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Thread: Compare Jaybird Freedom 3, Plantronics Backbeat Go and Novero Rockaway

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    Compare Jaybird Freedom 3, Plantronics Backbeat Go and Novero Rockaway

    In pursuit of the perfect stereo BT headset, I have purchased the following: Jaybird Freedom 3, the Novero Rockaway, and the Plantronics Backbeat Go. I also have the Motorola SD10-HD that I was replacing.

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    All three have similar form factors, but each has pluses and minus...

    Build quality - from a casual perspective I would say that the Novero Rockaway and Plantronics BBG have the highest build quality. The Jaybird Freedom 3 seem to be a little plasticy and light weight. However, the Jaybird are the only ones that are recommended as a workout device with ability to deal with associated moisture. Ranking build quality:

    (1) Novero Rockaway and Plantronics BBG
    (2) Jaybird Freedom 3

    Fit - All three are small and light weight but have different feel from a wearing perspective. The ear pieces that come with the Novero range from tiny to medium (the XL is only slightly larger than medium on others, so if you have big ears plan on getting additional ear gels). Everybody's ears are different, but for my ears the bend in the Jaybirds provide the best overall fit:

    (1) Jaybird Freedom 3
    (2) Plantronics BBG
    (3) Novero Rockaway

    Looks - The Jaybirds Freedom 3 has the largest ear pieces that hang below the ears. You don't feel it when wearing them, but it is probably the most obvious that you are wearing something other (i.e. geekier) than a standard headset. The Novero Rockaway and Plantronics BBG just look "cooler" and less bulky when hanging around your neck.

    (1) Novero Rockaway and Plantronics BBG
    (2) Jaybird Freedom 3

    Sound - Nothing scientific, just my ears and I will caviot that I am not an audiophile. The Jaybird Freedom 3 are by far the loudest with best bass. I like the sound of the Novero Rockaways over that of the Plantronics BBG.

    (1) Jaybird Freedom 3
    (2) Novero Rockaway
    (3) Plantronics BBG

    Controls - The Novero Rockaway and Plantronics BBG have similar controls on the cord below the right ear piece. The Novero Rockaway has three buttons and the Plantronics BBG has four buttons (separate power button). The Plantronics automatically add a battery guage to the iPhone (there is an app for android) which is a nice touch. The Jaybird Freedom has three button controls on the right ear piece. I thought I would like the controls on the cord, but in the real world it is easier to find your ear - than the control block on the cord.


    (1) Jaybird Freedom 3
    (2) Plantronics BBG
    (3) Novero Rockaway

    Connectivity - This is a big differentiator for these three products. Jaybird Freedom supports multi-point connectivity - to connect to two devices at once. The Novero Rockaway can pair with multiple devices but only connect to one at a device at a time. The Plantronics BBG can ONLY pair to one device at a time. That means you must re-pair the device if you change the source (including deleting the old pairing) - a show stopper for me since I have multiple devices.

    (1) Jaybird Freedom 3
    (2) Novero Rockaway
    (3) Plantronics BBG

    Charging - The Novero Rockaway and Plantronics Backbeat Go utilize a standard micro USB connector. The Jaybird Freedom 3 use a non standard connector (at least it wasn't familiar to me) it comes with a short USB cable - but it limits the ability to borrow a charger in a pinch.

    (1) Novero Rockaway and Plantronics BBG
    (2) Jaybird Freedom 3

    Summary

    If I were to truly go with the numbers the Jaybirds win this contest, but I much prefer the "cool" factor of the Novero (and Plantronics). Net result - wife is keeping the Jaybirds. I am keeping the Novero. The Plantronics becomes our "spare" and the Motorola will stay in the gym bag.

    I want the full capabilities of Jaybirds with the form factor of either of the Novero or Plantronics... Will need to keep looking for now.
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    Last edited by DaveVA; 05-11-2012 at 08:36 PM.

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    Wow, nice work!
    Air goes in and out. Blood goes round and round. Any deviation is a problem.

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    Thanks for that review! I use the bestbuy brand rocketfish wraparounds (not in-ear). They're cheap and easy to replace in case I break them/sweat a lot on them.

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    Thanks for the review! I am trying Jaybird Freedom 3 at the moment, but the Mini USB vs the more standard Micro USB charging port is making me consider trying the others.

    How much LESS total volume do the Plantronics BBG and Novero Rockaway have in comparison to the Jaybird Freedom 3? Does one or the other produce significantly lower volume?

    Did you notice any significant Bluetooth connection strength differences if the phone is carried in a front pocket? What phones were used by you and your wife for testing?

    Also, did you consider Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800? I realize that these use a proprietary charger.

    Finally, did you find either the Novero Rockaway or Plantronics BBG in any brick and morter stores?

    Thanks again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boz1 View Post
    Thanks for the review! I am trying Jaybird Freedom 3 at the moment, but the Mini USB vs the more standard Micro USB charging port is making me consider trying the others.

    How much LESS total volume do the Plantronics BBG and Novero Rockaway have in comparison to the Jaybird Freedom 3? Does one or the other produce significantly lower volume?

    Did you notice any significant Bluetooth connection strength differences if the phone is carried in a front pocket? What phones were used by you and your wife for testing?

    Also, did you consider Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800? I realize that these use a proprietary charger.

    Finally, did you find either the Novero Rockaway or Plantronics BBG in any brick and morter stores?

    Thanks again.
    The volume difference is noticeable. I found that the Jaybirds could go loud enough to be uncomfortable and I did not max out the volume on loud music. I keep both the Novero and Plantronics at Max all the time. Between the two I would say the Novero are very slightly louder.

    My wife and I both use the iPhone (4 and 4s). Have not had connectivity issues and I carry my phone in my pants pockets.

    I did not look at the SE HBH-IS800. I think it is slightly older model, though I don't know how that would effect it from a feature perspective.

    The Plantronics BBG are sold at Best Buy, but they have put them in the phone section as opposed to the headphone section in our store.

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    Thanks again for all of the great information!

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    Wow!
    What a great write up! I've been in the market for a decent stereo BT for quite a while now, and have been rather torn between the three of these. My question is the call quality on all three (sending /receiving)?
    :Add sig here:

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmorty View Post
    Wow!
    What a great write up! I've been in the market for a decent stereo BT for quite a while now, and have been rather torn between the three of these. My question is the call quality on all three (sending /receiving)?
    I need to go back and try the Jaybirds again and maybe leave messages so I can test outgoing quality on the three. I do know that the incoming sound on the Plantronics BBG (surprisingly) was very tinny - enough to bother me. I use the Novero daily for calls and I have had no complaints from people i talk to and it sounds good on my side. I will do a more comparitive test and post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveVA View Post
    I need to go back and try the Jaybirds again and maybe leave messages so I can test outgoing quality on the three. I do know that the incoming sound on the Plantronics BBG (surprisingly) was very tinny - enough to bother me. I use the Novero daily for calls and I have had no complaints from people i talk to and it sounds good on my side. I will do a more comparitive test and post.
    Sound's good! Leaning towards the Rockaways myself. Although I wish there was a brick and mortar place where I could pick them up directly, instead of having to ordering them via Amazon or whatever. :/

    Sent from a covert location using telepathic means and satellite relays.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmorty View Post
    Wow!
    What a great write up! I've been in the market for a decent stereo BT for quite a while now, and have been rather torn between the three of these. My question is the call quality on all three (sending /receiving)?
    I did a test of of the three from a call quality perspective both receiving and sending. I called a Cisco Unity Voicemail system that that returns a "wav" file of the message left from all three headsets. In the middle of each call, I turned on a fan to see how well the "noise cancellation" worked from each. The Novero Rockaways had the best incoming sound. It just sounded the most natural to me. The Jaybird Freedom and Plantronics were passable, but just not as rich sounding as the Novero when listening to the prerecorded message. As far as the microphone the Novero, Jaybirds and Plantronics all delivered reletively good sound in a quiet environment. I was a little disappointed in the noise cancellation on all three products (never really thought about it before but I think I expected something far more dramatic in external noise reduction (ala noise cancelling headphones)). Once the fan was turned on, the Novero was the best, the Plantronics was second, and the Jaybirds were largely unintelligible (which could be related to microphone placement). I am happy to post the wav files, but I don't believe the forum will allow me to do so...

    Rating:
    (1) Novero Rockaway
    (2) Plantronics BBG
    (3) Jaybird Freedom 3

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    I have now tried all three. I liked the overall sound, bass response, and loud volume of the Jaybirds best. My issues with the Jaybirds were 1) the non-standard mini USB charging port vs the more standard micro USB charging ports of the others, and 2) if I put my hand in my pocket to adjust the Jaybird volume, and keep my hand there for more than half a second, the Bluetooth signal drops. This does NOT happen with the other two.

    The problem I have with the other two are the comparatively very low volume output and near zero bass.

    I'm almost considering buying another Jaybird locally to see if the Bluetooth signal drop problem was only with the particular unit I had, but from the reviews I've read regarding signal problems with the Jaybirds, I kind of doubt that would be the case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boz1 View Post
    I have now tried all three. I liked the overall sound, bass response, and loud volume of the Jaybirds best. My issues with the Jaybirds were 1) the non-standard mini USB charging port vs the more standard micro USB charging ports of the others, and 2) if I put my hand in my pocket to adjust the Jaybird volume, and keep my hand there for more than half a second, the Bluetooth signal drops. This does NOT happen with the other two.

    The problem I have with the other two are the comparatively very low volume output and near zero bass.

    I'm almost considering buying another Jaybird locally to see if the Bluetooth signal drop problem was only with the particular unit I had, but from the reviews I've read regarding signal problems with the Jaybirds, I kind of doubt that would be the case.
    Boz - Curious as to which of the three you ended up keeping/using the most.

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    Just a quick product update note - Jaybird has released the Jaybird Sprint which are 40% smaller than the reviewed Jaybird Freedom. I have not tried the Sprint, but they look really good on paper.

    A second note after long usage of the Novero Rockaways - one thing I like is the power management (though others may not like the implementation). The headphones automatically disconnect from the device when not in use. The have a quick connect mode that a single push of the MFC reconnects and will auto answer a ringing phone. This preserves battery, but has the limitation that the phone does not ring through the headset when in power save mode. It is very quick re-connect, so it works for me, and it allows the battery to last all day.

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    excellent review,plantronic backbeat 903 made me ill

    i drive large earthmoving equipment so have been looking for loud noise cancelling headphones & have been looking at the 3 you have mention,i have tried the plantronic backbeat 903 & found them excellent apart from when i removed them i felt sick & could see yellow spots where ever i tried to focus & they also made me feel slightly cross eyed,when i told plantronics 1 of there top men had contacted me within 2 days of sending my email & the 1st thing he said was "I know what your thinking,its radiation poisioning" well i wasnt thinking that until he mentioned it,he then asked me a few questions & sent me a complemetary new pair of headphones which still had the same effect on me,hence why im still looking,i did notice in the jaybird specs that they dont have noise cancelling maybe thats why they didnt perform aswell,but if you have any suggestions of a set of inear headphones that are loud with good noise cancelling i would be very interested

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