Jabra Tour Review

Jabra is one of the biggest and most trusted names in Bluetooth devices, and the Jabra Tour has been around for years. I’ve reviewed Bluetooth car kits since 2014 and the Tour had already been one of the best Bluetooth car kits for several years. The fact it’s outlasted so many other Bluetooth speakerphones is a testament to its quality. However, multiple studies argue hands-free calling is not safe (and it’s defined as distracted driving by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), the emphasis of my reviews has shifted from call quality to audio performance. And unfortunately, classic visor-style Bluetooth car kits aren’t optimized for streaming music, though you certainly can.

The primary focus of my tests was audio performance – for drivers wanting to stream music from apps like Pandora or Spotify, how well does the Bluetooth adapter bridge this gap between the phone and the stereo? Visor-style kits like the Tour and the Jabra Freeway rely on built-in speakers. These are more in-car speakerphones than Bluetooth adapters, though the Freeway does have an FM transmitter. As such, I still tested these devices in comparison to the AUX-in and FM transmitters, but not without recognizing the difference in the technology.

For signal clarity, the Jabra Tour is okay for streaming music, receiving a C grade. The small speaker struggles to keep the performance balanced when the volume is turned all the way up. In fact, it clips a lot at full volume. Turning it down three levels was enough to provide a clear signal, but since it’s not relying on the stereo to amplify the music, the music is not very loud and doesn’t make for a great streaming device while driving. That said, the signal clarity is much better than the FM transmitters.

Without the use of the stereo to amplify the signal, the speaker can’t achieve ear splitting levels. At maximum volume, it averaged 81-dB. By comparison, the AUX-in Bluetooth adapters and FM transmitters were reaching volumes between 96- and 103-dB.

I also tested the call quality of each Bluetooth car kit. This is what the Jabra Tour is made for. By placing the speaker and microphone on the sun visor, the drive can better hear the caller and vice versa. There’s less chance for echo feedback and the noise cancellation is miles ahead of the AUX-in and FM transmitters I tested. This is a device made for hands-free calling and it succeeds here. However, hands-free calling has since been shown to be no safer than hands-full calling. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines it as distracted driving. So, I can’t recommend this product based on call quality alone. If you’re going to take a call while behind the wheel, it’s best (for you and others on the road) to park first.

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For functionality, the Tour is easy to use and comes with a voice guidance system to walk you through the pairing process and controls. I paired this to my phone and music player within 20 seconds of turning it on. By contrast, many of the products I tested took over five minutes just to recognize the Bluetooth device. The controls are simple and easy to identify. There aren’t any multifunction buttons.

The Jabra Tour has a simple yet intuitive design with one microphone and one speaker. It’s not a great device for streaming music and doesn’t integrate with your stereo, so the high price is hard to justify for these purposes. It’s ideal for hands-free calling, but call quality is no longer a prioritized feature because it’s not safer than hands-full calling.

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