Audio

A smart band for a smartphone

Audio quality with music on the Halo Smart is passable but it gets the job done for calls.
Audio quality with music on the Halo Smart is passable but it gets the job done for calls. PHOTO: JABRA

Jabra's Halo Smart Bluetooth headphones are perhaps not the in-ear earphones for regular music lovers.

Rather, they are for power users who like to toggle between listening to music and taking calls while leaving their hands free.

The audio quality with music is passable at best. Music tends to be a little weak and muddy, with muffled vocals and trebles, but is still bearable. It gets the job done if you want something convenient to toggle between music on your phone and calls.

The two earpieces are attached to a band you sling around your neck. Functional, but no fashion statement. The band is light enough to forget about when wearing it out, although it does scream "business power user". It is a step up from walking around with a Bluetooth receiver clipped to one ear, though. Both earpieces are magnetised and can be attached to each other or to the band itself, so that they do not dangle lifelessly by your side.

The neckband vibrates gently but noticeably when a call comes in, which actually feels like a nice mini-massage for your neck.

Jabra is well-known for its phone headsets, and so it was no surprise that making calls on the Halo Smart is a fuss-free experience.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $138

    SPEAKER SIZE: 10mm

    FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20Hz-20kHz

    WEIGHT: 38g

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 3/5

I didn't get complaints about ambient sound from the receiving end, despite standing next to a busy road, although I was asked to speak a bit louder.

The design of the Halo Smart makes it difficult to whisper a conversation or be more discreet during a call. You have to talk at a moderate volume, which means you are broadcasting your end of the conversation to the public.

Users can get to play with other functions by downloading the Jabra Assist app on their phones. It can read out incoming e-mails and social media updates so you don't miss something important while listening to music.

Android users can also get their text messages read out, while iOS users will have to sit that one out.

  • Verdict: The Halo Smart performs superbly as a headset, and is a convenient pair of in-ear earphones if you absolutely must be contactable while listening to music.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2016, with the headline 'A smart band for a smartphone'. Print Edition | Subscribe