Review: Jabra Play Bluetooth Headset: 3.5mm jack and Multiuse!


I love my Jabra Clipper. It’s small, sounds good enough for music on the go, and has a decent battery life. I like its’ form factor and the ability to replace the headset part with any ear/headphone of your choosing. But one thing that I wish I have on it, is the ability to connect 2 phones at the same time. The Clipper can connect to 2 devices (Multiuse in Jabra speak) , but only one of the handset will get headset profile and able to make or take a phone call. I regularly travel with my S4 and Note 8.0, and both has GSM SIM card, and people call me on both numbers all the time.

Jabra website and product pages are a little bit cryptic about the Multiuse feature. Some SKUs are labeled Multiuse, but only offer the Clipper-style connection, allowing only one device to headset profile, and some do allow multiple headset profile connection. To really know whether certain model offer multiple headset profile connectivity, you need to go the support page of each model, download the user manual, and see if it covers steps to connect the headset to 2 phones. In some case, such as the Jabra Revo Wireless, the only thing that will tell you that it support multiuse, is a table that explain that what certain LED flashes and colors means.

Jabra Play is one of the two Jabra models sporting 3.5mm port that support multiple headset profile connection, the other one being The Tag. The Tag is nice, but it’s too big and unwieldy for daily commute. Beside, I’m not hip and fashionable enough to have one as a necklace hanging on my neck. The Play is not exactly more discreet with its’ flashy orange accents and wired earpieces, but it’s much smaller than the Tag, and  comes in black, so it should blend nicely.

Orange Range
Orange Range

Build

Build quality wise, it’s decent. It’s a bit bigger, and not as solidly built as the Clipper. It has a giant squishy multi function button for accepting calls and pairing at the bottom of the unit which also works as a flap cover for the micro usb port. The side of the Play hosts a row of three buttons. One for play and pause, and a pair to skip, or move backward on your playlist. This pair also serves as volume up and down buttons.  It comes with a mechanical clip, to err clip the Play to your shirt.  So, coming from the Clipper, I really dislike mechanical clip, since it might get broken if you’re not careful. with it. I also think that using the multifunction button as the usb socket flap cover is a design flaw. In phones and other stuff, those flaps are usually the first thing to wear out. In this case, if you lose the flap, you lose the button.

IMGP5376
multifunction button slash usb flap
IMGP5379
music control buttons
IMGP5377
Open Sesame!

All in all, it’s decent, but a bit of a downgrade from the Clipper. I’m not saying that The Play is poorly put together, it’s just that The Clipper is engineered much much better than anything else  that I can find on the market with similar price point

IMGP5384
left: Clipper, right: Play

Also, if you want to let it hang loose, please remember the 3.5mm jack is the only connection point between you and the Play. With enough force, it can be easily yanked away or dropped and lost. Luckily I have my Philips SHE955 with a lanyard connector handy, and use it instead.

IMGP5396
Not pretty, but hey, it works

Function

Anything you expect on a bluetooth headset are there. You get dedicated button to play or pause the music, but I think its’ inclusion is more of a workaround for their decision of putting the multifunction button at the bottom of the unit. Battery life is on par with The Clipper. Multiuse works flawlessly. Pairing The Play with 2 phones is very easy and straight forward. Just pair the first one normally, disconnect (not unpair) the first phone from The Play either by using the bluetooth menu on your phone, or disabling bluetooth altogether. Turn off The Play, and turn it on again by holding the multifunction button for 6 seconds to get it to pairing mode. Next, pair the second phone, turn on bluetooth on the first phone, and connect it to The Play.  I was able to pair my S4 and Note 8.0 simultaneously, and receive call from both of them without any difficulties.

Conclusion

I usually pair my headset to the Note 8.0, since I’m keeping ny S4 in a pocket in my jacket. A couple of weeks ago, my S4 was almost stolen from me by a pickpocket while I’m on my way to the office on a bus. This is one of the reason why I’m planning to use The Play as my daily driver, relegating The Clipper for the more environmentally challenging tasks. The multiuse should be very useful, as It shall be connected to my S4 and Avaya Softphone running on my office notebook when I’m at the office, and the Note 8.0 when I’m out commuting between places.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. G says:

    How is the Jabra Play working out for you after almost two years of usage?

    1. ikhsan says:

      It’s okay-ish I guess. Just as I predicted, the first one to break is the flap. It has 2 rubber beam that secure the flap to the body, and one of the has broke, so it’s still usable but kind of on its’ last breath. Functionally I have no major complain aside from it needing a little bit of time to sync with the host. So when you turn it on and connect it to a device, sound will come out a little bit choppy, but after a half minute it will work ok

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