A few months ago, I started searching for a new set of Bluetooth headphones. I like to listen to music when I walk – both outdoors, and on a treadmill at home – and wires get in the way. I had an older pair of Philips headphones that was good, but the sound wasn’t great; I wanted something better. I tried the Beats Solo 2 wired headphones, and was very disappointed by them, so didn’t bother to try their wireless version. The same was the case with the Sennheiser Momentum; I tried the wired headphones and found them to have a muddy sound, so I didn’t explore their wireless model.
The Jabra Revo is a compact, foldable headphone, which looks a bit like the Beats. They are on-ear headphones, which means they block out a lot of noise around you, but also heat up your ears. At a current retail price of $200 or £200 (discounted, on Amazon, at the time of this writing, to $156 and £115), they are affordable headphones for those who want good sound and Bluetooth.
Like any headphones, there are pros and cons. With the Jabra Revo, the cons are apparent, but the pros outweigh them, at least for me. One of my main criticisms of the Beats headphones was their excessive bass. As I said about those headphones, “I would need to switch the EQ on and off to use these headphones. And if they need EQ, then they’ve failed.”
I’ve contradicted myself with the Jabra Revo. They are a bit bassy; not as much as the Beats, but more than I want. I found that, when listening to music on my iOS devices, if I turn on the EQ to bass reducer, they sound fine. But not just fine, they sound great. The clarity of the sound approaches that of very good wired headphones. When I first tried them out, I felt that needing to use the EQ would be a deal-breaker, but after using them for a few weeks – so I would still be in Amazon’s return window – I realized that they sounded so good that I’d be willing to compromise.
The other issue I have with the Jabra Revo is that the controls aren’t easy to use. It’s very hard to see where the controls are. Look at this photo of the right earpiece.
If you look closely, you can see the on/off slider just below the USB port that you use to charge the headphones. It’s not well marked, and I have to look very carefully to find it whenever I turn on the headphones. It could be colored a bit differently from the black background to make it more visible.
To pause or play music, skip tracks, and change the volume, you use controls on the side of that earpiece. Do you see them? It’s just the center button, and the sort of wheel around it. To play or pause, you press the center button. To change the volume, you slide your finger around the ring. Which means that, most times, when I want to pause music, I reach up to press that button and end up changing the volume. Because hitting that button precisely when you can’t see it is well nigh impossible. And to skip tracks, you have to press the ring, around the level of the center button; unavoidabley, I end up changing the volume when I do this.
It’s surprising how poorly designed these headphones are as far as the controls are concerned. So much so, that I use my iPhone to change tracks or volume. (In the future, I hope to use my Apple Watch for this, so it should be easier.)
Note that these headphones also come with two cables, if you wish to use them as standard wired headphones (or have a wire for when the charge runs out). One is a standard cable, and the other has a microphone and remote control. There is also a carrying case.
Jabra offers an iOS app, which I found to be useless. It’s free with a code that you get with your headphones, or $5 otherwise. It gives all sorts of EQ settings, but isn’t optimal to use for actually playing music. So I don’t use it at all.
As much as I may criticize the design and usability of these headphones, the quality of the sound won me over. I know there are no perfect headphones, and sound quality is a lot more important to me than buttons. I’m quite happy with them, considering the many negatives that I’ve highlighted. Great sound, if you use EQ; poor usability, but you can avoid many of the problems with the illogical controls buy using your iPhone or Apple Watch. Try them out; you might find them easier to use than me, but I think you’ll find the sound to be excellent, with the right EQ setting.