 24-carat gold plated earpiece featuring a rechargeable lithium polymer battery capable of 200 hours of standby time and up to six hours of talk time.

Simple minimalist designs are what Jensen knows best so it’s no surprise to find that the JX10 Cara features a beautiful exterior, with gold plating and a very striking gold line going down the middle. This design is reflected at the back, even though the only person that will ever see it is you, and only for the short time before you put it in to your ear.

Everything has been carefully designed, from the symmetrical curves to the placing of the main button and volume keys; hidden from sight yet still easily accessible.

But lets not forget about the packaging. For a long time now, I’ve been saying how important packaging is to the respective owner. The moment when that person first opens up the box and takes the contents out. What does that person see first and how well laid out are the bits and pieces?

The opulent black box that the JX10 comes in is finished to the same detail as the product itself. At the front you will find an outline of the headset with a simple gold line going down the middle, open the magnetically closed box and you find the exact mirror image on the other side. The first thing you see is the JX10 sitting embedded in the black foam. It’s almost like opening up a piece of jewellery to find it in the middle ready to be plucked.

Take the black foam away and you uncover the accessories and your special mini-black-envelope with your unique JX10 Cara serial number. At this point I could tell that Jensen not only thought about the product, but either he or someone else carried on the attention to design throughout the rest of the ‘experience’ of owning a JX10 Cara.

Inside you will find the desktop charger stand, USB charging cable, mains adapter, cigarette power adapter and a case not dissimilar to what a ring or set of ear rings would come in, and inside the case you’ll find the lanyard and ear hook.

The ear hook can be attached in various ways depending on what is most comfortable for you. I tried it in the traditional way that I do with all other headsets I’ve used and because the JX10 is so lightweight, it was comfortable enough to endure a three hour drive.

Charge time is rated at two hours and Jabra have included the desktop stand that connects to a USB source, mains power and cigarette adapter. The Bluetooth distance I was able to get came to about seven metres before the signal deteriorated to the point where the person on the other end wasn’t able to hear me.

In a world of fashion and design where form conquers functionality, I was relieved to find that the JX10 wasn’t a victim of this paradigm. There are two volume buttons on the upper edge of the headset (heading towards the back of your head) and despite the deceptive appearance only one other button exists inside the curve at the side.

This main button is multi-function and will answer/end your calls, activate voice recognition on a compatible phone, reject the call and call hold/waiting (providing your phone is supported). When you read through the list, I did find one key feature missing. There’s no voice isolation, however the hardware inside adjusts the volume of the microphone according to the background and environment noise. Testing this on the road travelling at 60mph, it worked quite well but not quite so well as using true voice isolation to eliminate background noise.

Pairing the JX10 with my K800i was effortless, but does involve you pushing a well-hidden button on the underneath of the headset. Hit that and it will allow your mobile phone to pair with it.

Sound quality in quiet environments was excellent with distances up to five metres and going through several walls, beyond that and you start to get interference and deterioration of the signal quality. This can of course vary depending on the level of interference in the environment you’re in.

Once you get past the exquisite packaging that you don’t ever want to throw away, and you see through the 24-carat gold, you come to realise that there are only several types of people that can really wear this. Those that drive an expensive car or those who wear expensive clothes. A quick search on the web found prices for the JX10 coming in at about £140, which is no small price to pay for a Bluetooth headset. It does however make an excellent present this Christmas for the special someone who has everything.

2007-12-13 Onwah Tsang

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