While Bluetooth devices are now available by the dozen, they’re all useless if you don’t have a Bluetooth capable phone to take advantage of them. This is where the Jabra A210 comes in. The A210 is a small, rectangular piece of plastic that acts as the bridge between a mobile phone and any wireless hands-free device. It plugs into the standard 2.5mm headphone jack of a phone, and runs off its own battery to provide the Bluetooth link between the phone and wireless headset. And it’s quite good at it too. Read on for the review.
Measuring 37x48x8 millimetres and weighing just 12 grams, the A210 is designed to stay out of the way. It will either sit snugly in the included belt clip, or it will stick to the back of your phone using the included Velcro pieces. It’s a rectangular-shaped device, and features two LED status lights, one for battery life and the other for on/off state.
On the sides of the device you’ll find the power button, charging socket and a small, three-way switch. This switch adjusts the kind of echo cancellation that gets used in phone-calls, and can only be changed using the plastic pen included in the A210 kit, as the switch is extremely tiny. Finally, the coiled, short-length 2.5mm headphone cable hangs from the right-hand side of the device.
I tested the device with both Sharp GX20 and Motorola V620 mobile phones, as well as Motorola HS801 and Blueant SuperTooth II wireless devices. Audio quality was a mixed bag with the A210, no matter what the combination of phone and wireless device. The kind of audio quality that I gained was influenced heavily by the position of the three-way switch, and I found that position 1, the position that the manual describes as ‘best for Motorola phones’, to be the best setting for all combinations, including those with the GX20 as the phone. Even at position 1 however, the audio quality was not the best. Some slight echo was still perceivable, and the person on the other end of the phone call reported that echo was very noticeable and unnerving. The conversation was audible however, and despite the audio artefacts, I could still converse with the caller without much extra trouble.
Connectivity and compatibility
The A210 needs to be paired with the Bluetooth headset you want to connect it to before it can be used. The A210 is not the fastest at pairing though. It needs to be put into pairing mode by pushing a pinhole-size button using the plastic pen. This was annoying, and I would have much preferred a long press of the power button, or some other method not requiring a tool.
Once in pairing mode, you need to put your headset into pairing mode as well, and leave the two together for about one minute. They should eventually pair together and both quit pairing mode. When I first attempted to pair the A210 and the SuperTooth II, in hands-free profile mode they would not pair at all, sitting endlessly in pairing mode. When I switched the SuperTooth II to headset pairing mode, both devices managed to pair after minutes of delay. The A210 and HS801 managed to pair in hands-free mode in less than a minute.
The A210 has its own Lithium-ion battery that supplies it with up to eight hours talk time and 240 hours of standby time. During my tests with it over a week, I was not able to make the A210 battery run down, despite about 45 minutes of talk time each day for a week. The A210 is recharged using a standard AC adapter that plugs into it.
If you are happy with your current, non-Bluetooth phone, or upgrading to a new phone is an expense you’d rather do without, the Jabra A210 is an inexpensive way to add Bluetooth functionality to your phone. It is slow to pair and does suffer from a few echo-related problems, but otherwise is a great way to step into the world of wireless conversation. It is compatible with any phone that has a 2.5mm headphone jack.