I’m going to jump right in on this: the Jabra Rox Wireless is by far the best-sounding headset made by Jabra for music listening. For decades, Jabra was known for wireless mobile headsets, but they only started getting serious on music-quality headsets from 2012. Most of the earlier Jabra music-series headsets are weaker in treble production. Boosting the treble using equalizer may not compensate because the driver itself may not be capable of delivering the clarity.
On the Rox Wireless, not only did Jabra manage to deliver the treble frequency, it also balanced the rest of the audio spectrum to make the headset sound really sweet. There is very good control of treble sibilance, with no hint of sounding out of control.
The mid-range is clean, perhaps slightly suppressed (to my preference), so vocal tracks tend to blend with the instrumentation mix, but acoustic piano works great with the right amount of warmth.
On the bass, the Rox Wireless tamed it down compared to earlier Jabra music headsets. Instead of just loud pumping sounds, the bass is firmer and does not sound muddy, yet the sub-sonic sounds are still audible.
In terms of sound-staging, I find the instrument separation is well-defined yet tight sounding. The Bluetooth 4.0 audio quality is exceptional. Throughout my review period, there was no hint of audio artefacts due to wireless streaming.
If for any reason you do not like the original sound of the Rox Wireless, you can alter the equalizer using the Jabra Sound App (for Android and iOS). Activating the Dolby Plus sound increases the sound staging and gives a more exciting (i.e. compressed) sound.
Design-wise, the Rox Wireless follows the likes of Plantronics BackBeat GO and Jaybird Bluebuds X which consists only a pair of earbuds and short Kevlar-reinfoced cable. It’s so convenient to use: just hang it around your neck the whole day, cable-free, tangle-free. You can easily turn off the headset by clipping both earbuds together with built-in magnets. The Rox Wireless is certified to be sweat-proof, so you can use it for your sweaty workouts.
The package comes with ear-wings of 3 sizes, and I recommend using them to support the earbuds even if you don’t use them for workouts, as I find the the earbuds rather heavy on the ears. With the right ear-wings and earbuds, the Rox Wireless will not fall off during your running sessions.
One thing to point out is that the mic is actually located on the left earbud, not on the music control bar, so you should be wearing the left ear during conversations, or you should talk to the left earbud instead of to the music control bar where the mic is usually located for other conventional headsets.
Battery life is rated at 5.5 hours. When the battery warning audio prompts are heard, you have about 30 minutes of battery use left. I do find the standby life is quite long (rated as 18 days) even though I did not always clip the earbuds together. Basically, the Rox Wireless does not consume much battery even though you leave it on as long as there is no active streaming. Charging is using the standard micro USB cable and any USB power source and takes about 2 hours. The package only comes with the cable, without charger.
Pairing the Rox Wireless to your music devices is easier with NFC. The chip is located at the music control bar. Just brush it against the NFC area on your device and it should start the pairing sequence.
I am so pleased with the Rox Wireless sound quality and design, but the disappointing areas are the little things that ruin the user experience.
- The ear wings are held by securing the elastic silicon around the earbuds. The ear wings may fall off or go out-of-alignment when rough handled.
- The magnets that clip the earbuds together are weak and easily breaks apart if you store it unprotected in the bag. Once the earbuds are detached, the Rox Wireless will turn on automatically.
- The cable is not long enough to go over the collar of your tee or shirt, which means you have to loop the cable inside your top before you can lock the earbuds.
- If you wear magnetised metal jewellery, the Rox Wireless might get clipped to it.
- The Rox Wireless seems to have connection reliability issues. Occasionally, despite audio prompts that device is connected, there is no audio, other times it would take several seconds for audio to be heard. In short, the success rate of the Rox Wireless reconnecting to your device is unacceptably low. This happens to the HTC One M8 which I used for this review. Tip: when auto-reconnect fails, the workaround is to go to the device’s Bluetooth setting menu and manually disconnect and re-connect the Rox Wireless.
- Once a while, you might encounter audio break ups even when the device is less than a metre apart (like in my trouser pocket). This occurs more frequently when multiple devices that you pair with the Rox Wireless are connected at the same time.
It is unfortunate that the product major weakness is on the inconsistent re-connection to the paired device. If you have the chance to test the Rox Wireless at retail stores, make sure you test with your music device and see if you face similar issues.
The Jabra Rox Wireless retails at S$168, available at the Jabra Singapore Online store and all good electronic stores.
Love It! Bought It! Sold It!
22 Aug 2015 update: After I completed my review, I bought off the review unit under my own expenses. But when the Jabra Sport Pulse launched in Oct 2014, I reviewed that and decided to replace the Rox Wireless with the Sport Pulse.
The reason for selling off is that I hate to leave my perfectly great gadgets lying around and not using it. I knew that if I were to get a new headset, the old one would be redundant. As a fitness enthusiast, the Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless offers additional benefit – heart rate monitor. Nonetheless, I prefer the audio quality of the Rox Wireless.
Are you in the same dilemma too? Share your comments below!
Article originally published on 3 May 2014, updated on 22 Aug 2015.