Durban - If the name Jabra doesn’t ring any bells, you could be forgiven. The Denmark-based maker of headsets and speakerphones is big in the US and Europe, but still fairly unknown in South Africa.
But you can expect all that to change quite rapidly. The company recently announced an aggressive push into the local market with a line of stereo music headphones and portable speakers.
With more and more South Africans using smartphones to download or, increasingly, stream music, it’s a canny move. “As a business that understands the headset and speakerphone market intrinsically, we are always opting for new markets to expand into,” said says Ahmed Elkalliny, Jabra’s sales director for the Middle East and Africa.
“After some careful market research, we realised that South Africa cannot be ignored, given its mobile revolution and consumer adoption of gadgets and technology.”
It’s great to see companies of the calibre of Jabra recognising that South Africa isn’t a technological backwater and putting their money where their mouths are. Anyone wanting one of Jabra’s new headphones will need to do likewise, with prices starting at R1 400 for the Vox, an earbud-style pair of headphones, right up to R4 000 for the Revo Wireless over ear headphones.
So are they worth the money? I’ve been testing the range topping Revo Wireless over the past couple of weeks and am happy to report it holds its own against similarly priced – and several more expensive – rivals.
First impressions are favourable, with these headphones exuding quality without being too flashy. The understated colour scheme, blacks and greys with accents of red, may be too muted for some, but I for one don’t want my cans crying gangster. The Revo also feel great, both in the hand and on the head, thanks to a judicious mix of plastic and aluminium materials, slide adjustable earcups and superb, but subtle padding in all the right places.
It feels like a pair of headphones that’s built to take some punishment and that’s no mistake it turns out.
“Headphones are subjected to a lot of wear and tear, so consumers are demanding that they are designed to withstand the rigours of regular use,” Elkalliny said.
“Jabra’s line of stereo products has been tested to the extreme, undergoing drop tests, bend tests, fold tests, cable tests, dirt tests and more. These headphones are built to last, without sacrificing style or sound quality.”
I can attest to the toughness part. But what about sound quality? I was pretty impressed. Music playback is clear, with warm lows and fine mid-range performance, although bass could be a little overbearing at times. As is often the case, sound was better with the headphones attached to my phone via the supplied cord than when over Bluetooth, which is prone to interference.
You can adjust the volume, pause and skip backwards and forwards through tracks using touch sensitive controls on the right earcup. It’s quite fiddly to start with, so expect to skip tracks when you’re trying to turn down the volume and vice versa, but with practice it works nicely.
Serious music buffs will like the fact that the headphones can be paired up with the Jabra Sound App, a smartphone application that offers equaliser controls and a “Dolby Digital Plus” setting to further enhance and customise your listening experience.
The built-in microphone means you can make and receive phone calls, and thanks to it using the latest Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity, you can pair it up with more than one device at once – it worked a treat making Skype calls on my laptop.
Active noise cancelling kept background sounds pleasantly muted, even at a noisy school sports day, and was particularly effective when making and receiving calls.
If you take your music seriously enough to shell out R4 000, you should give the Jabra Revo Wireless a listen. - Sunday Tribune
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