Jabra has been in the Bluetooth headset market for a long time, but when Jabra first released the Stone Bluetooth headset, it didn't quite get the likes of everyone due to its performance. Jabra has since released the Stone 2 with an even sleeker finish and added features in hopes that it will improve on its predecessor. While the Stone 2 has kept the streamline unique design as its predecessor, it still doesn't look like your typical Bluetooth headset. Instead, it looks more like a futuristic device straight out of a sci-fi movie. Good looks aren't the only thing you want in a Bluetooth headset tough. A solid performing Bluetooth headset will indubitably make your mobile life much easier. Find out if the Jabra Stone 2 will be worth your hard earned cash right after the jump.
The Stone 2 will run you $129.99, and comes in a sleek glossy, midnight blue color if you get the AT&T model while the Stone 2 at Verizon sports a black leather finish. Both have the same exact features just two different types of colors exclusive to each carrier. What Jabra has sent out for this review was the AT&T version. In the box you will find a few accessories with the Stone 2 headset like various ear tips, a short USB charging cable, a wall charging adapter, shirt clip and the Stone charging dock. Right out of the box you can see the limitations of the wall charger. The cable is simply too short. I understand that having a short USB charging cable to use with a laptop is a portable solution, but having an equally short cable on the wall charger isn't good enough.
Compared to a plethora of Bluetooth headsets available on the market, the Stone 2 isn't the first to have its own portable charging dock, but Jabra has best incorporated the two together in the most streamline way possible. The pebble-like design of the Stone charger lets the Stone 2 headset dock and charge as if they were as one. It's the sleekest of the two I've ever seen. The good thing about the Stone charger is that it can charge the Stone 2 headset while you're on the go and away from a power source providing you with an additional 8 hours of talk time and battery life. That sounds pretty amazing at first, but if we take a closer look at the actual battery life of the Stone 2 headset itself, it's a whole different story.
The Stone 2 headset can only pack enough juice for 2 hours of talk time. In my testing I quickly found out that the not so impressive advertised talk time of 2 hours, turned out to be even less in real world usage. Compared to other Bluetooth headsets, the Stone 2 has a very poor battery performance. Yes the Stone charger can always be kept around to recharge the Stone 2 headset, but that's just not always practical it turns out. I did like the fast recharge time of roughly about 20 minutes to fully charge the headset back up using the Stone charger. It's small enough to easily carry around with you inside your pocket and as easy to forget somewhere. Which yet brings me to another drawback with the whole Stone 2 package. You will only be able to charge your Stone 2 headset using the Stone charger which is a letdown. Now you've got two very important accessories you need to always keep track of. Lose either one, and you've just wasted $130.
The build quality of the Jabra Stone 2 seems to be durable. The whole one-piece design feels much better than other Bluetooth headsets with moving parts such as ear hooks making the Stone 2 feel substantially solid. One thing I didn't like about the built quality was the use of only plastic materials. The headset's front glossy plastic feels cheap and surely not worth its price tag. Jabra has invested a lot into the design and made a wonderful looking headset with a future-proof design, but very little into the actual materials that were used. Same goes for the portable Stone charger, however I care more for the headset having a better build quality than the charger.
One of the most important aspects in a Bluetooth headset is comfort. Without a good comfortable feeling, your day will most likely turn out to be not very productive. The Stone 2's plastic construction turns out to be really helpful when it comes down to comfort. The Stone 2 is very lightweight and becomes unnoticeable around your ear. Having used many Bluetooth headsets, the Stone 2 is hands down the most comfortable out of the bunch. No matter what you do in your daily routine, the Stone 2 will keep itself close to your ear without falling off. You can be wearing it all day long and not even notice its there. As for different ear sizes, it may depend on your personal preference whether or not the Stone 2 will fit you as well as it fits me. There aren't any adjustments you can make other than changing the eargels included.
The Stone 2's features are typical for today's Bluetooth headsets. You will find only one physical button the Stone 2 headset and with it you can answer and end a call, power the unit on and off as well as start a pairing process. The whole front surface of the Stone 2 is touch sensitive for controlling the volume level. It's works very well each time by sliding a finger up or down to control the volume. The Stone 2 is equipped with Noise Blackout Extreme to reduce background noise when on a call. Unfortunately I haven't noticed it being effective at all and others could easily hear background noise on my end of the call. Jawbone headsets are a much better alternative when it comes to active noise-cancellation. Jabra has also added a new voice command system to the Stone 2 which lets users place, answer and end calls with their own voice. Without the use of a 3rd party app from Jarbra, the Stone 2's voice recognition is very poor. I had to wait a few seconds after I clearly said "answer" to take an incoming call before the call actually got picked up.
Other little features such as a battery status indicator will pop up if you're using an iPhone with the Stone 2 or you can alternatively tap the answer/end call button to have the status of your Stone 2's battery life spoken to you. Unlike other offerings from Jawbone and BlueAnt, the Stone 2's Voice Guidance used in the Stone 2 to inform you of various statuses like incoming calls, battery life, help with the pairing process and more, isn't as attractive as its reviles who offer much smoother and sexier voices in their voice guidance. The Stone 2 supports A2DP audio streaming which lets you stream music and multimedia from your phone. It's not going to replace your headphones, but it's nice knowing you've got that option. Battery indicator lights can be found on the back of the headset as well as on the Stone charger so you're always in the know-zone when it comes to battery life.
The sound quality is nothing to brag about and is pretty much a standard when it comes to similarly priced Bluetooth headsets. I could hear people loud and clearly and vice versa. For some reason I could hear faint static and hissing noise while using the Stone 2 even with it just being turned on and on my ear. Background noise does seem to get picked up even though the Stone 2 does indeed have Noise Blackout Extreme which was proven to not be very effective. When compared against other Bluetooth headsets such as the BlueAnt Q2, the Stone 2 falls short when it comes to audio quality and voice recognition.
Having been in the Bluetooth headset market for such a long time, I would have expected much more coming from Jabra. The Jabra Stone 2 is best for its extremely comfortable design. The terrible battery life, bad noise-cancellation performance and limited charging options greatly reduce the effectiveness of the entire headset. The Stone 2 does have a few strong points, however there are much better options available right now. If you don't mind the plasticky build quality and having to constantly recharge your headset while carrying around a proprietary charger, the Stone 2 might be a good choice for you at a high price tag of $129.99.