Jabra STEPS Bluetooth
Step Wireless allows you to give up the cords and listen to music, play games and take calls on-the-go in high quality stereo sound. With Step Wireless, you can leave your phone in your pocket and control your music and calls straight from your earbuds.
Get all of your music. These noise isolating earbuds may be small but they pack impressive sound. They’re angled to lock-in immersive, full sound and your music won’t skip a beat.
Step’s earbuds are so light and comfortable, you’ll forget they’re there. Soft, flexible GelHooks™ and a choice of three types of EarGels™ ensure they fit naturally and securely in your ear. Dust and water resistant, Step is designed to keep up with your lifestyle.
The Jabra Step Wireless's design aims at those on-the-go. Solid build quality and accommodating customization options help to align the appeal.
As a whole, the Step Wireless is comprised of two square, black plastic bases attached to protruding earbuds and leashed together by a thick, rubber-coated wire. The wire comes equipped with in-line controls and a microphone. The battery and bluetooth receiver are housed within the base of the right earbud.
I had initial concerns that these rubbery buds would have a hard time keeping a secure grip inside of my ear and, at first, they did. Thankfully, the three included sizes of EarGels, as they're called in Jabra-land, accommodate to different inner-ear sizes.
This helped offset the extra weight of these wireless earbuds and keep a tight lock. These earbuds, while as compact as possible, do pack in a little extra weight, due to the internals, and hang out of the ear a bit more than your average pair of wired alternatives.
For an additional measure of support, Jabra's GelHooks, rubber cradles for your ears, are included. These played their biggest role in keeping the earbuds from popping out while doing some more rigorous physical activity. During more leisurely work, though, they grew irritating and painful after about 45 minutes of use.
Bass-heavy hip hop tracks and layered instrumental jazz jams weren't reduced to tin-can reproductions of my favorite songs, which is certainly saying something. By cutting the cord, I didn't have to sacrifice sound quality. But all is not well with this headset.
Incessant connectivity issues ruined my experience with the Step Wireless. Initial attempts at connecting were as simple. That said, every attempt at reconnecting to a familiar device after some time apart would render the experience choppy, if I was lucky.
Other times, I couldn't connect at all. The result was a dreadfully tedious process of having to "forget" the device and wipe its handshake from my devices each time I wanted to reconnect. Sometimes, that didn't even work. This thing has a mind of its own.
I mostly wear headphones during my morning and evening subway commutes, and at the gym, where I did most of my testing. On the train, I failed to connect the headset with direct line of sight numerous times, often finally kicking in with just a few minutes of my commute left. During a workout, I had to rough the silence for ten minutes – when I needed musical encouragement the most – until the headset finally agreed to work.
I tested out syncing and re-syncing with numerous devices, all yielding similar results. Eventually, I grew numb to the process, just doing what needed to be done to get it to work properly, which is a shame. It should just work.
While the sound is impressive and the battery life is good enough for most people, these qualities do little to redeem the Jabra Step Wireless. It's simply too tough to look past these constant connectivity issues.
To tempt me with the fruits of a hands-free lifestyle and to deny me of that is a sour thing to do. The Step Wireless doesn't measure up to my standards as to how seamless of an experience a Bluetooth headset should provide in 2014. While they're no earbuds, the Bluetooth headphones meet those demands just fine.