Wow, headphones, where do I start. I seem to have some weird fixation with them and I own quite a few pairs.
Up until a few months ago my favourites for music listening were my Sony MDR-V55 pair which served me well for years and apart from being a little creaky are an absolute bargain.
In order to try and consolidate a few of these roles I set about looking for a new wireless jack-of-all-trades. After flirting with the idea of buying the top end Sennheiser Momentum Wireless, I re-aligned my shortlist with my more meagre budget and after much research went instead for the Jabra Revo Wireless. And let me tell you that’s been no hardship. These are crackers.
Design, Build & Comfort
Over-ear headphones are great (ones that go around your ears), but their size means they’re impractical for travelling. I wanted my new cans to be easily portable and the foldable aspect of the Jabras means they pack up nice and neat.
The Revos’s have memory foam ear-cups which are really comfortable and keep sound leakage low. The clamping force is just about right and while they are not featherlight the spongey padded headband makes them comfortable even for long periods of wear.
In addition to their comfort, Jabra are keen to push the durable aspect and build quality of these cans with their ‘shatterproof’ headband, aluminium frame and steel hinges. Although with all that said, they only come with a 1 year warranty. I’d have liked to have seen Jabra make that at least 2 years if they are confident of their claims they are ‘LifeProof’.
The Revo Wireless come in four colours, I went with the black (model 100-96700000-60) which are trimmed with subtle orange accents.
Performance & Features
Let me start by telling you that I recently took the Tidal HD Music Trial, a test designed to show the difference between the standard and high quality versions of their tracks. I struggled to hear any difference and actually picked the lower quality track as my preference in 4 out of the 5. Far from being an audiophile then, after years of listening to loud music my old ears may well be shot.
Saying all that though, I do know I much prefer a warmer more rounded bassy sound that the thinner more anaemic tones of some headphones which are perhaps more ‘pure’ in their reproduction. I listen to a mix of genres but a lot of Electronic music and my whether its Röyksopp or Yazoo, it sounds good on the Revo’s 40mm drivers. The bass never gets boomy or tiring (al la Beats) and there’s plenty of mid-range and highs too.
The left ear cup is NFC equipped for touch pairing with your device, handy if it supports it, iPhone users need not apply currently. The unit can remember up to 8 devices and be paired with 2 simultaneously.
You can control your music (and phone calls) with the Revo’s ‘Turntable Touch Controls’. Play, pause, and skip tracks by simply swiping or tapping the right ear cup. Stroke your finger in a clock-wise circular motion to turn the volume up and anti-clockwise for down. It’s all pretty intuitive and works well (firmware v4.0 reviewed). My better half regularly nicks them when watching movies on her iPad. The built in mic lets you make and take calls too.
I found the battery takes at least 4 hours to charge from empty, but once fully juiced it provides an impressive battery life. It’s quoted as ‘up to 12 hours’ (10 days standby) but I’ve yet to be able to run them flat in a single session. I was pleased to be able to test this out on a recent transatlantic flight – the first one I’ve been on where bluetooth was allowed in-flight. I’m happy to report they were still going strong by the end of the 8 hours (and still comfortable).
If you do find yourself out of battery, or on an airline with less 21st century policies, then you can use the included tangle free cables. As well as the 3.5mm Jack to Jack, there’s a USB to mini Jack for computer use (PCs and Mac’s supported).
Jabra provide a free smartphone app to give you enhanced “High Definition Dolby Digital Plus Sound”. Theres no nice way to say this. The app is junk, don’t bother. From the initial experience of having to look through the paperwork to find the licence code, to the incredibly slow import of your iTunes Library, there’s nothing good about the experience. But you don’t need it.
Many new smart watches are able to store and play music independently of their smartphone partners, providing you have bluetooth headphones like the Revos and they work great with my Apple Watch (read my review) including the touch controls for volume and navigation.
The Jabra Revo Wireless are bluetooth headphones that come pretty close to serving all my needs. While the RRP is around £170 the current web price is under £100.
They are loud enough to use to listen to audio books and podcasts on the lawn mower and so much better without wires. No more catching the cables and pulling my ear buds out the old way, I even use these things when washing the car now too. You can’t underestimate the freedom from wires, I’m never going back to that tangle.