Friday, December 29, 2006

The Best Bluetooth Headset yet...

I have had 3 Bluetooth headsets over the last 3 years.  My latest headset is the Jawbone.  So far, I am really liking it.  If you haven't heard of this particular headset before, it makes some pretty bold claims to essentially eliminate all background noise using 'military grade' technology.  This makes it suitable for talking on the streets, in the car, and with the TV (or music) on full bore at a bar perhaps.  I can honestly say that the device pretty much works just like the demos on its website show it does.  In fact, it works so fantastically well, most people have trouble believing you are on headset and not a dead quiet room.  I tested this with my wife by standing in front of the TV and cranking the volume.  She couldn't hear it at all...

Pros:

  • Fantastic job at eliminating background noise - you have to try it to believe it
  • Good volume and call clarity
  • Fairly comfortable fit with lots of ears hoops and buds to choose from
  • Swanky stylish - though this is going to be a personal choice I suppose
  • Good battery life and talk time so far.  No scientific testing, but seems to last for hours of talking in daily use

Cons:

  • Pricey.  It is only at Cingular Wireless stores right now and costs $120.  Not a terrible price if you compare it to what these things cost years ago, but not great either
  • Proprietary charger.  I wish it used mini-USB, but it actually uses standard USB at one end and a custom charging tip on the other (which I am sure to lose)

All in all, this one is shaping up to be my favorite headset of all time.  The call quality for both you and the receiver is fantastic.

For comparison purposes, I will also list my last two headsets here and the lowdown on each.

My previous headset was the Plantronics Discovery 640.  All in all, it was a pretty good headset.  Unfortunately, I lost it or someone relieved me of it.  I have all the accessories still, but not the headset.

Pros:

  • Great talk quality in relatively quiet settings.  Very sensitive mic
  • Tons of accessories and charging tips make it versatile and easy to travel (can be charged from a AAA battery in a pinch)
  • Comfortable to wear for long periods once situated
  • Reasonable price for what you get
  • Small - and I mean small.  I might have just lost this one from it being almost too small

Cons:

  • Don't bother using in a noisy car (or with the A/C on and blowing near the mic - even on low).  People regularly complained it sounded very noisy in the background.  This one did very poorly against the slightest wind
  • Perhaps it was me, but I had a hell of a time getting the thing situated on my head such that it would stay and not feel like it was going to fall off.  Once it was on and felt set, it was comfortable, but I found myself constantly trying to adjust it to get it just so

Even with those cons, I was going to purchase the thing again to replace my missing one until I saw the Jawbone.  If you don't feel like spending more $$ and like getting lots of accessories, this one is for you.  Supposedly, there is a DSP model now that is similar to this one, but cuts down on the noise that people I called complained about.

Finally, we come to my first headset, the Motorola HS850.  This one managed to die exactly 1 day after the warranty expired.

Pros:

  • Cheap.  It was expensive when I bought it, but now it's pretty cheap
  • Boom folding turns it on and off.  This is very convenient.  Opening the boom when your phone rings will answer the call (it pairs quickly).  This means that your battery life on this one is pretty good since you can keep it off until you need to talk and then it is on very quickly

Cons:

  • Amazingly crappy volume.  This was my biggest beef with this device, part of it might be blamed on my phone, but I think the majority of the problem was with this device.  Good luck hearing anyone while driving - I must have driven people nuts saying "uhh... can you say that again?"  If this device would have had an ear bud, it might have been great
  • A lot of people complained they couldn't hear me on this device.  I am not sure again how much is to blame on my phone and how much was this device.  Let's just say that the other headsets have not had any problems like this

If they have fixed the volume problem in later models, it is a pretty decent headset for the money and the folding boom is very, very handy for an off/on switch (that's what I miss most).

Saturday, December 30, 2006 9:36:48 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Good timing Ryan, I was just starting to look at headsets to replace my Sony Ericson BT.

BTW, congrats on the move.

joe
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