Jabra Evolve2 30 Review Softphone On Ear Stereo Headphones

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The reason why you would ever want to get a softphone headset rather than a standard headset (e.g gaming headphones) is for call control via a computer. Standard headsets don't support call control whereas a softphone headset such as the Jabra Evolve2 30 gives you the ability to answer/end calls and increase/decrease the volume directly from the controls that are built into the headset

The Jabra Evolve2 30 headset has a total of five physical buttons, all located on the right earcup and all requiring a bit of force to actuate, which is nice. Three of those buttons, which are rear facing, are designed to control volume, answer/end calls, skip tracks and play/pause. The mute/unmute microphone button is front facing, while the mute indicator light is located on the USB connector plug. You will also hear a voice prompt when you mute and unmute the microphone, although the voice prompt volume is low when listening to audio messages and videos on YouTube.
The button for answering/ending calls is located conveniently on the front plate of the earcup and, it's also designed to open the Microsoft Teams notification. The Jabra Evolve2 30 volume control adjusts the volume of the headset, not the source (e.g. computer). There is no voice prompt when maxing out volume.
Being a single sided cable headset, the Evolve2 30 audio cable has been wired into one earcup (the right earcup); hence the audio cable doesn't get in the way the same traditional Y shape cables do. The cable has thick strain reliefs reinforcing the headphone terminal and the rubber plug terminal. The 1.2 meters long cable has a thick rubber sheath.

Just like most headphones, the Jabra Evolve2 30 is supported by software - the Jabra Direct application - which is needed in order to get the Jabra Evolve2 30 connected to a softphone. If you aren't familiar with softphones, they are basically"virtual phones" that work just like a physical desk phone but softphones are more functional because you can do things like video calling and SMS texting.

The Jabra Direct software lets you customize both the headset and your softphone, as well as update firmware and also get remote call control (answer/end call, mute, redial etc) over your softphone, which is enabled automatically once the software detects the softphone installed on your computer. The Jabra Evolve2 30 headset is recognized by the computer's audio manager as a normal headset but, you will not be able to control a phone from the Jabra headset unless you use the softphone interface to place and answer calls.

From your computer's audio manager, you can control the volume level going into the headset, as well as the sidetone level (up to 6dB either way) so, you can control how loud you want to hear your own voice in the headset as you speak into the microphone. That said, you can control volume and sidetone from the Jabra Direct software, as well as disable button sounds, disable/enable voice prompts, change the voice prompt language and limit volume level too, although the Evolve2 30 headset is automatically configured to prevent unnatural volume spikes. As well as sidetone, you can also make the Tone more treble or bass friendly.
If you're using a Windows-based softphone, there is more compatibility of softphone providers than with Mac computers, although Mac supports Skype Consumer, which is free, while Skype for Business isn't. You can use the Jabra Evolve2 30 headset with older Windows operating systems, including Vista and Windows 7, although Windows XP and Windows RT are not supported. The Jabra Evolve2 30 headset works with macOS 10.15 and the newer macOS Big Sur (11 OS X).

Because the Jabra Evolve2 30 is a stereo headset, it integrates two earcups rather than one earcup like mono headsets; hence you get the same stereo immersion as with headphones - in this case - on-ear headphones. Because of the on-ear headphone style, you could potentially take the Jabra Evolve2 30 out on the road, although the boom arm is not detachable. The 11-cm long boom arm can be rotated up and down.

The Evolve2 30 boom arm integrates two microphones, which are located back to front and are designed that way to suppress noise around you, doing it remarkably well. Background noise gets shut off almost to a whisper, a bit like the active noise cancellation (ANC) in the Jabra Elite 85h headphones. That said, when it comes to the Jabra Elite 85h microphone, the Jabra Evolve2 30 dual microphone noise suppression ability is levels above and will literary leave you speechless. The only thing that the Jabra Evolve2 30 dual microphones struggle with, it's outdoor wind noise.

The Jabra Evolve2 30 earcups swivel (via a joint), as well as tilt (off a centre pivot), allowing you to get a good fit on the ears. The earcups swivel motion is 180 degrees, which allows you to rotate the earcups opposite ways - something you cannot do with headphones, which typically swivel one way.
Because there is no hole opening on the Jabra Evolve2 30 earpads, the earpads sit flush on the ears without causing any discomfort on the ear cartilage. The earpad hole perforations have been perforated with R and L silhouettes and have the following dimensions: 5.5cm high and 4.5cm wide. The hole perforations span 3.5cm in diameter, allowing the audio to get channeled right into the ears. There is approximately a 1cm gap between the driver and the top of the earpad, which prevents the drivers from pressing or rubbing against the ears.

The Jabra Evolve2 30 plastic headband has a ratchet style adjustment system with a metal inner band; hence the headband makes a ratchet type sound when adjusting it. The top of the headband has a leatherette texture finish to it with a subtle Jabra etching on the side. The underside of the headband is padded with foam and covered with leatherette material. The headband is only 1.5cm wide and 0.8cm thick so, it's almost the size of a hair band. The headband padding extends 14cm across, which should be enough length to cushion the top of most heads.
The Jabra Evolve2 30 headset supports many softphone service providers (e.g BroadSoft, Avaya, Zoom and Skype for Business) but not all providers and/or versions; hence before buying this headset it's a good idea to check compatibility The most popular softphone providers are Zoom and Skype and the Jabra Evolve2 30 supports both as long as you are running Zoom Meetings for Windows (version 4.4.6 or later) and Skype version 7.1 to respectively. 
If you haven't yet bought a softphone and are debating whether to go with Zoom or Skype for Business, you probably want to go with Skype because it supports more softphone features including IVRS6, callerID, answer/reject and Last number redial. Zoom only supports three features: accept/reject incoming calls and mute and unmute.

The Jabra Evolve2 30 right earcup also integrates a busy light indicator, which consists of two leds on either side of the earcup that will light up red to let others know that you're on call. These status leds also feedback your Microsoft Teams status (e.g. available=green, busy=red, away=yellow).
In terms of audio, the Jabra Evolve2 30 is equipped with 28mm drivers, which deliver loud volume and emphasized midrange, which doesn't come as a surprise since the Jabra Evolve2 30 is, after all, a softphone headset. That said, there is good treble and bass presence too, to balance out the overall sound. The Jabra Evolve2 30 headset weights 128 grams with the cable and 110 grams without the cable. The cable, of course, is not detachable but you can definitely lighten up the headset when resting the cable on the desk. The packaging the Jabra Evolve2 30 headset comes in is interesting because of the usual cardboard box, the Jabra Evolve2 30 come inside an envelope type recyclable packaging.
There is no hardshell storage case included either but, you get a Jabra-branded softshell flap over pouch that it's secured down via an elastic band. The pouch is made of a thick textile material, which looks and feels just like craft felt. Seeing that the packaging is recyclable, the pouch is likely made with eco-fi felt fibers (recycled polyester felt fabric); hence water resistant. The pouch has a plain design throughout without any loops or clips that you could use to attach the pouch onto a bag or trouser belt.
The pouch weighs 39 grams and measures 28cm high and 15cm wide so, it's large enough to fit only the headset. The Jabra Evolve2 30 headset you see pictured is the Microsoft (MS) Teams version, which is certified to work with Microsoft Teams software. There is also a UC (unified communications) version, which is basically the non-Microsoft version for those who aren't using a Microsoft platform. Both MS and UC work the same way and cost the same too. The Jabra Evolve2 30 headset also comes with two input variants: USB-A and USB-C. You can buy the Jabra Evolve2 30 headset from amazon.

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