Jabra Revo Wireless review
- Stylish design
- Punchy, rich bass
- Touch-sensitive controls
- No noise cancelling
- Leakage at loud volumes
There was a time when Jabra used to be all about business-friendly Bluetooth headsets and speakerphones but in recent years it's decided that it wants some of the consumer action and is now using its expertise in the field to make headphones with the Jabra Revo Wireless being the latest cans off the conveyor belt.
Having impressed us with its Jambox-style Jabra Solemate portable Bluetooth speaker, these over-ear headphones offer NFC, Bluetooth, touch sensitive controls and what it claims is a rich, bassy sound. Are they any match for the Parrot Zik headphones? Here's what we made of them.
Jabra Revo Wireless: Design
The headband-style headphones are available in all white or matte black with red lining and fortunately we got our hands on the latter which along with its aluminium steel hooks and subtle red interior certainly have a very stylised and fashionable look and feel about them.
The band with a soft rubbery plastic underneath is adjustable for those that might find it a tight fit while a foldable design means they are easy to pack into the carry pouch, which comes in the box.
Similar to the Parrot Zik, the Revo Wireless offer touch-sensitive controls on the right cup allowing you to play and pause by tapping the centre of the surface. By swiping around the device in both directions, you can also turn the volume up and down.
A simple double tap also lets you skip tracks. In terms of physical controls there's an on/off and Bluetooth syncing switch alongside a micro USB port.
Over on the left cup is where you'll find a 3.5mm headphone connector and a 'NFC zone' to sync to a mobile device by placing it near to the surface and a button that launches the dedicated Jabra Sound app.
Inside the box along with the carry pouch is a bright orange 3.5mm cord and the similarly loud looking micro USB charging cable that also has a standard USB connection, which means it can be hooked up to a PC and Mac.
Jabra Revo Wireless: Audio
Housing 40mm dynamic speakers, it boasts the kind of power that puts it up alongside the Marshall Audio Major and Beyerdynamic Custom Pro One headphones. Jabra has worked with Dolby to offer Dolby Digital Plus, which it says will offer a much richer sound but this is only unlocked via the app.
The app, which requires an unlock code (provided) to install on Android and iOS devices, also lets you customise audio with a graphic equalizer but you'll also have to download the Jabra Services app as well to operate it.
The Jabra Revo also offers a built-in dual microphone with Digital Sound Processing and something called Noise Blackout, which essentially helps to filter out exterior noise when you're taking a call.
Jabra Revo Wireless: Durability
Using the mildy unsuitable tag line that they can be 'used and abused', the Jabra Revo cans do feel like they're built to last from the steel hinges that offer a robust connection between headband and cups to the sturdy aluminium frame.
The bendy shatterproof headband did make a worrying cracking sound when we tested its flexibility but overall it's a tough pair of headphones.
Jabra Revo Wireless: Comfort
Offering a snug fit, the soft, plush memory foam cushions mean that the headphones are great to wear for long periods while the soft, rubbery inside of the headband offers no irritation or movement if you move your head back or are reaching down to grab something from your bag.
Jabra Revo Wireless: Performance
With a 10m Bluetooth range we synced up a Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Apple iPod Touch with no problems with voice prompts letting us know if a successful connection had been made.
We should say that we did notice a little drop out on initial use but didn't experience any issues after that. Perhaps even more impressive is the NFC connectivity, which successfully synced on each occasion we used it.
The good news is that up to eight devices can be paired, two at a time, and having established the initial connection they swiftly remember previous connections.
The touch-sensitive controls are of course one of the standout features just as they were on the Parrot Zik and we can report that they work equally as well once you've got your bearings in terms of where the finishing point is for the volume and how to skip the tracks.
Once you've achieved that, it's remarkable how great it is not having to really reach back into your pocket for your smartphone or MP3 player.
The sound is undeniably loud and bassy, but it's not overbearing. On bass-heavy house music, the headphones deliver a punchy sound but doesn't distort the quality of the sound. Likewise, the clarity quality particularly with the Dolby Digital Plus makes them great on all kinds of music.
The benefit of the Dolby Digital Plus, which is unlocked by the app, is that sound has a much greater depth maintaining the bassy performance making them great for watching movies at home.
In terms of noise cancelling, these are not going to give you Bose standard performance so don't expect to entirely drown out your commute and the powerful sound does see some sound leaking at loud levels.
The free Jabra Sound app offers a simple interface that drags in all audio files on the device and places it into Albums, Artists, Genres and Songs sections. It also dragged in playlists we had created inside other music applications like Amazon MP3.
In the settings section you can select Dolby Processing, Mobile Surround and access the custom Equalizer and that's pretty much it.
The battery life is impressive with a standby time of 240 hours and the ability to listen to music for 12 hours wirelessly. Like the Solemate, we were impressed by the staying power of the Revo headphones and when the battery gets low there are indicators on the headphones and voice prompts to alert you when they need charging.
Jabra Revo Wireless: Verdict
Until now the Parrot Zik headphones have been the only over ear cans to offer touch-sensitive controls as well as NFC and Bluetooth connectivity but the Jabra Revo Wireless now do the same, and for about £150 less. They also sound good and look great as well.
We were thoroughly impressed by the battery life and the enhancing quality of Dolby Digital Plus which makes up for the lack of noise cancelling. Overall though, these are an excellent all round pair of headphones and at a fraction of the price of the Ziks, they're well worth the investment.
Jabra Revo Wireless release date: Out now
Jabra Revo Wireless price: £199