Jawbone > BlueAnt Z9

April 16, 2008

Last week I purchased a BlueAnt Z9 Bluetooth headset, all the while knowing that I would likely return it. And that's just what I did.

I'll keep this ‘review' really short, as it's the same story you've heard me tell a million times before, namely that — and this is a real shocker — the <insert headset name> simply does not eliminate background noise as well as the Jawbone. The Z9 just continues the streak. It sounded OK (both on my end and the receiver's), fit my ear fairly well, and offered decent noise isolation, but really, we've been spoiled by the Jawbone.

I'm not sure why I even hold out hope anymore; you'll remember that I was similarly dissatisfied with the nXZEN nX6000 and the Motorola MOTOPURE H12, among many others. Speaking of the H12, allow me to quote from that piece:

I'll be honest, I'm kind of tired of buying these things and always being disappointed (what is this, like my 20th Bluetooth headset?). Here's to hoping Aliph can use its recent $5 million cash infusion to remedy all of the original Jawbone's shortcomings; if they make it smaller, louder, and impervious to wind, it's going to be untouchable.

As it just so happens, the next-gen Jawbone made its way to the FCC a few days ago, and so it may be soon that we'll be able to see how far they've come in the last year and a half; my uninformed guess is that the issues I have with the current version (see above) have been resolved (OK, maybe not the impervious-to-wind thing, but I bet they've addressed the problem to some extent).

That said, I'm hoping the design of this second version isn't an indication of its technical capabilities; if it is, they may be in trouble. I'm not sure what the diamond pattern on the model supplied to the FCC is all about, but I'll assume, for at least my own public-use reasons, that flat, smooth versions will be offered (right?!?). Maybe they're just bad pictures. Let's hope.

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