Pros / It blocks out background noise well and even includes a wind sock.
Cons / There are no volume controls.
Verdict / The Jabra Steel is a rugged Bluetooth headset that is water-, dust- and impact-resistant. It has impressive audio quality and effectively blocks out background noise, but it doesn’t have volume controls and may be too large for some users.
Usually, Bluetooth headsets are made from plastic, but Jabra took a different approach when it created its Steel Bluetooth headset. It is much more durable than other headsets and sports a hard case to protect it from the elements. Of all the Bluetooth earpieces we tested, the Jabra Steel is the only one that is resistant to water, drops and dust.
Jabra created this headset for trades people who work in rough, loud environments, so the headset’s noise-cancelling technology is top notch. You don’t need to wear a hard hat and wield a jackhammer to take advantage of its dual microphones, though. During our tests, we found that the headset did a fine job blocking out the normal, less-intense noises you probably deal with every day: the wind, traffic and pedestrians. Its audio quality was strong both on our end and the other party’s. There is even a wind sock you can put on the headset on extremely windy days.
Despite having a thicker casing than other headsets, the Steel weighs just .35 ounces. It’s jet black and looks utilitarian. Since this is Jabra’s most rugged headset, the company includes an impressive five-year warranty.
You can wear it with or without the ear hook and pick from three different size eargels to ensure a tight seal. Our reviewers with smaller ears didn’t feel like the headset fit them as well as others. We wouldn’t go as far as saying the headset is uncomfortable, but we don’t think it is the best option if you are going to wear it for long periods of time because of its large speaker. During our stability tests, the Steel mostly stayed in our ears. It never fell out when ran up and down the stairs or shook our heads vigorously. However, it didn’t keep its seal and required adjusting.
We were more than impressed with the Steel’s battery life. Jabra claims you get six hours of talk time, and we stretched that a little further to 6.33 hours. The headset was easy to pair to our phone – just powering it on initiates the pairing process. It’s also one of the few headsets that can also pair over NFC instead of Bluetooth.
The Steel’s buttons are large and easy to find. You can even use the headset while wearing gloves. Other headsets’ buttons are tiny, and it can take a little while to get used to them. Our only gripe is there are no volume controls. If you plan to rely solely on voice control, you can tell the headset to redial, call the last person who called you, check the headset’s battery, and interact with Siri and Google Assistant.
- Voice Quality
- Talk Time
- Charge Time
We found that the Jabra Steel is a fantastic Bluetooth headset. It has good battery life, does an effective job blocking external noises and is resistant to the elements. However, some people may find it too large and too utilitarian looking or consider its lack of volume controls a deal breaker.