Published on Friday, 20 September 2013 16:28
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Although smartphones have advanced quite a bit over the past few years and have reached a point where some models are one and the same as a tablet in terms of size there's one peripheral that follows suit in terms of technological advancement, Bluetooth wireless headsets. Of course instead of increasing their size (which would be quite easy actually) scientists around the world do their best to shrink those devices so they are easier to carry and use. However what i really enjoy is the latest trend which has many Bluetooth wireless headsets accompanied by carrying cases that double as portable battery packs providing enough juice for up to 5 full recharge cycles. Now this may sound as a bit overkill to some people (perhaps even useless) but such battery packs make it very simple for you to have a Bluetooth wireless headset in your backpack or in your cars glove compartment at all times without worrying that the battery may die out (once i left the Plantronics Voyager Legend UC in my backpack for 5 weeks and it still was full on battery when i used it). The STONE line of Bluetooth wireless headsets by Jabra dates back to 2009 and it was amongst the very first to feature a portable battery for recharging while on the road. Well 4 years later and after the launch of the quite successful STONE2 roughly 2 years ago Jabra is releasing the STONE3.
Jabra is the brand of GN Netcom, a subsidiary of GN Store Nord A/S (GN) - listed on NASDAQ OMX. Jabra employs approximately 850 people worldwide and in 2011 produced an annual revenue which amounted to DKK 2,106 million. Jabra is a world leader in the development, manufacturing, and marketing of a broad range of hands-free communications solutions. With a reputation for innovation, reliability, and ease of use that goes back more than two decades, Jabra’s consumer and business divisions produce corded and wireless headsets, plus mobile and in-office speakerphones that empower individuals and businesses through increased freedom of movement, comfort, and functionality.
Since the design of the STONE Bluetooth wireless headset never was a problem for Jabra (besides a stone is a stone) the new STONE3 has but a few differences compared to the previous STONE2 the most important of which is the Bluetooth version used (STONE2 was v2.1 compatible while STONE3 supports v3.0). Now as some of you know Bluetooth v3.0 is much faster than its predecessors (as is the new v4.0) so it can transfer files and data with more ease and at the same time it's also more power efficient. Of course since we are talking about a Bluetooth Wireless Headset this upgrade doesn't really make much of a difference (although i always like it when manufacturers update their product lines with more up to date standards) so it's quite fortunate that Jabra also improved on the speaker of the STONE3 since this time over they gave it a wideband driver (HD/Digital) as opposed to the narrowband driver (analog) of the STONE2 (this change may have only been possible due to Bluetooth v3.0 which makes sense actually). The STONE3 also features the latest NFC (Near Field Communication) standard which the user to pair it with a compatible smartphone or tablet just by placing it onto that device. Aside that however the STONE3 still carries a wealth of features also found in the STONE2 such as Audio DSP (Digital Signal Processing), dual microphones with Noise Blackout, voice activation and of course the same portable battery pack (or charging stone as Jabra calls it). Since the basic features of the STONE3 are identical with that of the STONE2 the only thing we are curious about is the HD audio offered (digital vs analog) to see whether or not the STONE3 is a worthy successor to the very good STONE2 Bluetooth Wireless Headset.