A couple of times before, with my work on Android Dissected, I’ve discussed my love for making my life wireless. Wires are always a bunch of clutter, and my life is certainly easier without them. When it comes to headphones, in particular there are a lot of things that we look for in getting the best experience for our dollar. I’ve spent about a week with Jabra ROX wireless headphones and put them through the ropes. I tested them with a variety of music, conditions, and situations, making them my almost exclusive replacement for my normal headphones, Skullcandy Titan. I say almost because there are a few drawbacks to being wireless but I will discuss them in a bit.
ROX Design And Form Factor[td_divider top=”no”]
There’s really not much I can say about the design that can’t be said by looking at photos. However, as far as my opinion on the design goes, I really like it. The headphones look really good and some of the design choices, such as hiding the charging port behind one of the magnetic backs of the buds not only allows for better symmetry of the design (which is very important to me) but it also lends itself to better waterproofing. To be clear, you can’t wear this buds in the pool or shower, though I’m not sure why you would, but it is completely okay to wear them in a reasonable amount of rain or while you’re jogging without worrying about the sweat being a problem.
I did want to comment on the fact that they opted to have the stem of the left bud significantly longer than that of the right bud. I thought that this takes a bit away from attractiveness and there’s a possibility that I’m unable to confirm, that it may have lent to comfort issues but I will discuss that more in a moment.
ROX Durability And Comfort[td_divider top=”no”]
As far as durability goes, there’s not a whole lot to say. They’re very well built, like I mentioned before and since they’re so light, being earbuds, they’re not going to break if you happen to drop them. I also mentioned before that they’re water resistant, which is a great plus for users who will be wearing them through the weather and when they’re jogging.
Comfort is a difficult subject. It took me a very long time to find something that would fit right for me. I’m not entirely sure if the stem on the right ear had anything to do with it, but I had a very hard time finding the right fit for me. To be fair, though, I’ve had issues like this with Bluetooth headsets in the past, so it could be that my ears are shaped funny.
Jabra includes 4 different sets of tips and 3 different sets of wings to help you find the proper fit that will keep the buds in your ears comfortably, so you should be able to find the perfect set up for you, even if it isn’t a symmetrical set up. The wings kept popping off when I was trying to use them but this could have been because I had no business wearing them.
ROX Portability[td_divider top=”no”]
Again, with portability, there’s not much to say. These buds are connected by a wire about a foot in length and they should be no problem to bring with you anywhere you need to go. If you think your destination might require you remove them from around your neck, Jabra has provided a nice woven bag to stow them in.
I mentioned a moment ago that you can keep them around your neck. One of the greatest features about these headphones is that if you need to disconnect your headphones and pause your music in one move, all you need to do is snap the magnetic backs together and that’s exactly what will happen. It’s a very convenient feature and I find myself using it more than the actual pause button.
ROX Battery Life[td_divider top=”no”]
Battery life of this headset has really impressed me. Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve been using the headphones for just over a week and I used them very regularly during that time. It wasn’t until the end of the week that the headphones finally announced to me that they needed to be recharged. I say this quite literally in that the headphones told me “please recharge soon” when it came time to plug in, which I thought was a very nice touch.
It should also be noted that I didn’t notice any impact on the battery life of my phone from using these headphones by comparison to using wired headphones.
ROX Ease Of Use[td_divider top=”no”]
When it comes to ease of use, it doesn’t get much easier. To connect the headset to begin with you can either connect using NFC or you can go traditional and send the headphones into pairing mode by holding down the power button upon power-up. I wasn’t able to get NFC to work when I was pairing, but it’s entirely possible that I was doing it wrong. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt since it wasn’t the only option and pairing by sending the headphones into discovery mode was just as easy.
I mentioned before, all you need to do to pause your music and turn off the headphones is connect the backs of the earbuds with their magnetic backs, which is an incredibly convenient feature. Playing, pausing, adjusting volume, and interacting with phone calls are all very intuitive with the built-in mic/controls and I never found myself referencing the manual to figure out how to use it.
ROX Sound Quality[td_divider top=”no”]
Sound quality is another place that I have mixed feelings. As far as clarity goes, these headphones can’t be touched. I found the sound quality to be just as good as any headphones I’ve ever used and I felt immersed in the music just like you would like with headphones of this caliber.
Bass was another story. I went and found a song that I knew had a lot of bass in it and compared the sound I got from ROX to that in some of my other headphones and ROX just didn’t compare to my Titans by Skullcandy, which are only $40 headphones. Not to say it wasn’t there, it certainly was, I was just a little disappointed.
For the audiophiles out there, there was a little bit of leaking but not much. I had someone sitting next to me while I played the music at full blast and he wasn’t able to tell what song I was listening to but he could hear the music. With that being said, I didn’t really think that the headphones compared very well with regards to volume. Not so say they weren’t decently loud, but I sometimes found myself wanting just a little bit more when it comes to volume.
ROX Affordability[td_divider top=”no”]
I mentioned a moment ago that they fell short compared to my $40 Skullcandy headphones for a reason. These headphones come in at $129, that’s no small amount of money. However, I definitely would shell out the money for these headphones. For everything you get, there’s no question that Jabra has delivered for the amount of money you’re paying. If you want more, then you can pay more but these are a good middle ground and definitely the best Bluetooth headphones I’ve ever used.
Call Quality[td_divider top=”no”]
One of the things I was concerned about was call quality. I’ve used several sets of headphones before to place/take phone calls and a great deal of the time I found people either complaining that they couldn’t hear me or that it sounded really windy (surprising when you’re taking the call indoors) but that was not the case with ROX. I once took a call without any comments from the person on the other end, to the point that they were actually looking at me when I took the call and thought it must not be me because I hadn’t reached for my pocket to take the call.
Jabra App/Equalizers[td_divider top=”no”]
Included with your purchase of the ROX headphones is a Jabra app for playing your music and optimizing the sound quality as they think the music should be presented. This works really great for music that is stored locally and for those that still keep all of their music on their phone, that’s great, but more and more people are switching to the subscription-based model for listening to music. If you don’t listen to your music locally you’re SOL and since most of what made this app important is the built-in equalizer I turned to Google Play Music’s internal equalizer for help….As it turns out, however, GPM doesn’t support an equalizer for Bluetooth; wired connections and playing through the built-in speakers only.
It doesn’t look bad, either.
To summarize, the ROX wireless headphones by Jabra are a great buy for $129 despite their various shortcomings. They look great, they are comfortable once you find your fit, and they sound great if bass isn’t very important to you. ROX are easily the best Bluetooth headphones I’ve ever used and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to a friend. The magnetic backs allow for you to easily connect/disconnect the headphones to your phone and the battery life is excellent!