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[Review] Jabra Evolve 80

Jabra Evolve 80

The modern workplace – and especially those incorporating the open concept office design that’s supposed to combat the evils of cubicles – can be an exceedingly bustling and noisy environment. Between team conversations, people movement and that annoying colleague who keeps stopping by for a chat, there is a decidedly lack of privacy that can keep you from concentrating on your work.

Enter Jabra’s range of professional headsets, the Jabra Evolve, launched sometime late last year. This series of five audio products is considered the industry’s first range of audio solutions targeted at supporting the communication needs of the new-age knowledge worker, encompassing some of the latest noise cancellation technologies – normally used to block out ambient noise in order to boost the enjoyment of music or enhance call quality – to help create what Jabra calls a personal “concentration zone” so that they can get down to productive work.

Take the Jabra Evolve 80, for example, the top-of-the-line product in that range. The corded Evolve 80 UC stereo variant – there’s also an MS stereo version for Skype for Business (Lync) – connects to your desktop, VoIP phone system, mobile phone or tablet device like a regular music headset, built to tune out the rest of the world while you work.

Pros

  • Active noise cancellation
  • High fidelity for VoIP calls
  • USB remote controller

Conversations over VoIP networks – which can be jarring and unbalanced in the best of times – seem clearer with the active noise cancellation technology; it also makes your music sound better, in the event you choose to use the headset for entertainment. A seemingly frivolous feature – a busy light of bright red rings around the cups signalling that you’re currently tuned into an important con-call – comes into its own to warn away that irritating colleague demanding some time to air his personal woes.

We also did like the remote control unit that comes along with the Evolve 80; no more scrambling on the keyboard or mouse to manipulate sound volume or to accept incoming calls. A shoutout to the boom microphone, a soft bendy thing that can be swung up and integrated into the headband when not in use so one doesn’t end up looking like a droid all the time.

Cons

  • Price
  • Size and weight

The downsides of the Evolve 80? It does not come cheap at a price point that compares to mid-range personal headsets for music, and so unlikely to impress office purchasing managers enough to arm every worker with one. And like most luxury premium headsets it’s built like a tank, which means it can get uncomfortable when worn during long conversations – the leatherette ear cushions wrapping the around-the-ear cups can start to get sweaty, and the sheer weight of the well-machined unit can put some pressure on the neck.

While we tested the Evolve 80, the other headsets in the series – 20, 30, 45, and 65 – are all slightly different in terms of price points and features, and so may fit your needs better. For example, the Evolve 65 is a cordless, wireless Bluetooth version that’s also built lighter than the Evolve 80, and far more suitable for use on the move.

The Jabra Evolve series is available through Jabra Business Solutions partners around the world.


Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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