Leo Laksi’s Bangkok And Back

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

BlueAnt Z9i v. the “New” Jawbone Bluetooth Headsets

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BlueAnt Z9i with iPhone 3G

BlueAnt Z9i with iPhone 3G

Over the last year, I purchased both makes of headsets, each with their own their own unique noise suppression technology.  I first purchased the Jawbone mainly based on countless reviews I had read.  I wore the Jawbone daily for about two months.

Size about the same

Size about the same

The Jawbone is a beautifully designed headset and comes with several earloops of different materials and sizes.  The most beautiful ear loop is made with leather and contrasting white thread as shown in the photos.  The Jawbone exudes design and style although at times it’s appearance felt a little over the top when compared with the utilitarian Z9i.  Nevertheless, it is eyecatching and unique.

There were some things I disliked about the Jawbone.  First, I had a hard time finding a comfortable earloop in the selection that is provided in the kit.  The beautiful leather bound earloop become uncomfortable in a short period of time and I ended up tossing that loop aside for the plain plastic earloop.  More comfortable.

Second, the end of the loop that inserts into the hole on the body of the headsets can break and one has to be careful when inserting the loop in the headset.  Once you know that, it’s not a problem although I did break one of the supplied earloops.

Third, you can only pair the Jawbone to one phone at a time.  This is not a problem if you only carry one phone, but if you use more than one, then you end up having to unpair and then pair to the second phone.

Fourth, in the beautiful minimalist design, the controls are hidden and so it’s  learning process to remember the location of the controls.  Once you do, its not a big deal.

Face off

Face off

A friend turned me on to the Z9i and after looking at it’s specs, I bought one to test.   The Z9i is versatile mainly becauce it can pair with 5 phones and be connected to 2 phones at one time.  Although the design is ordinary, it was very functional with all controls easy to access with very little confusion.  And the reception was clear on both ends of the conversation, similar in sound quality to the Jawbone and possibly a little bit better based on a couple month’s worth of conversations with very few complaints.  Although my testing method is not scientific, I felt that the reception/tranmission was better.

In its design, the Z9i also has a built in clip, similar to a pen clip, that you can use to clip it to your pocket or placket of your shirt.  I found this very handy.  (You can see this in the above and below photos.)

Now, its weakness.  The metal earloop is substantial and one does not have to worry about breaking it.  It’s also very comfortable and one can forget they are wearing the headset.  And like the Jawbone, it weighs next to nothing.  The problem is the hard rubber nib that the loop is inserted into.  By the second month of use, this nib tore through and as a result I could not use the loop anymore with the headset.  And the clip fell off.  That’s right,  the Z9i became a worthless artifact.

Broken BlueAnt Z9i

Broken BlueAnt Z9i

However, because I was very satisfied with the Z9i, I bought a second one.  This one I’ve used for six months with no problems, although I have to treat it with some care.

So which one is better?  I think its a tossup although I prefer the Z9i because of its ability to pair with more phones and its obvious controls.  It was also very comfortable.  On the downside, the original one, broke and I had to replace it.

Right now the Jawbone is doing backup duty should the Z9i break.  However, it’s likely that if the BlueAnt died, I would buy another one.  And the Jawbone  to remain in reserve duty.  Maybe forever.

blueantorangestripeAbove photographs taken with Panasonic Lumix G1 with 45-200mm f/4.0-5.6 zoom lens and Leica M8 with Summicron 35mm f/2 lens.


Written by leolaksi

February 1, 2009 at 7:01 am

3 Responses

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  1. What are the price points of the Z9i?


    February 2, 2009 at 12:08 am

    • Can’t recall the cost of the Z9i. But it is cheaper than the Jawbone.


      February 2, 2009 at 7:04 am

  2. Also, how much talk time? Does it last through a conversation with sh?


    February 2, 2009 at 12:09 am

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