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Jabra's BT125 headset works satisfactorily and at its $25 price point, begs the question 'why pay any more than this?'.

If you're looking to try a Bluetooth headset, this would be an excellent model to get started with.

 
 
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Jabra BT125 Bluetooth Headset review

Amazingly affordable
 

The Jabra BT125 headset is plain and simple in appearance, and is similarly plain and moderately simple in operation.

Its no frills appearance and functionality is matched by a similar no frills price, making it the current (Feb 08) 'best value' headset available.

Part of our series on Bluetooth - more articles listed on the right.

 

 

At a remarkably low price of $20 - $25, and from the largest manufacturer of Bluetooth headsets in the world, the Jabra BT125 is probably the best value headset available in the market currently (Feb 08).

It is a straightforward headset with good functionality suitable for most users.  'Power' users seeking special extra features, and people who need extra noise cancelling because they're regularly in a noisy environment might decide to choose some other headset, but most people will be very happy with the Jabra BT125.

What you Get

The Jabra BT125 comes in one of those awful impossible to open plastic cases.

Inside the plastic case is the headset itself, a brick type mains recharger that plugs into a power outlet and then has a lead from that to the headset, a warning safety sheet and a four language manual.

The manual, in English, French, Spanish and Portugese, has five pages of instructions in the English section and three pages of legalese, and seems to be well written.

Feature Chart

Use this information to quickly understand the capabilities of the unit and to compare with other units.
 

Feature                         Comment

Cost

List price about $45.

Purchased from Amazon for $24.88, July 07.  Now available for $19.95 (Nov 07).


Ergonomics

Easy to put on and take off

Not very easy to put on, although after some practice I could do it much of the time one handed (which is necessary when your other hand is holding your phone).

It was, of course, easy to take off.

Easy to use the control buttons

There are three buttons on the unit.  There are two small buttons for volume up and volume down, and a larger button opposite the earpiece.

The volume buttons are difficult to use, the main control button is relatively easy.

Comfortable to wear

Yes.  It rests on the ear and is held in place by a hook that goes around the back of the ear rather than sticking into the ear.

Indeed, the unit is so comfortable to wear that one time I forgot I was wearing it and spend 5 minutes looking for it before realizing it was on my ear!

Can you use with glasses

Yes.

Can use with either ear

Yes.  The hook can be swapped around to work with either ear.

Securely mounted on ear

Yes, an excellent fit.  It is securely mounted, doesn't wobble, and is comfortable to wear.

With its light weight and short length, it is unobtrusive and easy to wear.

How to carry

There's no obvious way of carrying this, no protective carry pouch, and no lanyard loop.

I guess you just chuck it in your pocket?

Compatible with Nectar retractable and necklace style headset holders.

Weight

Light - 0.4 oz.


Ease of Use

Commands intuitive and easy to remember

Yet another unit with inscrutably complicated commands and combinations of light flashing to indicate what is happening.

Why can't someone simply make a unit with a few extra labelled buttons - eg an on/off button, an answer/hang up button, etc, and similarly with different lights for different situations (eg low battery, switched on, etc)?

Volume adjustable

There are two buttons for volume up and down, but the buttons are hard to activate (especially the volume down button).

How fast does it turn on

It takes about ten seconds to turn on and synch up with a phone.  This is slow.

Manual

Yes, a four language manual (English, French, Spanish and Portugese) that is well written and helpful.

Support

Via website and (800) number.

Pairing password printed on device

No (it is 0000 so in an emergency you have a good chance of guessing what it is!)


Features

Battery life

Up to 8 hours of talk or 170 hours (7 days) of standby time claimed.

This is about average compared to other units on sale in July 2007.

Low battery indicator/signal

The unit flashes rapidly when the battery is low - a useless indicator because you can't see it flashing when it is on your ear.

Battery type

Lithium polymer.

Replaceable battery?

No.

As with other headsets, the chances are by the time the battery has died, you'll probably have bought a new headset.

And at $25, it is as easy to just throw it away and buy a new one as it would be to spend probably a comparable amount on a new battery by itself.

Battery charging method/time

The unit comes with a 'brick' type wall power adapter that connects to the headset via a cable and a non-USB plug.

Charging time is about 2 hours.  The blue light goes on when charging and goes off when fully charged.

Multi-voltage charger

Yes.

Charger weight/size

2.1 oz.

A small brick charger.

Other charging methods

Also available (as separate accessories for purchase) is an adapter cable to connect the headset to a USB port on your computer for recharging, and a car lighter power adapter.

How many pairings can be stored

Not stated but testing suggests only one.  This is slightly disappointing but for most people, with only one Bluetooth capable phone, it is perfectly sufficient.

Headset and hands-free profiles?

Both profiles are supported.

Audio profile for computers

Apparently not.

Bluetooth compatibility

Version 2.0

Power/range

Power class isn't specified, but it is claimed to have a 33' range, which would suggest a Class 3 type device.

Effective range

Similar to other headsets tested.

Warranty

The warranty is a generous one year warranty.

Free return

Retailer policies will vary.

Noise cancelling/DSP

Jabra don't claim any special noise cancelling or DSP capabilities of this headset.

Here's a 550kB .WAV file that allows you to hear the difference between the Jabra BT125 and the Razr V3 phone handset in a noisy environment.  The headset is not as good as the phone by itself, but both work quite well in what was a quite noisy environment (with six different noise sources working simultaneously).

Sound quality

When talking to other people, they said my voice sounded normal and very much the same on the headset as on the handset, but perhaps a bit quieter.

The sound quality of the person at the other end of the call seemed fine in the headset, perhaps slightly poorer than through the handset, but perfectly acceptable.


Capabilities

Turning on and off

Turning on and off is complicated - much more so than it should be.  You are supposed to hold the main button down until you see a 'burst of flashes' from the LED.

This can take up to 5 seconds to occur, and there is some ambiguity as to if it was special flashing or just the regular power on/standby flashing.

Why not add a simple on/off switch to the unit?

Auto connect

Yes.

Voice tag support

Supported.  Make a short press of the main command button, then say the name you've previously recorded.

Last number redial

Yes.

Make a one second press on the main command button.

Transfer call to/from phone

To transfer a call to the headset, simply turn the headset on.

Transferring a call from the headset back to the phone is done by turning the headset off and then accepting the call back on the phone.

Call waiting/Three way calling

A one second press on the button will place your first call on hold and answer the incoming second call.

Further one second presses swap between the two calls.

There doesn't seem to be a command to initiate a three way call.

Call reject

A one second press of the button rejects a call.

Call answer/end

Yes.

Generally you will have your headset off rather than on.  So, to answer a call, you could turn it on, then press the button briefly to answer the call.  This however can take a long time - too long for some callers - so it is better to answer the call on the handset then transfer it.

If the unit is already on, a short press of the button will answer an incoming call.

To end a call, a short press of the button is again needed.

Mute

Not supported as such, but you can put a call on hold with a one second button push which will mute the call, but you can't then hear what the other person is saying.


Subjective

Attractive design

Yes - reasonably attractive and inoffensive.  A very simple small shape in plain black.

Flashing indicators on standby

Yes, a quite bright blue light flashes once a second while the unit is on standby.

Size

Slightly smaller than average.


Summary

For a mere $20 - $25, this is a great value Bluetooth headset that does just about everything most people are likely to need.

 

Using the Jabra BT125 Headset

The Jabra BT125 headset suffers from the same drawbacks as most other units in terms of complicated sequences of button pushes to do tasks, but while it is no better than any other unit, neither is it any worse.

It is slightly tricky to quickly mount it on your ear, but once that is done, it is comfortable to wear for reasonably extended periods of time.

Sound quality is acceptably good, with no noticeable deterioration in quality, no delays, and no echo.  Noise cancelling is minimal.

Connecting with phones

Easy.  Once you've paired the unit with a phone, any time you turn the unit on, it will quickly look for and connect with your phone if the phone is also on and in range.

This is convenient and simple.

The unit paired effortlessly to both a Motorola Razr V3 and a Blackberry 8700, with the latter often being a somewhat difficult phone to pair with.

Summary

Costing a mere $20 - $25 through Amazon, the Jabra BT125 is worth experimenting with.  Maybe you'll like it and keep it, and if you don't, you can either return it or consider it to be an inexpensive trial of Bluetooth headsets.

This is currently the best value headset on the market, and apart from the lack of noise cancellation, is almost as good as other units costing considerably more.

A low price point for a decently working Bluetooth headset has been long awaited and is long overdue.  Well done Jabra for bringing this product to market at such a fair price.
 

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Originally published 27 Jul 2007, last update 19 Dec 2013

You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.

 
 

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