Earphones have always been wearable tech, way before the present profusion of gadgets for the lower stretch of the forearm. Apple’s recent acquisition of Beats confirmed that earphones are more investable than fitness bands, and are more visible and desirable, and enduring. Anyway, who spams your social media feeds with selfies of the wrist, whatever encircles it? A beaming countenance framed by a ridiculously large on-ear headphone in blazing colour is far much more fetching for the front-facing camera of the smartphone.
That is why we’re not sure if these Jabra Rox Wireless ear-buds will catch on. Don’t get us wrong; we love them—so much so that, at first sight, we bought not one, but two! It’s just that they may be terribly discreet and underwhelming for those hooked on headphones-cum-ear-muffs brandished with a conspicuous ‘b’. It’s hard to sell Celine to the Cavalli customer, no?
Some ear-buds are really more wearable than others. The Jabra Rox Wireless is one of them. With the standard ear-buds, you drape the cable over your shoulders when not in use. With the Jabra Rox Wireless, click the ear-buds together, and you’ll get one necklace with a high-tech pendant! Just the accessory to go with a white tee. Or lay atop the lapels of a black Dior jacket.
The nifty convenience aside, these ear-buds pack quite a punch in their tiny water-resistant metal/rubber bodies. Jabra is not really known for their earphones even when they are associated with wireless headsets. So it is a delightful surprise when these are slipped into the ear. The sound is full, clear, and punchy, with just enough bass to affect the body without loss of control. And when they say “massive”, Jabra means it. Rarely is there a need to push volume past the half-way mark. With the right fit of the ear-buds (‘ear gels’ and ‘ear wings’ of various sizes are provided), ambient noises are adequately filtered.
And when the music flows? Coldplay’s A Sky Full of Stars takes over the head as the pianos tinkle smoothly into electronic highs against percussion and baseline that deserve to be in any FIFA World Cup anthem. And Chris Martin’s dream-like yet soaring vocals are clearly dreamy and high-note reaching (listen to Always in My Head: it won’t get out of your head!). In a word: gorgeous. With Tokyo String Quartet’s Beethoven: String Quartet, it’s hard to fault the smoothness of articulation—the lucid strings blend, dipping and rising to create that warm feeling that is always welcome when in bed and it’s raining outside.
The beautiful sounds are easily accessible via the in-line remote, which allows you to control the volume, change tracks, and, of course, answer calls. Here, too, lies the NFC chip, a neat addition that lets you pair a compatible smartphone (and tablet) without fuss. And the best part: when you need a break from the music, just unite the ear-buds, and they snap together magnetically, and, at the same time, go into sleep mode. When you’re ready for their intended use, uncouple the ear-buds, ease them into your ears, and a sweeter-than-Siri voice discreetly tells you that you’re “connected”.
And, yes, we love discreet.
Jabra Rox Wireless, SGD168, is available at Epicentre outlets and Stereo, The Headphone Concept Store