Monday, July 26, 2021

Apple Bluetooth Headset Review

August 6, 2008 by · 6 Comments 

Apple Bluetooth Headset

Apple Bluetooth Headset

I think I have a Bluetooth Headset Fetish. Not in the silly kind of way where I walk around all day with one in my ear, but moreso in a scifi-ish sort of way. I’m fascinated by the technology that has allowed us to seemingly be talking to ourselves, as viewed by others, but to have both our hands free to type WHILE we speak.

The freedom to carry on longer conversations while you wash dishes, work, type, carry things, drive, etc… Bluetooth has freed many of us from the cramped position of holding the phone to our ear with a shoulder. However, with this freedom, poorer sound quality and reduced battery life are some of the things you have to accept. Every subsequent generation of headsets try to tackle these issues while making the headsets smaller, lighter, and sexier.

I have, in my time here at Chromewalker, tested more headsets than I can remember, and they have run the gamut from memorable (HS-850 Motorola) to downright useless (Bluetrek G2). Recent finds, such as the Jawbone have come very close to totally eliminating sound issues, but at a cost of size and well, cost. Others, such as the BlueAnt Z9, are dirt cheap for what you get, but comfort is somewhat compromised (with the ear loop).

As I moved to the iPhone not to long ago, though, I relinquished the right to have a flexible Bluetooth platform. We all know the iPhone is a great product, but it has its faults, and one of them is the Bluetooth implementation. Lack of profiles aside, the quality of any BT connection on it seems to suffer relative to other handsets. That said, compatibility can also be an issue, and thus, the range of headsets available that truly work well are a subset of the latest ones out there (the Z9’s volume, case and point, can’t be controlled by the iPhone’s volume buttons).

Thus, I started lusting after the Apple’s version of a BT headset. I read all the reviews and they were far from positive. The main issues had to do with cost, battery life, and sound quality as soon as you went further than a few feet from the handset.

Well, after a week of playing with it, I can confirm:

1) It is expensive, having paid almost twice as much as my BlueAnt Z9
2) Battery life is about 2-3 hours talk, not great, but can ‘get me by’, and mind you that standby time eats away at that talk time. On average, I’d say that the battery life is below average.
3) Sound quality is not as bad as I thought it would be (it’s decent if you’re close), however, you do have a more limited range than with other headsets. That said, the iPhone doesn’t do a good job of handling distance with ANY headset, but the Apple headset doesn’t help its cause. I have not used the headset in a car, just at home with minor mechanical noise in the background. This is not a replacement for a Jawbone-type headset that you would use in a car.

However, what did I gain by paying the Apple Premium?

First of all, and most obviously, a ‘free’ sync cable for my iphone, since they’re also not cheap. Secondly a small, comfortable, and aesthetically appealing headset to use around the house, and lastly, a well integrated device.

Apple really did a good job of integrating the intellingence of the headset into the OS of the iPhone. When both devices are charging, the iPhone display will show you the charge state of both devices. When you are using the headset, next to the iPhone battery icon, there is a headset battery icon. This is extremely useful so as to not get cut off mid-conversation with a dead headset. In addition, volume control works as you expect it to.

Do I regret paying the Apple premium? For my current use, which is mostly while I’m at home or on the computer, no, but I could see how, if I were requiring a headset with longer battery life, sturdier noise reduction and better connection quality, I would be disappointed.

Zemanta Pixie

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