Aliph's original Jawbone was remarkable. It was the first of a line of revolutionary bluetooth headsets featuring very good background noise cancelation technology. And every iteration seems to just get better.
Can the Era really be better than the Icon that I loved so much? Well, we will take a look. Here's what Jawbone says they've done to improve it: Full range speaker for "HD" listening, Motion controls, NoiseAssassin 3.0 (vs 2.5 for the Icon), 5.5 hours of talk time (vs 4.5), and a new larger earbud size.
I am happy to say that Jawbone again did a good job. Unfortunately, during my testing I couldn't see any real difference between NoiseAssassin 3.0 and 2.5. That isn't to say it does not do a very good job of blocking background noise, because it does. In a room with a fully cranked stereo while speaking, you may imagine that it would be very difficult for a caller to hear you. But with the Era, you are still audible.
As for the "HD" listening, I call BS. Firstly, you're using a mono speaker. Half of the sound information is lost. I wouldn't call listening to music on your iPod with standard headphones HD, let alone a bluetooth connected mono speaker. It's true, the Era does feature a better speaker than the Icon with a much better call sound, but the Era advertises HD listening to Pandora. No, you won't get that. You will get truer sounding calls, but that's about it. If the Era is HD, then so is the iPhone speakerphone.
The last revolutionary feature is the motion control system. Inside the Era is a small accelerometer, much like you would find in a Wii remote or the iPhone. To pair, just shake it. To answer, just tap it. A button would have worked, but it's neat and requires less dexterity and concentration to just tap.
I think Jawbone has made another great product. I'm not so sure I would get this instead of the Icon though. You can now buy the Icon for around $50 whereas the Era is $129.99. If you don't need the latest and greatest stick with the older version. If you want the newest and best technology, get the Era.