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Jabra Clipper Review
The Jabra Clipper is a versatile stereo Bluetooth headset that can handle calls on the go or even stream music to your home stereo system.
(4 out of 5)
- Good stereo sound quality
- Works with any standard-size 3.5mm headphones or speakers
- Poor noise cancellation
- Clip design offers limited flexibility.
You get a lot for your money with the Jabra Clipper. Though technically a stereo Bluetooth headset, you can even use it to turn your home entertainment system into a massive speakerphone. Or you can just clip it to your shirt, plug some earbuds in, and go for a run. Though it lists for $59.99, the Clipper can be found for $39.99, making it a good, inexpensive option if you’re looking for multiple ways to use stereo Bluetooth.
Design, Fit, and Pairing
The Jabra Clipper is a 1.9 by 0.7 inch rectangle that measures just over 0.5 inches at its widest point. It comes in a number of colors, including black, pink, tangerine, turquoise, and white. We received the tangerine model, and while I like the nice, bright color, it’s definitely a loud look. Black or white look much more subdued—and they’re much less likely to clash with your outfit.
The device itself is made of a silky feeling rubberized plastic. There’s a standard-size 3.5mm headphone jack on the top edge and a power port on the bottom. There are two volume control buttons and a multifunction Talk button embossed on the face of the Clipper in the shape of a bullseye. A somewhat dim status light sits underneath the plastic.
Physically, the Clipper looks like, well, a clip. It’s designed to clip onto your shirt, and you plug a set of headphones right into it, so you’re not tethered to the device you’re connected to. This design may actually make it a bit difficult to use if your attire doesn’t consist of as many button-down shirts as mine does. Since the Clipper isn’t exactly a clip, it’s somewhat difficult to slide down over the top ring of a t-shirt. It also looks kind of weird in that position. Additionally, the Clipper offers just .16 inches of space with which to clip, so it’s pretty much out if you’re wearing a sweater. I’d prefer if it were more like a tie clip, where there’s an actual, physical clipping mechanism involved.
The Clipper comes with a set of in-ear buds, with three different rubber tips so you can get a good fit. I found the medium-size tips to be the most comfortable, and the in-ear design does a nice job of blocking out ambient noise. They sound decent, too. They’re no replacement for your favorite set of earphones, but they deliver calls and music that sound rich and full of bass. My biggest issue is that the buds are designed to be worn behind your neck, which I find a bit awkward. Thankfully, the Clipper allows you to use any pair of headphones you want. Just plug them into the 3.5mm jack, and you’re good to go.
The first time you turn on the Clipper, it automatically enters pairing mode. After that, you must hold down the Talk button for several seconds while the device is turned on in order to pair with something new. The Clipper supports Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, and can only be paired with one device at a time. For this review, I tested the Clipper with an Apple iPhone 4S ($199.99-$399.99, 4 stars), an LG Viper 4G LTE ($79.99, 4 stars), and a laptop PC running Windows 7. I didn’t experience any pairing issues or audio dropouts.
Sound Quality, Other Uses, and Conclusions
For calls, sound quality through the Clipper is average. Using the bundled headphones, incoming calls sound rich, clear, and easy to understand. On the other end, calls made with the Clipper sound clear but thin, and noise cancellation is poor. The Clipper itself houses the microphone, so the closer you wear it to your mouth, the better. I found that my voice was much easier to hear when wearing the clip right below the top button on my shirt, than, say, wearing it closer to my chest.
You can use the Talk button to answer and end calls, redial numbers, mute the mic, play and pause music, and skip tracks. The LED light doubles as a battery and status indicator using different colors and flashing patterns. There are also sound prompts which alert you to the same info. Range is average; you can move about 10 feet away from your device before sound begins to clip out. At full volume (which is quite loud), the Clipper lasted 4 hours and 48 minutes. At a safer level of volume, it should have no trouble reaching the 6 hours quoted by Jabra.
For music, sound quality is dependent on the headphones you plug into the Clipper. The bundled buds sound fine if you’re just looking for something loud and thumping to overpower the music playing over the speakers at the gym. But these are definitely not audiophile-quality earphones, and music sounded substantially cleaner through a pair of Bowers & Wilkins C5 In-Ear headphones ($179.95, 4.5 stars)
Another cool feature is that you can connect the Clipper to any set of speakers you like (provided they use a 3.5mm jack) to make them Bluetooth-compatible. So the speakers attached to your computer, for instance, can be plugged into the Clipper, through which you can then stream music from your device. You can even use the speakers as a mega speakerphone, although you need to be close enough to the Clipper to talk into it, so it isn’t all that practical. Still, considering that a Bluetooth adapter like the Logitech Wireless Speaker Adapter costs $39.99, the Clipper can basically serve the same function (albeit with less range) and make calls for about the same price.
All told, the Jabra Clipper does a lot of things many other Bluetooth headsets can’t. You can make calls with it. You can use it at the gym. You can even connect it to the speakers in your home theater setup. The Plantronics BackBeat Go ($99.99, 4 stars) remains our Editors’ Choice for its superior voice performance, excellent noise suppression in both directions, and clear sound quality. The Samsung HS3000 ($59.99, 3 stars) is similarly versatile to the Clipper, but sound quality is mediocre. The Samsung HM3700 ($59.99, 4 stars), meanwhile, features excellent sound quality in stereo mode, but is mediocre as a mono Bluetooth headset. So if you’re looking for something that’s both inexpensive and flexible, the Clipper is an excellent option.
Continuous playback time: 4 hours 48 minutes
By Alex Colon, PCMag