For those who don't want to wear a big honkin' pair of headphones, the Jabra Vox are a discreet, stylish pair of earbuds that deliver audio greater than their size. Add to that a free Jabra app lets you tweak your music settings, in-line controls and a mic, and you've got a nice little $99 package for your smartphone.
Black with small silver and red accents, the Jabra Vox earbuds are small but stylish. Their curved shape made for an almost perfect fit with the contours of our outer ear. The buds themselves fit in our ears so well that they felt like they wouldn't move, even though they weren't jammed in tightly.
The cable, which runs about 52 inches in length, is made of a sturdy tangle-resistant rubber, with a reinforced Y where it splits to the left and right earbuds. Instead of a small sliding rubber grommet, the Jabra Vox have small magnets two-thirds of the way up to keep the right and left earbuds from tangling. As advertised, the cables rarely tangled, even when we jammed them into our pocket.
We liked the curved shape of the in-line controls, which made it easy to locate volume up, down, and the center button by feel alone. However, the controls themselves were a little stiff. On more than one occasion, when we would double-press to start or stop music, it would only register a single press, or, our finger would slip and we would lower the volume by accident.
The earbuds come with two extra pairs of tips, plus a small cloth bag to carry them.
You can use the Jabra Vox earbuds with the free Jabra Sound app (available for Android and iOS), which combines Dolby Digital Plus sound technology with a customizable equalizer. The app contains presets for Jazz, Pop, RnB, Hip Hop, Blues, Electronic, Country, Urban, Speech, Dance, Latin, Jungle, Metal, Classical, Flat, Rock and Custom.
We like the app's yellow-and-black color scheme, but the shuffle feature is hard to find. It only appears once you start playing a track. We're also not fans of the retro CD case treatment for album art. However, we appreciate that you can share what you're listening to via Facebook and Twitter.
Annoyingly, you can only use the equalizer when you have Dolby Digital Plus activated. On Miles Davis' "All Blues," we much preferred the balance without Dolby Digital. When it was on, the bass became too muddy, even when we used the Jazz preset.
Overall, the Jabra Vox performed very well for a sub-$100 pair of earbuds. Regardless of genre, high-range and midrange tones were fairly crisp and well defined. The vocals and guitar strums on the Lumineers "Stubborn Love" came through clearly.
At times, though, lower-end tones would overwhelm tracks. On the same Lumineers track, the bass and drums were overpowering and muddy. We encountered the same issue when listening to Frank Sinatra's "The Best is Yet to Come." The bass line not only overwhelmed Ol' Blue Eyes' voice, but was muddy to boot.
When we activated Dolby Digital Plus in Jabra's Sound App, Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back" sounded as if bass was thumping from a car stereo. Fortunately, this can be mitigated somewhat using the Jabra Sound app.
The in-line mic picked up our voice well. Holding the button down activates Siri, which recognized our commands clearly. However, during a phone call, a caller said our voice sounded a little choppy and tinny, and could tell we were using a headset.
Sometimes, all you need is a decent pair of earbuds, and that's what the Jabra Vox delivers.
At $99, they offer above-average audio in a sleek package. While we wish the in-line controls were better and bass not so muddy, the Jabra Vox earbuds fit well and offer a nice complement of features for the price.