On the heels of updating its Jambox with LiveAudio, Jawbone's decided to release something a bit closer to its Bluetooth headset roots — the Icon HD. As you might have guessed, the addition of "HD" to the moniker means an improvement in sound quality — Jawbone has refreshed it with a 25 percent larger speaker (like the one in the Era) and its NoiseAssassin 2.5 tech. However, the biggest add to the package (and what a nice package it is!) is The Nerd, a USB audio adapter that makes it easier to connect the headset with a Mac or PC.
Chances are you're wondering: uh, why not just pair the headset to a laptop or desktop via Bluetooth? Jawbone's reasoning is two-fold. First, it's found that people seem to have a hard time pairing headsets to a laptop. The second: having to unpair a headset from a phone and then re-pair with a laptop is an annoying process and even if it supports multi-pairing it can be a complicated arrangement. We'll certainly agree with them on the latter, and the Icon HD and Nerd duo certainly saves you a bit of the hassle, making the switch between phone and computer audio fairly seamless. Hit the break for some quick impressions and hands-on shots.
It's actually a rather smooth set up process and, for the most part, the hand-off between phone and laptop was smooth. While listening to Rdio on my MacBook Air, an incoming call to my Droid 2 interrupted the music with a light ring and I was able to pick up the call. However, while the Icon and Nerd remained connected during the brief call, following the call I had to hit play in Rdio to get the music playing again. Over in Amsterdam, Thomas Ricker noticed the same issue with his iPhone and Spotify.
There's a similar hiccup when you attempt to switch from a Skype call on a laptop to an incoming call on a paired phone. The headset seems to have a hard time handing off from one concurrent call to another -- I was able to pick up the incoming call on my Droid 2, but wasn't able to switch back to the Skype call (which was still in progress) without hanging it up and restarting it. In other words, you have to hang up one to accept another. Despite those rather small issues, it seems like a solid $139 solution for those that don't mind wearing a Bluetooth headset and frequently need to alternate between calls on their laptop and smartphone.