Many will probably remember the original Bluetooth headsets from the late 90s and early 2000s.. Madonna-esque boom microphones attached to an earpiece that were as iconic as the Apple Airpods are today. If you saw someone wearing one of these, you knew they had a good phone and were probably important (or at least thought they were).
Regardless, there’s a reason why this design for mobile headsets has persevered – they’re small, light, usually comfortable for all day wear, and they do the job they’re designed to do. They let you make calls without holding your phone up to your head, talk to your smart assistant if needed, and listen to music (albeit in one ear only).
What is it?
Jabra’s TALK 65 headset features Bluetooth 5.1 meaning that while it can do everything a stereo headset can do, it might not be ideal for listening to music. However, for the current fad of unified communications – things like Zoom, Teams, and so on – this is a blessing, as it means you can readily communicate with colleagues and friends without having to lift a hand.
First impressions were – and remain, a couple of months later – very good. This is a minimal device, quick to charge and lasts forever. You pop it on when you sit down for work and you can almost forget that it’s on your ear – it works all day, seamlessly jumping in for your Teams calls and phone calls, and doesn’t need a charge. You also don’t really need to turn or take it off between calls, as its easy enough to forget about and you can quite easily hear the physical world around you while wearing it.
There are smaller headsets, but not many, and while the 20g weight is noticeable, it’s not uncomfortable. The design is for the unit to sit on your ear rather than necessarily in it, which avoids the discomfort of extended wearing of in-ear pods.
Control-wise, you’ve got everything you need without a thousand button or swipe combos to remember. There’s three easy buttons for power, volume up and down, and you can tap on the microphone boom to quickly answer or reject calls.
How’s it go?
In terms of actual use, Jabra claims 14 hours talk time, but if you’re talking that long in a day you probably need to change jobs! In my experience making a few hours of calls a day, it lasted me a week, and that’s on top of a claimed 17 day standby time. You can basically turn this on, leave it at your desk and forget about it, and if you get into a habit of chucking it on charge on a Friday afternoon when you’re done for the week, you’ll never have to worry about it again.
One of my biggest bugbears for any audio devices is how well they keep out unwanted noise; I don’t want to hear the outside world when I’m on a call, and equally, I don’t want the other people on my call to hear what’s going on around me. Jabra’s TALK 65 does very well on both sides – others can clearly hear me, and I can hear them over the usual background office noise.
Better yet, Jabra TALK 65 supports Bluetooth multipoint meaning you can connect your headset to a laptop and your mobile at the same time, for seamless hands-free Teams calls while allowing incoming phone calls to also route through the headset without interference.
One device for all your connectivity is what I strive for – in fact, devices that don’t support Bluetooth multipoint connections generally don’t rate a review. In this day and age, leaving such a feature out is inexcusable.
Should you buy one?
The long and the short of it is I can’t really find fault with the Jabra TALK 65; it does exactly what it’s meant to do, it does it very well and discretely, and does it for such a long time you’ll probably forget to charge it.
Perhaps the only downside is more a human factor than anything else – it’s relatively small and black, meaning if you don’t religiously store it somewhere you can easily find it, it’s easy to misplace it on your desk, in your drawer or in your backpack.
Jabra’s TALK 65 is available for $149, but you can find it cheaper if you look around. At this price, if you’re a regular phone caller or Teams / Zoom / whatnot user, you really should have something like this in your bag.
Jabra has not sought the return of the Talk 65 headset owing to hygiene concerns about re-use of in-ear audio technologies.