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Jabra: we know our Bluetooth headsets don’t work with laptops (medium.com)
249 points by dandare 10 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 166 comments

"Wait, are you saying the headset can’t connect to a computer via native Bluetooth? And you knew it the whole time? While you asked me to try a different device, to update drivers, to install Jabra software, to meet with your technician… You were just trying to wear me down?!?"

This encapsulates what is most wrong and abhorrent about US customer service. This methodology is employed by thousands of companies, it is ingrained in the culture of their customer service reps. It is a "Never Back Down" attitude. They will consistently string a desperate customer along, through a maze of reps and procedures, knowing that the customer is more likely to burn out and give up before realizing that the road they are being led down does not result in resolution of the issue.

There are companies that do not engage in such behavior, yet they are primarily B2B rather than consumer facing, and usually in regard to items that are being purchased in the dollar range of tens and hundreds of thousands.

I work in the B2B space. One thing I've noticed is that if Enterprises aren't happy with the product they signed up for or the product doesn't deliver as promised they will refuse to pay (The ultimate motivator).

I feel like in the customer space you have less leverage and it's more of a headache to simply not pay or get a refund (in this case).

It's surprising to me how much power enterprises have over every aspect of a business relationship. Our company was acquired by a Large Consultancy. The first thing they did was tell our (corporate) landlord, "We pay everything 90 days late, and we will not pay late fees. Period." And that was that. Anyone else trying to violate the terms of a contract would be told where to go but the landlord swallowed it without a second thought.

That's not enterprise 'power' - that's leverage. The landlord could have told them to go kick rocks and your boss would have had to come up with a new offer or would have been scrambling to find a new office that optimized for your needs. This suggests that the market for office space in your city favors renters. Just wait and see what happens to your 'contract' when the market shifts!

Where is this business located? Our city has a real estate boom going on. The landlord night honor the lease rather than incur the cost of fighting it but would be unlikely to renew with that attitude.

Then again evicting a person is hard enough. I have no idea how hard it is to evict a company.

Can you imagine the prices and support you'd get if customer purchases were net-10?

Buy something with your credit card and if it's garbage, you just tell your credit card to hold payment.

Yes, testing, proper programming languages and QA processes would finally be taken seriously by management.

Assuming you don't have massive fraud issues, it wouldn't change anything.

When the product has a low price and many customers, then if the product works for most people. Things are fine :)

A Bluetooth headset that works with your phone works for most people.

Agreed. There is limited leverage in the customer space. The main balance are regulatory agencies and your state district attorneys. Something that will get a company's attention in a hurry is when a district attorney or a regulatory agency calls.

If you've purchased something, you've already paid. If you want your money back, you have to do the legwork, and about the only option you have is to get a refund from the place where you bought it.

My company refusing to pay CDW or Headsets.com doesn't hurt Jabra in anyway.

It does when large resellers suddenly drop their entire range as unprofitable.

This resonated with me because a few months back I went back and forth with Comcast regarding my shitty Internet speeds. Eventually I gave up, exhausted and unwilling to invest more time into a path I knew would not fix my issue (spoiler: Comcast has over sold our local network)

Here's the summary:

1. Notice my Internet speed was especially shitty on Sunday.

2. Run speed test (laughably slow), post to Twitter, tag Comcast.

3. Comcast replies, blaming my wifi and device.

4. Post more speed tests from other devices, within inches of my router. Post speed tests during off hours showing how the speed recovers.

5. Comcast still blames my wifi. How this explains why I get full speeds at 5AM I have no idea.

6. Run speed test (graphed and logged) from a wired PC, send to Comcast.

7. Comcast techs immediately "notice some issues" with my home connection. Why they didn't see this on step 2? No idea.

8. Technician comes, replaces some connections but nothing obvious, we geek out, he's an awesome guy and basically explains that my town got shafted with too few "nodes". He explains in his town, the user to node ratio is much better. His last advice is for me to get a "combo" router/modem from Comcast, instead of my leased modem and third-party (new) router. His explains this might help a tiny bit but has no other advice for me (other than move to his town - hilarious)

This final setp would involve me taking my modem (Internet down the whole time) to my local Comcast office (during work hours), and hopefully getting a combo router/modem with no issues.

I would then need to setup new combo device, and then graph and log my connection speed on Sunday and engage support again. At this point, there would be nothing they could do for me because I will have already exhausted all options. A new combo router/modem will not improve my speeds of 2 Kbps during peak hours so this is where I gave up!

Well, I had a similar experience with... Coursera, a couple weeks ago, so I assume it affects the whole spectrum of customer support.

I was doing a course, and had to access a Jupyter Notebook that was residing in a different server. When clicking the URL, the page will appear with a loading circle, and would die out after around 5 minutes (I measured it).

I was using my laptop (W7 + Chrome) but have a server also running Debian, with Forefox as browser. Tested in both places before accesing the chat.

I put as much into in the chat before hand.

A person shows up, tells me to "clean cookies and cache".

Tell her about the different test (This was never acknowledged, BTW).

Tells me "must be your connection".

"OK, let me test with my G4 phone"

"That kind of connections can be what is giving you problems, try ADSL"

OK, this is getting funny now.

Tells me to test a different url that she sends me over the chat.

"OK, not working here, let me test in firefox"

"We advise to only use Chrome, our apps might not work in other browsers" (THEIR page stated otherwise, and it was not a browser problem)

Told her nothing works: Tested Chrome on W7 over G4, Firefox in Debian over ADSL, nothing.

"Coursera cannot take responsibility about the content, we can only support the apps" ???

So, I was having a chat with a support tech that couldn't tell one thing form the other, as it was obviously the server (Had tried other notebooks from the same course)

Finally, asked to raise this to 2nd level. Told me not to ask opther people to download the notebook for me, as in that case if I submitted my work this would be taken as if it worked.

A couple of hours later, I notice a "forceRefresh" parameter in the url, changed it's value, app starts working.

As a side note, based in my experience support people are not prepared to deal with people with a certain technical level on the customer end.

>His last advice is for me to get a "combo" router/modem from Comcast, instead of my leased modem and third-party (new) router.

Bad idea. However, you shouldn't be leasing a modem. Buy them outright. Breaks even in a few months.

I need to replace my Charter modem about once a year... does that hold true even in that case?

This has been true for at least the last 5 years running.

Even with the latest DOCSIS modems, Comcast has been deprecating 2 channel and 4 channel modems in favor of 8 and 16 channel devices.

Were you buying the cheapest supported modem? Your modem was probably deprecated when you bought it.

Also, at least for Comcast, the fact that they don't support your modem doesn't mean it won't work. It just means they won't be pushing updates and if you call in with a problem they'll tell you to first replace the modem.

Replace for what reason ? That sounds abnormal if you have such a high failure rate. Might point to electrical issues in your house.

Not sure.. the Charter employees who come out usually test everything and everything else tests normal.

They don't seem bothered by the frequency ("is normal..")

Everything else connected to that part of the house seems normal.

The cable junction point out in the yard is usually under water... they replaced all that too, but said that's normal for this neighborhood (we're adjacent to wetlands). How that bombs out the modem inside the house continues to be a mystery.

I'm probably here for one or two more replacements, and I'll move to another part of my city.

As counter points, here’s some companies I’ve dealt with recently that had excellent customer service: Home Depot, Lowe’s, Moen, REI, Garmin, Prana.

With all of them I either had a customer service rep on the phone within minutes and a replacement shipped to me free of charge without argument, or was able to easily return/exchange an item well past any reasonable return period, in some cases without receipt. On products that were years to over a decade old. Heck, Prana is shipping me a new pair of pants when all I requested was a replacement button to sew on myself.

There are companies that provide good customer service and we should reward them with our business. But this service costs those companies money and your average consumer, I reckon, looks only at price.

I’ve started to only buy from companies who are know for customer service. If you know your buying from a good place it’s worth paying a few percent more. Just in case something happens. Trying to get off Amazon as well even if it means driving to Fry’s or Microcenter and paying more.

I will also try to buy from places who are known for treating their employees like human beings, REI for example.

It's far far worse in Europe ESPECIALLY if offshored to a low GDP country.

But in Europe we have stronger customer protection laws: if something doesn't work as advertised you have 1-3 years (depending on the country) to bring it back to whoever sold it to you. Then it's their problem to deal with the manufacturer.

In practice, it's far less effective than what most Americans enjoy. Return policies are usually abysmal in most of Europe, to begin with, and long term support is only technically better because of more regulations on warranties. In practice, American firms are far more lenient with their policies and credit cards alone provide more protections than most all of the EU regulations seek to implement.

This is just anecdotal nonsense, what factual sources do you have for this as it is completely contrary to my experience.

It is definitely anecdotal. I didn't mean to imply otherwise. I'll try to find some relevant data, though I'm not sure how easy that will be. Slightly more helpful are maybe looking up policies for most credit cards, which now let you return virtually any item within 90 days for any reason, extend warranties to a total of 2-4 years, cover accidental damage to items including breakage and theft for 90 days after purchase, and offer historical price matching for 60-90 days or sometimes even longer. These policies are extremely difficult to come by where I live (not in the US), and I've had a far more difficult time returning items that really should be returnable (dry pasta or something very shelf-stable) than I did in the States.

I did find this snippet, which at least indicates that Americans more often take advantage of return policies. However, I understand that this doesn't directly discuss the differences in policies:

"In the US, an estimated 8–10% of in-store sales is returned whereas online sales may result in 25–40% returns. [...] In Asia and Europe, less than 5 percent of purchases are returned." https://psmag.com/magazine/underwear-of-uncertain-origin

More anecdotes in that article, and countless other anecdotes are trivial to find online:

> U.S. retailers pride themselves on their generous return policies. At Costco, I can buy a barbecue grill, cook on it all summer, then return it in the fall for a full refund. (Which is not to say that I would.) Or take the proverbial television bought for Super Bowl Sunday, then returned. The days leading up to professional football’s championship game see a huge spike in TV sales. And just as reliably, the days after the game see a spike in TVs returned to the store.

It is so much easier to get a refund in Europe if being stonewalled on support. The legal liability rests with the retailer (Certainly in the UK, I think it's EU wide), and there are the concepts of "merchantable quality" and "expected life" that vary depending on the product and cost. Plenty of case law establishing those as quite high bars. If they ever get problematic quote the magic words of the title of the Act. Refund usually agreed, even at 6 or 12 months, sometimes much longer.

That's after the UK took a step or two down in consumer protection in adopting the EU regulations.

Where we do less well, particularly among the younger generation, is a belief that 30 day return windows and other such fairy tales actually mean anything legally speaking. I think that might be thanks to reading so many US perspectives online.

You're saying that you are able to return stuff more easily than in the US? Or that there is more of a customer support culture in Europe? I have lived in the US and currently live in Germany, this is demonstrably false.

I live in Europe and do like the idea of having a 2 year warranty by default for many things, but I dread the idea of actually using it. Customer service in Europe has a long way to go before it matches the US. There are many things that are better in the US, and many that are better in Europe.

I went to a warranty provider of a well-known tech company, was turned down, then sent an e-mail to the "global warranty support" or whatever. Some Russian basically told me to go fuck myself. It was kind of funny (the response fit the "stereotypical Russian" image), but I'm never buying products from that company ever again.

Name and shame.

> US customer service

Jabra is Danish.

Danish or not, it looks like the author dealt with North America support, a division likely build by people who have worked at other North America support divisions, and despite what corporate HQ says, will fall into North American support habits. 'cuz Danish or not, they still have numbers to meet.

>This encapsulates what is most wrong and abhorrent about US customer service.

It doesn't help that the majority of 'US customer service' isn't actually located in the USA but outsourced overseas. The Philipines handles a lot of T-Mobile and Verizon's customer service calls.

They have strict rules to make sure customers don't find out about this. To the point where employees will be fired if they're found speaking their dialect near any phones.

Jabras customer support is in Germany

Reminds me of the time my wife cancelled our internet with Vodafone and three months later we got a letter to say our arrears were being referred to a debt collection agency. I spent an hour on the phone, talked to 8 different people to only end up back at the 1st person. They claimed we only cancelled the direct debit and not the account, I agreed that they would pull the call and if that was the case I'd pay what was owed. As soon as I was off the call I got a mail to say that it would cost me €6 for them to listen to their recording. I got mad and looked up the CEO of Vodafone Ireland and found her direct email on a chamber of commerce website and email her a polite description of my experience. 10am next morning I get call from the head of customer service apologising and advising me that all fees had been waived, a win so I thought. A week later I get a call from HR asking if I had emailed the head of Vodafone from my work email, we had a corporate account and Vodafone complained that I had emailed their CEO using a work account on a personal matter. I could see the person in vodafone who checked who I was on linkedin the day before I got the call from HR. That was over five years ago and I still get annoyed, gits!

Is the implication here that even after going all the way up to the CEO, Vodafone still only fixed it because of your association with your company?

I think the implication is that despite contacting the CEO through a personal email address, Vodafone looked up his employer on LinkedIn and complained to them. From the sound of it, this would be petty revenge from the customer service department, who didn't like having been put in the spotlight for poor customer service.

Reciprocity- The customer complains to the CSE's CEO; the CSE complains to the customer's CEO

I had contacted Vodafone through a work email address as gmail was blocked where I work. I think the case was flagged as corporate as I made the call on my blackberry and the call was flagged as a corporate customer.

Oh, wow, reading it more carefully I see you're right. That's much worse than I thought.

I think the implication is that Vodafone later doxxed mywacaday's work persona and retaliated.


I had a similar experience trying to cancel Dish after a few days because everything I’d been told on the phone, including that there was a 30 day trial period, was wrong. I asked them to replay the recording and they just refused. Nothing happened until I filed a BBB complaint.

All I wanted to do was return the equipment and cancel my plan. I even offered to pay for the installation time from the technician who came out but they were not having it for some reason.

They pulled the call! Wow, I’ve never been able to have that done

I once made the mistake of buying Jabra wireless sports headphones.

You know there will be a problem if you open the box and the first thing you see is a piece of paper and a phone holster, obviously thrown in at the last moment. The piece of paper says you have to use the phone holster to attach the phone to your right arm. Yes, your right arm, the closer to your right ear the better. The instructions were very specific.

As it turned out, the wireless connection was indeed so crappy that it required holding the phone right next to the headphones. Don't like to attach the phone to your upper right arm? Tough luck.

I have stayed away from Jabra ever since.

A somewhat silly problem with bluetooth is that the signal will reach pretty far, but can be blocked by your body. So you can have a good connection while the phone is on the other side of the room and a bad connection if the phone is in the wrong pocket. That is probably the reason they include instructions like that.

I'm curious which headphones they were? I have the Active 85t and I've been pretty impressed with how they stand up to the interference on a busy NYC street. The (non-Jabra) headphones I had before that had to be in a chest pocket to avoid interference. Sometimes I can forget my phone until I'm a few steps out the door because the connection goes that far.

Plantronics does the exact same thing with their Backbeat Fit line.

I can speak from experience here, I have had both Backbeat Fit 1 and 2 (I'm using the 2 right this moment) and they are very good. The range is decent, not huge, but you certainly _don't_ have to have the phone on a particular side of your body.

I can walk out of the room and still have audio, but also to be fair that's not really their use case.

I had the 2100, and the connection was spotty when I had my phone in my left pocket. Their proposed solution was to carry my phone on the right pocket. My accepted solution was to return the defective device.

I've never known Bluetooth to not produce a miserable experience at some time or another. It's inconsistently bad in some cases too. I hate setting up bluetooth on my car the most, I need to "Talk" to my car, and I can't just do it while stopped at a red light, I have to shut off my car and do it before I go. I still havent redone it since I upgraded phones last year... I just plug into the aux port while driving.

AirPods completely changed my view of BT devices. Before, I avoided BT completely because I could never get them working well with an Android phone I was using at that time. Headphones I was using would always disconnect after some time and the quality would drop intermittently and there was no way to fix it. The "fix" was to wait for the battery to drain and then the headphones would restart. I tried few different headphones over the years and always went back to wired ones because of that.

After trying AirPods, I haven't had a single issue. Everything works fine. I'm even content with a BT keyboard and trackpad now.

Have I won the lottery? I've never had a single Bluetooth issue with any device I've ever had, except my current vehicle:

"All New" 2019 Ram 1500 (If anyone works for Uconnect, please email me.)

iPhone, iPhone 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 5X, Nexus 7, Razer Phone, Thinkpad Yoga, Thinkpad Book, self-assembled desktop, Toyota Corolla - all have worked perfectly with various, cheap, Bluetooth devices - keyboards, mice, speakers, earbuds, and each other for BT file transfers.

(It's really sad that a Corolla has a better Bluetooth experience than a Ram which is 3x in cost.)

> Have I won the lottery?


My experience with Bluetooth and kids while driving:

1. Dad, my headphones aren't working.

2. Ok, did you try turning them off an on again?

3. Yes

4. Did you turn BT on your iPhone on/off?

5. Yes

6. Did you "forget" the BT connection and re-establish.

7. Yes child rages

8. Are they ... charged?

9. Child now fully enraged: YEEEESS DAD! I'm not an idiot!

9. Ok ummmm, did you try steps 2, 4 and 6 a couple of times each?

10. child continues to rage, stops asking for help and proceeds to frantically toggle everything on/off/on/off while "tapping" their phone aggressively.

11. 10 minutes later ... Dad they're working now!

11. Awesome, so glad we got you those BT headphones.

There’s a step you forgot — turn your phone on and off. It’s annoying but it can fix problems with headphones when it’s not actually the headphones’ fault.

> Ram 1500

Do you work in agriculture?

No, I'm an Air Traffic Controller who uses a truck to move and tow stuff to help out friends, family, and Scouts.



I believe your parent is trying to level a "all hat, no cattle" claim upon you.

I am sympathetic to this line of reasoning - it's difficult to to look upon American truck culture in 2019 and not have that come to mind.

I have no comments on your specific situation. Thanks for helping kids with scouts.

I for one do think US truck culture is absurd. Pickups are best selling vehicles by far, yet their beds and towing capabilities are generally used about 1% of the time. The other 99% is commuting in the most wasteful of ways


I am in complete agreement with you, but you know what? Let's not rag on the guy about his truck when he was trying to contribute to a conversation about the annoyances of Bluetooth. Someone daring to type the word "truck" is not our excuse to pile on no matter how far out of context.

I think it's absurd when the very small fraction of truck owners lift them, trick them out, "roll coal", etc.

I think the vast majority of truck owners are reasonable.

Who doesn't own or pay for something "just in case"? We have insurance just in case we need it. People pay a little more for a truck instead of a sedan just in case they need it.

I didn't mean for this chain of comments to be about trucks, it was just the name of one item where Bluetooth doesn't work that well for me.

Some people seem to think that the only acceptable reason to own a pickup truck is if you're plowing fields with it on a regular basis.

It's socially acceptable here to low-key look down on certain luxuries or lifestyles over others.

It wasn't so low-key, if you ask me.

No it was incredibly rude and offtopic

AirPods completely changed my view of BT devices.

AirPods are the reason I bought Beats Studio headphones. Oh, no, my good sirs and madams, I am the last person on this planet who is going to buy something because some guy who likes big butts put his name on them. No, I am well aware of the denigration of the sound quality from those who supposedly know better. Yeah, they're probably over-priced for what they are.

But I wanted wireless over-ear headphones with noise-cancellation, and Beats has the W1 chip that give AirPods their magical lack of annoyance. Tried them in the store, they didn't suck (they are bass-heavy), take my money.

That's because AirPods aren't plain Bluetooth and include some proprietary Apple magic. I have several Bluetooth audio devices and the only one that's reliable my Jawbone (remember them?) Jambox. Everything else has weird failure modes where it fails to connect or connects partially and allows me to control playback but the sound still comes out my phone.

Headphone jacks were fucking awesome. I want them back.

As a fellow AirPods user on Android, you might like the app AirBattery which allows you to see AirPods and from my friend's experience even some of the Beats's battery status.

I'm not affiliated with the app in any way, it's genuinely helped me become untethered from wife's iPhone. (The app is free and there's $1 in-app to remove ads and enable advanced features.)

Yeah, same here. I can't use any other Bluetooth headphones now, after trying AirPods. It's at the point where I've been thinking of buying very fancy wireless NC headphones, but haven't done so because I can't bear the absence of a W1 chip in either the Bose or the Sony (and obviously am not spending $350 for suboptimal Beats NC), so I'm just not buying anything.

I was disappointed to find that Airpods, while better, aren't great either. I find the audio cuts out a lot when I pass through busy streets in NYC, and I often get into some kind of pairing weirdness where my phone simply won't play through the Airpods.

Still better than most Bluetooth solutions, though.

My AirPods work fine in NYC, with the exception of one specific place: The Oculus. I would love to know why.

For me it's areas a few blocks around Times Square. The only thought I had (and maybe the Oculus is the same) is that the sheer number of people also using Airpods in the area means everything gets confused.

Just googled a bit, and this seems to explain it: http://www.iphonehacks.com/2018/04/heres-why-your-airpods-or...

In short, it's the combination of no walls + lots of signal congestion. Times Square + Oculus both fit this mold.

That's the latest ridiculous annoyance in a long, sad series of ridiculous annoyances that I've experienced with portable audio, to the point where I've just resigned to not listen to music anywhere other than at home and at work. The hassle and distraction of managing either an audio cable or a Bluetooth connection are just too much.

Same, in London, walking down Oxford Street at 6pm can mean almost constant ‘diruptions’ over my AirPods.

The vast majority of devices are indeed bad. I am convinced that most manufacturers do not know how to handle very basic issues of connectivity and pairing. The BT standards and all of the BT chips available are capable of making very seamless pairing and re-connection flows, it's just the device manufacturers who don't use them correctly to do it.

There is a company called TeckNet that makes a BT mouse that is full-sized, five-button-with-wheel, and works very reliably. Microsoft has a few full-sized, reliably working keyboards, though I don't care for the key switches too mcuh. AfterShockz is the first headphone manufacturer I've found that works reliably and doesn't sound like complete crap (I can't wear earbuds, so I won't be buying Airpods).

Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do about your car's Bluetooth. Through various rentals on trips and such, I've tried Ford, Nissan, Honda, and BMW, as well as my own Subaru; they all flake out at some point. My Smart has an aftermarket JVC unit (installed by whomever previously owned the car) that seems to have spent more effort on fancy LED sequences than any sort of usage UX. I've seriously considered ripping out my stereo head unit in my Subaru and replacing it with an Android 4G tablet.

Ironically enough, I also have an aftermarket JVC. A very simple 1U tall discless, bluetooth-enabled player that supports Android phones and iPhones via MFi. It works perfectly. In fact, it also works with devices they claim not to support, like an iPad and an old iPod Classic via USB. The best thing about it is that when I go for a drive and need some navigation, I can just plug the iPad in directly via USB, keep it charged, use a map app and listen to music. It also supports keeping two phones connected via bluetooth for calls. So far I've had no issues with it and I've had it for a year now.

I knowingly went for something extremely simple, with MFi support and optional wired access and I haven't regretted it.

It might also be the choice of how they choose to integrate it.

In some Nissan cars the Bluetooth is a canbus device that you have to pair through weird gyrations on the steering wheel unless you have a Satnav unit. I mean it works fine in my experience but it's weird as hell.

My guess is that they're buying canbus modules from some supplier like Bosch and just slapping them on the canbus so they can check a box on the spec sheet.

I have three Bluetooth headsets (and all cheap, in the ~$100 range), use them with Android phones and Linux computers without any issue. The sound quality is par for the price but pairing, connecting, and disconnecting works just like with wired headphones.

Care to share which ones? I'm trying to find some headsets within that range. I'm not an audiophile, just need to hear, and block out just enough external noise.

I can recommend Anker SoundBuds. They're pretty hopeless for listening to music but OK for YouTube videos and other general purpose computer audio listening and I've never had any issues with the Bluetooth functionality at all.

Considering my overwhelmingly negative experiences with Bluetooth in the past I'm only just now realising how lucky I've been with them, especially considering how cheap they were.

Sure. ERATO Muse 5[1] for the gym, and Pioneer SE-MJ561BT[2] for the streets. Can't find the receipt for the third set.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N496ZYK/

[2] https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00R7B96SC/

I recently decided to upgrade to a pair of Bluetooth headphones for use at home and on flights. So noise cancelling and battery life were my two biggest features that I needed.

I ended up settling on the CB3 hush: https://www.cb3audio.com/products/cb3-hush-wireless-noise-ca...

For the price you really can't beat them. The bluetooth connection is great and I've never had issues since setting them up. They connect automatically to my phone (iPhone 8) as soon as I turn them on and can also connect to my laptop at the same time.

The noise cancelling is quite good, but if there's no noise playing from the headphones there can be a slight high pitched whirring sound heard.

Sound quality is quite good - comparable to the Bose headphones that I have at work. Additionally, unlike the Bose, the sound is also quite good without noise cancelling on which is really nice for battery life.

Overall I'm quite happy with my choice.

For my money, Plantronics makes the best affordable Bluetooth audio stuff. I have a pair of these hanging around my neck right now:


The batteries last for something like eighteen hours, the audio quality is very good, and I find that they strike a really good balance: I can hear just fine when they're not on, but when I'm playing music I can't hear much of anything. It can also pair to multiple devices (though it calls them all "phones"); if I stop something on my Android phone and start something on my laptop, it does the right thing, and it also has an app for iOS/Android that lets me throw to the correct device (though to get back from a laptop you have to turn its Bluetooth off, which sucks). They're really nice overall.

Similarly I'm a huge fan of their sport headphones. These are the only Bluetooth in-ears I can stand:


Six to eight hours of play time, completely acceptable audio when they're on, can hear just fine when they're not. They're the most comfortable headphones I've ever had; I often wear them for an entire day without noticing that they're in and I've accidentally gone to meetings with them in more than once. My only complaints are that the QC is not always great (or I got a fake, which is the guess I lean towards) and that there are a couple of firmware revisions, basically all the same but it's jarring to hear the robot lady say something different than the last time--because I have a really bad habit of losing them, I'm on my third set.

I've had a pair of JLabs for awhile that have worked fine with my iPhone. I don't think they sell my model anymore, and last I looked, the current version apparently is not as good. But, reading Amazon comments they do seem to have good CS if you need to return or exchange what you get.

When these break, I'm getting AirPods though. I see them in use in the office and it's like magic the ease of pairing, etc...

I have Sony WI-C400.

The battery life is incredible: Several hours of use each day for almost a week between charges. They hang around the neck, then the buds come up to the ear - there is no weight pulling on the buds to fall out. Decent sound.

i currently own a pair of jaybird x3s and i absolutely love them. they pair quite fast with my phone (standard galaxy s8), are sweat proof and have enough audio quality to block the majority of sounds while i'm walking around the city (and i live in really noisy city).

here's mkbhd's review of them https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77aeW3bsCzc

I used to feel this way too. When BT came out I got so excited - saved up my pocket-hole-burning money from a retail job to buy the crappiest piece of crap I could find. Pairing failed. Audio quality sucked. Range was... barely wireless. Batteries drained in moments.

That was then. Recently my wife wanted a durable portable speaker, and got a JBL somethingorother. It works surprisingly well. So I got some JBL earbuds. They work pretty well. I got curious and went back over some old headphones. Turns out some of the problems seem to be in the stack and some in the devices - I ended up not using those old headphones, but some of the old problems did get fixed.

In summary: Things used to suck but my recent BT purchases have set me hopeful. I use the auxiliary port on my car still also - and I think I'll keep it that way for sharing. Pairing devices still makes me feel invaded.

All cars I've used that were bluetooth enabled (Volkswagen, Peugeot and Toyota I think) just required one pairing procedure once, and after that they would automatically connect to the phone as soon as you put the key in.

It's not so complicated and works fine. It's also much more practical to use the steering wheel controls for your phone's music rather than fiddling with its screen to skip a song.

Yeah I've just gotten fed up with the pairing process. Sometimes it disconnects randomly though and to make matters worse, then I have to turn off my car to ever get it synced up again.

That’s exactly why I made sure my car had CarPlay. Not a single issue.

I have a little BT dongle thing that plugs into the aux port. It works fine for listening to music, but taking calls is still bad. My trucks BT is comical to take calls on. Seconds delay...

I do wish we could collectively arrive at a better standard for customer support than "Support by Public Shaming".

I'll admit to having used the "Send an email blast to the company executives" method in the past for dealing with airlines and telcos, but I feel like even that was a tad more discrete. At least it was an internal email and not a Twitter rant or a blog post. Regrettably, most companies seem to be removing their executive emails from public-facing pages, making the social media bomb the last and increasingly most common resort.

I suppose if we had a federal consumer protection bureau that actually had teeth, this wouldn't be necessary.

It's not up to the customers to improve this state of affairs. It's entirely in the hands of the companies.

The customers can rally their elected officials to legislate guaranteed 1+ year warranties... this is what European customers did a while back.

That won't stop companies from giving customers the run around, therefore it won't obliviate the need to publicly shame companies to get issues resolved. It's not even clear what "1+ year warranty" would mean for many industries in which there isn't a physical good being sold.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for business regulation. I support mandatory warranties and the like. But it's not going to resolve the perceived social issue of customers shaming corporations for bad behavior, because companies will always find new bad behavior that skirts the law. Even if you have a legislature that's on top of the situation, there will still be a delay between when a company invents new bad behavior and when the legislature can create a new law against it.

If it's not clear, I disagree that this behavior is even an issue. People shaming companies isn't the problem; companies doing things worth shaming is the problem.

The no-questions-asked 90-day money back guarantee was one of the best decisions we ever made at Fog Creek. Try this: use Fog Creek Copilot for a full 24 hours, call up three months later and say, “hey guys, I need $5 for a cup of coffee. Give me back my money from that Copilot day pass,” and we’ll give it back to you. Try calling on the 91st or 92nd or 203rd day. You’ll still get it back. We really don’t want your money if you’re not satisfied. I’m pretty sure we’re running the only job listing service around that will refund your money just because your ad didn’t work. This is unheard of, but it means we get a lot more ad listings, because there’s nothing to lose.

Over the last six years or so, letting people return software has cost us 2%.

- Joel Spolsky (https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2007/02/19/seven-steps-to-rem...)

I think you posted in the wrong thread.

Did you mean to post in Ask HN: Did offering a money-back guarantee help your business? https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19085526

While that is a good fit for this comment, it _does_ fit in this thread as well. Others are talking about how common terrible support is, where getting money back for a terrible product requires invoking the court, etc. The GP posted an example of _excellent_ service, the kind that most vendors should aspire to -- and included notes that doing so doesn't seem to have a big impact on the bottom line.

The counterpoint is, if your product genuinely is terrible, the cost of such a guarantee would be too high to bear.

I did see that thread, but I wanted to post this here too. If you are worried about incumbents while starting a company, just remember your customers are used to being treated like how Jabra treats its customers, and if you treat your customers like Joel does, you shouldn't need to worry too much about customer retention and growth (other aspects nonwithstanding).

Even if the OP had gotten the headset working with bluetooth they'd be disappointed.

On Macs at least, using a headset with mic via bluetooth you get 8khz sampling, even if the headset can do more.

Sounds terrible. Tried a bunch of esoteric plist changes to fix it.

I switched to a USB wireless setup which works much better.

Supposedly there are fixes (http://ssrubin.com/posts/fixing-macos-bluetooth-headphone-au...) for this, but none worked for me.


I stumbled across this the other day. Airpod only, but it promises to bump the sampling rate among other things.

How odd. In Ubuntu it's just a case of changing the Bluetooth audio codec from a dropdown in the sound control panel. I set it once for my earbuds and it's worked fine ever since.

A2DP (the one that doesn't sound terrible) doesn't work with the headset microphone so you'd be using your computer's microphone instead. It's a shame that Linux generally only supports two profiles that aren't all that great. IIRC there is some traction behind another profile somewhere but it isn't ready yet I assume, otherwise we'd see it now.

We have a Fischer & Paykel vent hood, which we bought while renovating our kitchen specifically because of its advertised low noise level. It sounds like a jet engine revving up whenever it's running, even on the lowest setting. F&P sent out two technicians in succession, both of whom confirm (as registered, for example, by a decibel meter on our phone) that it's about 70% louder than advertised, even on its lowest setting; and then they straight up lied on their reports, saying (in so many words) that we were imagining the noise, or merely that we were 'dissatisfied'. Months in, and the only resolution we've got is that they've offered to give us a discount on another vent hood—which, presumably, also won't perform to specifications ….

There's got to be some reliable form of—excuse my optimism; I'm sure there isn't, but there should be some reliable form of redress for a product that simply, in a documented fashion, doesn't perform up to specifications. Companies advertise what they feel like without fear, because they don't experience repercussions for this false advertising.

I'd think that if the reseller sold the device as being capable of working with bluetooth v4 and the A2DP profile, only for that not to be the case, then you absolutely have the right to take it up with them.

Surely by their not advertising the dongle limitation, that's a problem of their own making & they should honour your return. If they've a problem with that, they take it up with Jabra but leave you out of it.

After all, you've got a device that speaks Bluetooth so you've got something that the product declares it'll be compatible with, and the product just.. Isn't!

Does any computer properly speak Bluetooth, in all its possible configurations, with no bugs? I'd like to take a look at that stack if so, because I've never seen it.

That's not an excuse for the devices also being buggy, but I'm well beyond expecting anything else.

Do you not have a small claims court in your area? Here in the UK if a product is not as described then you are entitled to a full refund from the supplier (not the manufacturer). As they are the ones you have a contract with. The supplier can take it up with the manufacturer. No help from the supplier? Then sue them, I've done that several times, it's cheap, easy and quick. I've never had a failure suing a business for a consumer protection issue.


Seems to be a clear-cut case of false advertising if not wire fraud. Have you contacted the FTC?

Maybe it's not all headsets and all laptops?

I have the Jabra Elite Active 65t that I've successfully paired and continue to successfully use with a Lenovo Thinkpad X1 running Windows 10 -- no complaints.

I have the same model the OP posted about, exactly the same issues as him. This whole time I've been thinking it my systems fault. Despite the fact I had it on a Surface Book and a Toshiba Portege and a Surface Pro 4.

I've resigned myself to using the dangle and not using it when away from desk (dongle is plugged into the Screen on my desk).

I'm going to stop buying Jabra and will probably stop the company buying them as well. Bluetooth is meant to be a universal standard. This is bullshit and shouldn't happen.

I agree. I have been using and testing the Jabra Elite Sport for the last few months, by pairing them with as many older devices as possible and Thinkpad X1 (1st Gen) being amongst them. Although, the reception can be patchy on the outer range - which is probably due to the antenna and it's positioning, rather than the BT 4.0 chipset on the laptop. However, the earphones pair easily as soon as they are removed from the charging case.

"wire fraud"

I see what you did there.

That's too bad, because they got very good products.

I love my jabra elite 65 t, they are the first ones that allowed me to make peace with the dreaded wireless ear plugs. I basically live with them, I can't recall the last time I put my phone on my ear or put the music on speakers.

But yes, I can't make them work with my Ubuntu laptop.

This sucks, especially for a 180 euros product.

I'm confused by the PPS:

A few weeks later the reseller informed me that the authorized repair shop accepted my headset as defective and replaced it with a new one under warranty. I guess I am going to auction it off for the benefit of the local foster home institute.

So was this another lie, or was his headset actually defective?

Call it a lie or a corporate policy - they simply replace a handset that does not work as advertised with a new one that will not work as advertised.

This is weird. I'm wearing this headset RIGHT now it is the ONLY BT headset that works, with HD quality on both my mac AND my Pixel 2 cell phone.

It is amazing..

Same here: my girlfriend and I both use this headset every single day with PCs from ASUS and Lenovo, running Arch, Ubuntu and Windows 10, as well as phones from OnePlus and Xiaomi running different releases of Android, and it works very well.

I can understand Jabra's support if some vendors ship poor BT chips… I've had so many issues with BT in other products…

This is a sample of USB and BT connectivity tests.

Anyone have a Bluetooth earbuds that works flawlessly with Ubuntu?

I recently got a pair of Funcl AI buds, works great with my phone but I connect on computer and there's constant skipping. I gather this is a common problem.

Unless I missed something, if it works it'll be with the SBC codec and it's not very good.

For music the BT profile is the Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP). But this is just a transport, and on top of it there can be many codecs. The only mandatory codec is SBC [1], which is BT specific and not very good. YMMV, but I prefer using a wired headphone than BT SBC.

There are other options, but then you need support on both ends. The best are AAC (Apple world), LDAC (Sony, all recent Android) and AptX HD (Android, Win10 I believe but TBC...). Those are supposed to be transparent, and for LDAC at least (the only one I have personal experience with) it is to my ears. Unfortunately last time I checked only SBC was supported on Linux... So I stick to wired on my Linux laptop, and use BT with LDAC on my smartphone only.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SBC_(codec)

There is support for better codecs on Linux, it's just not shipped by default on most distros unfortunately. https://github.com/EHfive/pulseaudio-modules-bt

Why are these not upstream ? Are there patent issues ?

Thanks a lot! I did miss something new ;)

Funcl supports AptX but requires an app on Android to use it, so not sure if they'd work on linux even if it was supported

I'm experiencing the same issues with an IKEA speaker set which has also Bluetooth connectivity. Works fine with my One+ 3, but Ubuntu will always skip pieces of sound, when I do something else on the system.

Now that I think about it, I will give it a try with Windows 10 on the second SSD to check whether it's a problem with the BT module of my Lenovo W520.

My apple airpods work well with my dell latitude. (skype conversations, music, etc) Frankly I was surprised it worked at all.

Likewise, mine work pretty well.

Anker SoundBuds. I've had them coming up to a year now and use them daily with my Ubuntu laptop with zero issues whatsoever. Sound quality isn't the greatest but they cost next to nothing so I'm not complaining.

MEE Audio MB6 work fine for me on Elementary 5.0 Juno. They're also great for the gym and I'm pretty happy with the sound.

Yup. Ironically, they're Jabra earbuds. ;-)

There are good ones on sale for AliExpress for $13, very good ones!

I just gifted these to my girlfriend for Valentines.


There are airpod clones there too

> I guess I am going to auction it off for the benefit of the local foster home institute.

As a foster parent, thank you for that.

Is there a perfect BT headset out there? I'm still using this: https://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Headset-H390-Noise-Cancellin...

Because BT audio sounds horrible to me.

I'm surprised.

I have the exact same headset (Jabra Evolve 75) at work and have had no issues at all using it on my 2018 MacBook Pro.

I use it daily for Slack and other VoIP calls as well as to listen to music. I usually have it paired to my phone as well, but it works just as well connected solely to the Mac.

That said, I did have an issue once with it when trying to play a game on Steam. I couldn't hear the in-game audio, only other players speaking.

Bluetooth uses different Profiles for the same functions but different purposes:

A2DP is for HiFi (ahahah) stereo audio uni directional.

HSP is for headsets, it supports "LAB" audio and headset controls (e.g. volume, answer/hangup).

HFP is for hands-free in cars and support "LAB" audio and overlaps HFP with controls.

AVRCP is for media controls which overlaps HSP (e.g. play/pause, skip/previous, volume)

So a problem with Bluetooth is that a device can support all of these profiles but usually not all at once. They have no built in Mux so can't take audio over A2DP and HSP and combine them. So the host must negotiate all of the Profiles and then decide which is the most appropriate to use since it can't do all at once.

I occasionally have a problem in my car where it establishes the A2DP connection and streams audio but not AVRCP so I can't control it.

On Windows 10, when you have a Headset connected that supports A2DP, HFP, HSP, and AVRCP things get interesting. If you're listening to music it will be streamed via A2DP to the headset, but if you get a VOIP call Windows switches to HSP to access the Mic but your headset can't Mux audio so it kills the A2DP connection. Windows will then helpfully stream your music either over HSP which sounds like ass or it will pump it out the laptop speakers. The solution I came up with is to disable HSP/HFP on Windows and route all audio capture to the build in Microphone instead of the Headset's.

Based on your description of playing Steam, I'm guessing MacOS is doing something similar. The headset can't Mux audio so it's dropping A2DP in favor of HSP audio, which would explain why you lose in-game audio but not VOIP.

I'll have to play around with my Mac and see how it handles this.

There's a subtler issue where you can use a number of different codecs with something like A2DP. There should be a lowest common denominator of common support mandated by the spec, but you can get into fun with codec negotiation.

Yeah, I didn't mention that though because even the lowest quality A2DP codec is light years ahead of HFP or HSP which are both optimized for low bitrate monaural audio.

I have a different Jabra headset (Elite 65t) which works fine on my Linux laptop. And the title of the OP's article is actually misleading - Jabra says they don't support the configuration, not that it "won't work." This is actually totally understandable to me, the bluetooth hardware/software ecosystem in PCs is esoteric and frustrating, and it makes sense that Jabra would provide a solution that bypasses it.

Interesting. I think Jabra itself does not understand why the Bluetooth connection does (not) work.

I really like my AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones. They work with all my devices. They reliably pair and don't oddly lose pairing status between any of them [0]. They are comfortable and sound pretty great once situated correctly. Not the greatest sound (a bit thin in the bass if they get out of alignment), but they are bone conducting and I generally use them to listen to music and still be able to hear the outside world. The behind-the-head band also makes it really easy to use them with all sorts of other head-mounted devices I have, like my brainwave sensor or my VR and AR headsets. For about 100USD, I've used them a lot more than my Sennheiser HD 4.50 BT headphones, which have a very annoying, periodic click when used in BT mode.

[0] Having worked on Bluetooth devices, this basically happens in devices because they reset their own hardware ID on complete power loss. Which is stupid. The hardware ID need never be reset unless explicitly requested by the user.

I think this is just a simple case of Bluetooth being terrible on PCs and hard to develop for.

FWIW, I've been using a BlueParrott B350-XT for years. It's worked on MacOS, Ubuntu, and IOS, although multi-pairing gets kind of weird sometimes so I keep it single-paired to my iphone.

I chose it because I often do calls in noisy environments and it has both great volume and the best noise canceling of any other headset on the market that I could find. From what I can tell, the company got its start selling to OTR truck drivers and gained market share against Plantronics and Jabra because their products suck so much.

Not shilling, no relationship to the company, have bought a couple of these with my own money and will immediately pay to replace the one I currently have if it ever gets lost or is broken. If anyone is considering their products, the ones listed as "blocking 96% of background noise" have their in-house developed noise canceling that everyone raves about.

...and it looks like Jabra acquired them a while back. Nice.

My Jabra Move headset does technically work with my laptop, but I have to perform some kind of reset because just switching the headphones on doesn't connect fully to my computer. It will look like it's connected, but nothing plays through the headphones. Only way to get both iTunes and computer audio to play through them is to hold the on switch for a few seconds until I hear a ding and a voice speak "To connect Move, go to the Bluetooth menu on the phone, and select it from the list"

I also tried installing that shitty Jabra app that basically was a huge waste of time. Didn't try contacting them, but I assume they'd just try to throw the problem over the fence and say my Bluetooth drivers in macOS were shitty or something.

It's not the most amazing experience, but they do sound very good.

I'm wondering about the technical issues they have with on-board bluetooth, specifically saying they only provide support for a USB dongle, and not on-board BT.

I have routinely, with multiple computers seen that on-board BT has been flakey (MBP 2015, Zotac EN960, Zotac EN1060K, and a custom built PC w/ Intel on-board BT) with multiple devices (Bose QC35 headphones, multiple different BT keyboards). The experience has always required me to get a dongle, which works significantly better.

Is there something to this, or is it just the standard issue of interference with the built-in bluetooth, or perhaps just bad luck on my part? On top of this, I have never had any issue with any non-bluetooth RF wireless device, from mice to headphones and others. They seem to be significantly better.

One of the problems with achieving a good bluetooth experience is that there is not really one thing called "bluetooth", but rather a big stack of specifications that are implemented by different parties. A USB 2.0 BT adapter is very generic and probably well supported by more bluetooth devices and software stacks than integrated BT adapters.

Hmm this is a good point, I imagine just by sheer volume it must be well supported.

I would've assumed the Intel BT chipsets and the Macbook Pro ones would've been as well, though perhaps I had duds.

I use a pair of Jabra Evolve 75 headphones and use them over bluetooth on my Apple Macbook Pro nearly every day. I love them because the microphones do an excellent job of transmitting my voice and suppressing of the chatter from people nearby.

I don't say that no one else should have a problem but just to counter some of the comment here that imply that these headphones never work with Bluetooth.

Now about that customer support...

I also have a Jabra headset. I bought it from Amazon I chatted to amazon support about the issues I have with it and they told me to keep a headset and issued a full refund

Along those same lines, I've gotten extremely reluctant to buy any paid subscription to any internet service, because virtually all of them have a bad cancellation system. Almost all require either calling or emailing support to cancel your account, which hopefully won't keep you waiting long or spend a while trying to convince you not to cancel after all.

I had the Jabra Evolve 75 at my old job and they worked fine with my Dell XPS 13 running Ubuntu. I never had to use the dongle but during video calls it used the terrible HSP profile that is the only call profile Linux supports. I ended up keeping it on A2DP and using my laptop mic instead.

A bit different, but as a curiosity my AirPod also does not work my Macbook in a high speed train. The connection with an iPhone works perfectly on the other hand. I wonder what's the challenge for laptops to make bluetooth work properly.

I bought an Asus Chromebook recently and one of the intentions was to pair it to my iPhone to get internet connectivity while commuting to work. Turns out Chromebooks can't pair with phones, I have to use a wifi hotspot instead.

It can pair with phones: https://support.google.com/chromebook/answer/7457148

Just not iPhones, apparently.

Though the WiFi hotspot feature on my Android is just easier anyway.

Until just this week, Chrome OS's Instant Tethering was exclusive to Google's Pixel and Nexus phones, and was clearly advertised as such. Even now, the feature is only available for a small selection of phones (relative to the vast number of Androids in the wild).

Just use your phone's hotspot feature. The amount of time saving between using your native tethering vs Instant Tethering is negligible.

The instant tethering function actually doesn't use Bluetooth, except to set things up. If you pay attention, you'll notice the phone disconnecting from any WiFi network it might be connected to.

Chromebooks CAN pair with Android mobile phones, just not iPhones, where as you say, you need to create a WiFi hotspot.

What's wrong with using a WiFi hotspot? I though that's the only way...

I have Jabra Move bluetooth headphones. They're really good, but have slight bluetooth issues. I have to constantly delete and re-pair them. But I have it working with iOS, Windows, Linux, etc.

Was unable to get my Jabra Elite 65t to connect to my Surface Book at work. Glad to know it wasn't any fault of my own. Will avoid Jabra in the future.

TLDR: I think this guy just received bad customer support, and likely an actual defective device. Author seems to be overdramatic about a mistake by their support team.

Their Jabra Evolve 75's are actually solid. I have 2 of them in my office, and we recently just purchased another pair. They work with and without the USB dongle. The reason why the USB dongle is there is because the bluetooth spec for live calls are not in the HD profile. It's likely not in HD to reduce latency. Therefore, they originally created the Link 370 dongle to use their own proprietary connection to get HD microphone quality, and instant pairing; this is a MUST in a busy office environment. I'm 100% certain their support made a mistake and said the device only works with the dongle. I've also tested it's bluetooth with USBC Macbooks and it works perfectly fine. I suspect he had a defective unit.

Other notes about this 75: - Connects with two devices at the same time, and switches between them over bluetooth ala Bose QC35 bluetooth. - Does not charge over USBC, but over Micro USB. - There are regular firmware updates for the Link 370, and their other Jabra devices.

i am always glad to see this kinda thing.

i'm currently talking to a game dev team that don't seem to understand that their TOS doesn't overshadow my countries law.

I know people love the wireless thing. But if you want some nice over ear cans, and dont mind a wire. Sennheiser HD 280 i think , should be around 100 bucks. Not sure who Jabra is but if it's some kind of fancy startup making headphones. No thanks. I will stick to people who do actual audio work to make my headphones please.

Jabra has been a leading manufacturer of ear pieces since they became a thing in the dumbphone era. Not a startup.

And to add to that many of their telephony products are best in class. I sometimes regret that my biz-2400 has a wire on it, but it has the best noise cancellation of any headset I have ever used and is a pleasure to use all day. Not a shill, but I use their headsets for hours a day and my experiences with their wired products are overwhelmingly positive. I think this is a shoddy BT implementation.

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