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Gadget Review: Creative Sound Blaster Jam

Creative has managed to pull off another decent product that combines Bluetooth audio and USB audio into a single product with its latest offering, the Sound Blaster Jam. But is it glitch-free? Hassan M Kamal finds out

How much should one expect from a pair of wireless headphones available for Rs 3.5K? Is it too expensive or too less for a quality wireless headphone? If we were to answer this question, keeping in the mind the price range and the choices in this range, it’s best to stick to basic expectations: decent battery life (at least five hours to help pass long train commutes); quick recharge, loudness to balance out noise in trains, hands-free features; and most importantly, connection with all Bluetooth devices (whether on iOS, Android OS or Windows Phone OS). If the above echo your requirements, Creative’s latest offering, the Creative Sound Blaster Jam wireless headphones could be perfect. Listen up:

Sound Blaster Jam

Creative Sound Blaster Jam
Build: The most noticeable factor about the Sound Blaster Jam is its weight — it’s extremely light, thus making it an ideal choice for those on the move, and not too keen with excess baggage. However, the entire headset is made of plastic; this often tends to makes us a bit nervous about its durability, mostly because there’s no carry case as yet to keep it secure in your bag while travelling. We recommend indoor usage only; however, if you are a careful user, you may use it outdoors. 
Rating: 7/ 10

Connectivity and Compatibility: The Sound Blaster Jam supports Bluetooth 4.1 with a decent range of nearly 12 metres (without any concrete obstructions, though). We like that the Sound Blaster Jam is compatible with Android, iOS as well as Windows devices, and can support hands-free (including call-waiting and redial) functions. However, an unusual but very impressive feature of the Sound Blaster Jam is that it can double up as USB-enhanced headset, which means you can listen to audio by connecting it to a laptop and PCs via a USB cable as well as recharge the headset at the same time. Besides, thanks to USB connection, the headset can make better use of Creative’s Sound Blaster technology, thus producing clear sound.
Rating: 9/ 10

Design:  The ear cups fit snugly in your ears, and are designed such that they remain on top of your head without any discomfort even during brisk walking. The rhythm beats equalizer imagery on the ear cups add to the effect. The controls are placed on the right ear cup, and though they may take some time getting used to, these are easy to reach.
Rating: 9/10

Battery: The device recharges to full power in nearly five hours and, depending on usage, can offer nearly nine hours of usage on an average, making it an ideal choice for those in the move.
Rating: 9/10

Audio Performance: Sound production is very clear — both in the wireless as well as the USB mode. The 32mm speaker drivers do a decent job of reproducing the minutest of sound elements. We are impressed with how every notes come to live during music playback across genres — EDM, Pop, Rock as well as Jazz; it’s loud even in noisy environments such as railway platforms or running trains. However, the Sound Blaster Jam needs improvement in its volume levels while attending to phone calls in similar noisy environments. We aren’t referring to network trouble, as we faced the same issue even while standing still at a railway platform. This is a bit disappointing, especially for a device from Creative. There is a pre-set bass button that uplifts the bass, but the effects aren’t too useful during phone calls. The headset’s mic, however, does a good job of picking up voices and ignoring ambient noise. Full marks.
Rating: 8/10

Overall rating

The guide verdict: The Creative Sound Blaster Jam is easily one of the best wireless headphones around, both in terms of pricing as well as features, but a weak sound output during phone calls plays spoilsport. However, if you spend most of your time indoors or in quieter surroundings, or your usage is limited to music, there’s no better alternative in wireless headsets in this price range.

Specifications
Drivers: 2x32mm
Frequency: 20Hz-20kHz
Range: 12 metres)
Features: play, pause, volume, bass enhancement, answer call
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1, NFC and USB
Battery Life: 9 hours
Price: Rs 3,499

Overall Rating
The guide verdict: The Creative Sound Blaster Jam is easily one of the best wireless headphones around, both in terms of pricing as well as features, but a weak sound output during phone calls plays spoilsport. However, if you spend most of your time indoors or in quieter surroundings, or your usage is limited to music, there’s no better alternative in wireless headsets in this price range.

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