Jawbone recently came out with a new Bluetooth headset called the Era. This is a follow-on to their last headset, the Icon. It's supposed to be a new and improved headset, with some added features – a couple of which in particular I was very interested in, so I ordered one.
This is my third Jawbone headset. I had the original, and was disappointed in it. The headset worked ok, not great, but it was very difficult to charge. It had a proprietary 4-pin connection that was very fragile, and lasted me only a few months before it broke. Even before that, I had to place everything just so to get a charge, because it was that touchy. I went back to my original Apple headset which, while not great (and the battery life was getting somewhat short), did at least work. It also showed the charge left right on the iPhone when connected.
I've had the Icon for the past year and it's served me pretty well. Like the Apple headset, it too will graphically show you battery life on the iPhone when it pairs up. I don't know if any other headset manufacturers do this yet.
But the Era has a couple of features I really wanted – the main one being caller ID. Instead of reading off the phone number, like the Icon, the Era will read off the caller's name – much handier, because there are very few numbers I have memorized (why should I – they're in my Address Book!). Also, Jawbone claims better audio (the Icon audio is always kind of mediocre but usable). The claimed battery life is better (5.5 hours of talk time vs. 4). Also, Jawbone added an accelerometer to the Era, so you can shake it to pair the device (big deal) and tap it twice to answer a call. I really didn't think much of either, but have warmed up to double-tapping to answer – I don't have to find and hit the button, which occasionaly I had trouble finding, or would sometimes hit too quickly. The slight double-tap is easy and seems to work pretty well.
We did have an odd problem with FaceTime calls. If she called me it was fine, but if I called her, we got no audio until I switched to the phone speaker and then back to the Era. We didn't have any trouble with the Icon in that regard. Oddly, I did hear the ringing in the headset, but when the call connected, nothing. Hopefully, Jawbone will fix that in a firmware release.
Yes, both the Icon and Era have firmware – I have updated both a couple of times now, sometimes for fixes, sometimes (for the Icon) new features. So these headsets aren't standing still.
Jawbone is still selling both the Icon and the Era, for $99.99 (here for less than $60) and $129.99 (here for $129.99 or less) respectively. Even with the FaceTime glitch, I'm happy with the Era. You could do worse for a Bluetooth headset.