It wasn’t long ago when I considered Jabra to be a brand associated with business related products. As a matter of fact, I remember owning one of those old bluetooth ear pieces in my teens that made me feel like some kind of entrepreneurial hotshot.
Leaving childhood nostalgia aside though, Jabra has used their solid and long-term experience in the audio accessory market to deliver an impressive consumer product portfolio; including releases like these £180 ($200) Jabra Revo Wireless headphones. Considering the competition at this price range, it’ll be interesting to see what these headphones have to offer.[divider_flat]
Design & Build Quality
Straight from the unboxing, it’s clear that Jabra has set out to make a strong impression. I really liked the solid plastic box and yellow rubber strip with Revo branding, and even inside the box they’ve used rubber placeholders and velcro straps to hold the headphones in place. They may be small touches, but impressive nonetheless.
Available in white, grey or black, the Revo Wireless headphones flaunt a simplistic but stylish design with coloured accents surrounding the ear cups. On the right ear cup, there are touch sensitive ‘turntable’ controls that you can use to control your songs and the left ear cup is used to connect to NFC compatible devices. The turntable controls have a really nice soft-textured feel to them and were a different experience to using physical buttons, but it’s something you quickly get used to.
I was also impressed by the exposed aluminium frame hooking around the ear cup. It adds to the Revo’s fashionable look and shows off that sturdy foundation they’re made of.
True to their tagline of ‘Designed to be used and abused’, the build quality made of an aluminium frame, shatterproof headband and steel hinges held up really well when I tried to manipulate them.
I did find it unfortunate that Jabra didn’t provide a better solid case instead of the flimsy carrying pouch they supply. These headphones may have been extensively tested, but at this price point I expected a much better way to protect my £180 investment.
The snug fit of the memory foam ear cups and the rubbery padded interior of the headband make the Revo Wireless headphones comfortable even during prolonged usage. I was able to go through the day without feeling that familiar overheating or discomfort that’s common with other headphones I’ve used – giving the Revo Wireless a few extra points for simply not getting in the way.
According to Jabra, you can expect around 12 hours of music streaming and 240 hours of standby time. Of course those figures are going to differ based on usage, but after using the Revo for the entire day on Friday, I turned them off and returned on Monday with still around 60-70% battery life which was pretty good.
If you do run out of luck and the battery falls flat though, you can always use the provided AUX cable for wired use so you’ll never be without your headphones.
Jabra Sound App
Jabra partnered with Dolby to deliver Dolby Digital Plus enhanced sound quality to the Revo Wireless. From within the iOS app, the Dolby setting along with a manual equaliser match up to deliver a lot more control over how you listen to your music – as opposed to your device’s default equaliser presets.
Although the app’s setup is fast since it identifies your device’s music library for you, using it is limited to your device’s content because it doesn’t work with iTunes Match or any other music streaming services.
If you do keep music on your device though, it’s convenient that those Dolby & equaliser settings work on the device’s stock speakers without actively using headphones.
I have mixed feelings about the effectiveness of the Dolby setting across musical genres. Soul & RnB songs sounded rich and full but Hip Hop on the other hand sounded almost echoed or ‘hall-like’ which spoiled the experience. Even Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” sounded echoed with the Dolby setting on. Because of that difference in quality across genres, you may find yourself deciding between using the app and your default music application based on your musical taste.
Leaving aside the features of the Jabra app, I’m glad to say that the Revo Wireless packs a well rounded sound experience with powerful bass and clear mids & treble – all without any signs of distortion at higher volumes. In fact, the louder I raised the volume, the better it sounded! On that note, the sound did leak quite a bit at those higher volumes – attracting a few awkward glances during my rush-hour commutes on the train.
What went a long way in boosting overall performance was the quietness of the Revo Wireless during usage though. Although they’re not marketed as noise-cancelling headphones, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s an included feature when you realise just how effective they are at cancelling everything else out. That, along with their awesome sound quality made using the Revo Wireless headphones an absolute pleasure every time I turned them on.
Jabra Revo Wireless: The Bottom Line
It was unfortunate that the Jabra Sound app didn’t provide the all-round performance boost I hoped it would, and especially that it lacked streaming integration. Probably more disappointing was the lack of a solid carrying case too, although Jabra would possibly argue that the durability of the headphones means that it doesn’t require one.
Even with that nitpicking about the software & lack of solid carrying case, the headphones themselves should be a top consideration for anybody looking in the £150-200 price range. They’re comfortable for all day use, strong & flexible enough to be ideal for regular commuting and more importantly than anything else – they sound absolutely amazing no matter what you throw at them.