The Jabra Stealth is one of the best Bluetooth headsets (opens in new tab) out there right now that your ear could have the honor of offering a home to. It'll fit comfortably while actually looking good thanks to a sleek design honed from the many decades of experience this earpiece specialist has to offer. There's decent ambient noise blocking making the 84 dB volume plenty in nearly all situations. Although an ability to adjust this on the ear might be of use, rather than having to use your phone.
Call quality is fantastic thanks to the noise-canceling function, and the battery life, at a good six hours of talk time and ten days on standby, is more than enough for most people. Somehow, it still manages to weigh just eight grams, which makes for a comfortable all-day wearable headset. It would be nice if a wall adapter or car charger were included but since you can buy these separately it's not too much of a gripe. The price isn't the lowest, but you really do get what you pay for here with quality and comfort that sets the bar against all the competition.
Jabra Stealth: Design
At just eight grams, the Jabra Stealth is one of the lightest Bluetooth headsets we've tested. The Stealth is very comfortable, is great for extended wear, and the fact that you can wear it on either ear is a big plus. This is supported by the inclusion of two ear hooks and six ear cushions that enable you to find the best fit, no matter your preferred wearing style. It fits snugly, much like the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (opens in new tab), but is more understated in design and form.
Testament to its design, aesthetic and build, the Jabra Stealth won an award a few years ago; an accolade that highlights both the appearance and intuitive nature of the design. On the downside, and unlike many others in the market, the Stealth does not come with a charging case, wall adapter or car charger, just a USB to micro USB cable.
It's a decent looking bit of kit, with a modern design and aesthetic so it won't look out of place, well, anywhere. The controls have plenty of space to sit and breathe while being readily accessible, and the design is intuitive to handle, interact with and wear.
Jabra Stealth: Features
Worked into the design are the Stealth's features, which are a streamlined affair. Present are a single power switch; a concealed micro-USB charging port; and two control buttons. The voice button is on the underside of the mic arm and the answer/end call button is right over the Jabra logo. There are no dedicated volume buttons, so volume will have to be adjusted from the phone, or other connected device, which is a shame. However, given the stripped-back nature of the buttons and features, this is acceptable.
When the Stealth is first turned on, it immediately enters pairing mode and it easily pairs with your phone and does it quickly. If your phone supports NFC pairing - Near Field Communication, which almost all modern smartphones do - you can pair by sliding the device and headset’s NFC zones against each other until they connect. When connected, the Stealth alerts you to incoming calls, and it works seamlessly with caller ID reading the caller’s name or number (if you have them in your contacts, naturally). It does not alert you to texts if you have your phone on vibrate, which is easy to forget about. However, The Jabra Assist companion app which you use alongside the Stealth can read out all your messages to you, offering more communication options. The app can also enable you to monitor your headset’s battery, adjust your message settings, help you find your device if lost, and can show you the manual if you need to revisit anything.
Because there are only two buttons, there’s a learning curve to answering and making calls. For example, you need to tap the call button to answer a call and double-tap to reject or end a call. This can be tricky to master but it's a usual side effect of a compact product and after a while of constant use, the interaction does become second nature. Elsewhere, the Stealth’s dedicated voice button lets you give voice commands, depending on the connected device, and it is compatible with both Apple's Siri and Google Now.
The Stealth stands strong in the field of Bluetooth headsets, mainly because it has excellent audio and voice quality. This manifests itself during use: we had absolutely zero complaints in our hours of testing on the Stealth's call and playback. Listening to music, no sound ranges felt lacking - the overall quality was surprisingly solid and enjoyable for a one-ear headset - and voices came across clearly, crisply and easy-to-understand during calls.
The headset's volume is even incredibly deliberate and well-executed. According to the World Health Organization’s 2015 'Make Listening Safe' brochure, 85 decibels is the highest volume level considered to be safe for up to eight hours of extended listening - at max volume, the Stealth put out 84 decibels. Perfectly in tune with the guidance but also plenty loud enough. Team that with the crispness of audio and it's a great balance. A balance in audio is further accentuated by the earpiece being designed to help block ambient noise and direct the speaker’s sound. It isn't quite on a par with noise canceling in the Plantronics Voyager 5200 (opens in new tab), but it's very good. This enables you to comfortably listen to the Stealth at lower volumes and still hear everything around you - a good safety feature for the commute.
Utilizing this feature and setting the Stealth to a lower volume also helps conserve battery. The device handles up to six hours of talk time and 10 days on standby. We performed our tests over five consecutive days – using the Stealth for call and playback tests for about an hour a day, on a single charge. Once depleted, it takes about two hours to charge back to full which is very agreeable for a top-performing product in this field.
Should you buy the Jabra Stealth?
The Jabra Stealth is a superb Bluetooth headset that packs a lot of features into a compact and sleek form factor. There's a decent battery and more than decent audio quality, making this perfect for calls and even for all-day use. Everything is backed by a helpful app and you have the option to add accessories as needed – although more included like a car or wall charger would have been nice. Aside from not being able to adjust volume directly on the headset, this is a real all-around winner.
If this product isn't for you
The other really big name in the Bluetooth headset world is Plantronics and the Plantronics Voyager 5200 (opens in new tab) model is one of the best it has to offer. The four-mic system makes for very clear calls with active noise cancellation, the reversible design is good for either ear, and call volume is well balanced. This may be a bit bulky for some but with features like moisture resistance, dynamic mute alert and smart sensors, this certainly offers a lot for the price.
If you want the full headphone experience as well as that Bluetooth headset functionality then a dual earbud setup could be ideal. The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (opens in new tab) is designed for gaming, meaning it's built with a focus on clear and high-quality microphones for calls. It’s also made to be comfy for long periods of time and features a good-looking minimal design.
Synonymous with audio quality, Sennheiser has done it again with the Sennheiser Presence (opens in new tab) headset, which offers superb in-ear audio as well as excellent microphones for clear voice transmission. The look is great, fit is comfy and the battery life is one of the best out there. The catch? It's not cheap.