Pros / The Jabra Steels is dust, water and shock-resistant and has a five-year warranty.
Cons / It’s too big for people with smaller ears.
Verdict / The Jabra Steel is a solid, rugged headset for working in noisy environments.
Designed specifically for people who work in noisy environments, the Jabra Steel is a rugged and utilitarian in appearance. It isn’t the prettiest Bluetooth headset we tested, but it is one of the few that is water and dust-resistant and probably the only one that could survive a long fall. Its rubberized black body and sound cancellation make it a great tool for staying connected on the job.
We performed most of our testing for audio quality inside our relatively quiet lab. In that environment, the Steel does not perform quite as well as other products we tested. Its audio is decent but shallower-sounding than other products, like the Jabra Stealth. In our maximum volume tests, the Steel also put out less sound than most other products, which we found surprising, since it’s specifically marketed towards use in loud environments. However, when we tested outside with traffic and other environmental noises, the Steel managed to cancel out ambient sound well for both ends of the call. For particularly windy days, the Stealth comes with a wind sock you can fit over the boom mic to help control noise.
The Steel has a reported battery life of 10 days on standby and up to six hours of talk time. We conducted all our testing over five consecutive days and used the Steel for at least an hour each day and it lasted on a single charge.
Our testers with small ears noted that the in-ear speaker on the Steel is a bigger and less comfortable than other models we tested, like the Jabra Eclipse. It comes with three ear gels and two ear hooks, so you can mix and match to find the best fit. The Jabra Steel stays in decently well without the ear hooks, but they do help with stability. Testers sometimes had to adjust the headset after moving around, but it never fell out.
One thing we liked about the design is the lack of a button directly over your ear, so you’re less likely to accidentally push the call or end button when adjusting your headset. The three buttons on the headset are for power, voice and answering and ending calls, none of which control volume. These are designed to be large enough to push, even if you’re wearing work gloves. If you can’t spare a hand, you can also use voice commands to accept and reject incoming calls.
Jabra Steel is a great choice if you find yourself making and taking calls in the middle of a hectic environment. Its rugged, weather-resistant exterior and noise-cancelling make it ideal for use in loud areas.