Jabra is a name probably familiar to many readers from its involvement in Bluetooth hands-free kits. Now the company is looking to make inroads into the audio-conscious part of the market, wooing consumers who want more than just hands-free functionality. So, since mid-2013 we’ve been exposed to an expanded product line that includes Revo headphones in corded, wireless and in-ear configurations, as well as the Solemate portable speaker.

The Revo Wireless is a classy-looking piece of kit that doesn’t have quite as blingy a look as some of the competition (we won’t mention names, but we suspect you know who we’re talking about). The earpieces sit with moderate pressure on-ear; good adjustability ensures a comfortable fit for most heads. Jabra says the unit is specifically designed for hard-wearing, everyday use and portability. It’s constructed on an aluminium frame with steel hinges and has a shatter-proof headband.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that sound quality is entirely neglected. In unmodified form the sound features a warmth to the bass register that suggests pleasant but not entirely accurate reproduction. Music comes across as smoother, with the beat not as powerful or driving as our office reference pair of Sennheiser HD202s. However, this doesn’t detract from overall clarity and it’s possible that the lush overall sound will appeal to many. In addition, the Revo features Dolby Digital Plus technology. This combines with Jabra’s Sound App for iOS and Android devices to tweak the sound quality by providing more apparent depth. It won’t work equally well with all source material, but according to Jabra it’s the perfect antidote to today’s often highly compressed, dynamically limited music.

Given its wireless option, the Revo scores high on convenience. Pairing the unit with my Samsung Galaxy S3 via near field communication was ridiculously easy. Besides the element of convenience, wireless operation has one other big advantage (for me, at least). In wired use, any rubbing or chafing of the cable’s woven sheath transmits easily to the earpieces, intruding very audibly on what you are listening to. Cables with a smooth PVC housing don’t have this problem. As to the other aspects of wireless operation, the remote controls available on one of the earpieces need a little acclimatising to become second nature. – Anthony Doman

Verdict: Expensive, but its sound optimising, versatility and understated style score plus points.

 

Specifications:

Connectivity: Bluetooth 3.0, NFC, Auto pairing, audio streaming

Audio: “Hi fi sound”, DSP

Power: Battery, USB charging

Talk time: 12 hours

Standby: 240 hours

Music streaming: 12 hours

Price: R4 000

Availability: Musica and leading independent retailers