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Bluetooth Headset Roundup

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the comfort-is-king dept.

194

An anonymous reader writes "Here is an interesting comparison of four of today's best Bluetooth headsets. These devices are becoming increasing popular, both as a gadget and accessory, but despite how stylish they get, performance and comfort are still serious issues. Joe Selim takes a look at four very different products, two from Jabra and two from Plantronics, in order to make some sense of things."

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GNAA Announces OneNigger Suite of Trolling Utils (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15290992)

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Security and other Bluetooth bits (2, Interesting)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 8 years ago | (#15290997)

Commercial PIN pads used in EFTPOS transactions use Bluetooth too. While trying to get one certified recently I came up against a lot of anti-Bluetooth sentiment from the Security folk. Why does BT have such a bad name re security?

Re:Security and other Bluetooth bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291067)

Bluetooth doesn't let you choose your security method. Compare, say, 802.11g. If you don't like the security layer (WPA or WEP), you can always run your own layer of security on top of that (SSH or HTTPS or even go all the way and have a VPN running.) With Bluetooth, you don't have this option. It's Bluetooth's security or nothing. Can we trust Bluetooth's security? If it's unbreakable now, how about six months from now.

In a nutshell, I wouldn't use a bluetooth keyboard for this very reason.

Re:Security and other Bluetooth bits (1)

teh moges (875080) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291150)

As well as the above comment, in general, if it's wireless, it is less secure. Yes, the security measures are extremely secure, but I know I would prefer a wired connection to handle my money any day.

Re:Security and other Bluetooth bits (3, Informative)

Xenna (37238) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291429)

That's because people can send you a Vcard with a funny message/picture if you've let your phone be visible. Some imaginative soul has named this 'bluejacking' and now suddenly everyone is scared to death of BT.

Of course, anything that requires real security would apply it's own encryption/identity management on top of BT, which makes this point moot.

X.

Re:Security and other Bluetooth bits (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291894)

Bluejacking is not about sending vCards. I don't know much about it so I'm not going to give details. It is not about sending vCards.

Mod down or back this up with a link please.

Re:Security and other Bluetooth bits (1)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291486)

I have to ask, why would you have a wireless connection between a keypad, that really need not be wireless. And a machine that, again need not be wireless. Its inviting two things:
1. Evesdropping
2. Some kid running off with your keypad.

Re:Security and other Bluetooth bits (1)

bernywork (57298) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292035)

Pin number entry at tables in restaurants instead of making the person move to a register. As people start using cards and PINs more, not having the wires around makes things a heck of a lot simpler, especially in busy environments.

I know what you are getting at, but consider it this way by paraphrasing your comment:

Why use a wireless remote control for your TV when a wired one works just as well and you don't need to change the batteries? Plus it means your dog can't run off with it.

Re:Security and other Bluetooth bits (4, Informative)

Malor (3658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291511)

Security people don't like it because it's totally insecure.

Awhile ago, they'd figured out how to hijack the 'introduction' process between two devices, but it only worked during introduction, so it wasn't a terribly useful attack.

But then someone else discovered how to force a reintroduction at will. Between the two holes, Bluetooth has no security whatsoever, unless something pretty dramatic has changed in the last six months.

Be sure to read replies, as I've not been paying close attention to this. But as far as I know... don't send anything over Bluetooth you care about.

Re:Security and other Bluetooth bits (1)

islanduniverse (925110) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291597)

Don't forget though, that Class II bluetooth (which is the most commonly used form) only has a range of 10m.

I think that's right anyway.

Re:Security and other Bluetooth bits (3, Interesting)

Malor (3658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291678)

That's with standard antennas. If you deploy an antenna with enough gain, and a loud enough signal, you could talk to a Bluetooth device from kilometers away.

Kilometers would be extremely expensive, but a few hundred meters should be doable with Pringles-can-level equipment.

Re:Security and other Bluetooth bits (4, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292061)

A year ago Tom's Hardware ran this article [tomsnetworking.com] describing how some guys built a "Bluetooth Sniper Rifle". It has over a mile of range, and cost only a few hundred dollars to build. Less if you build it without the gratuitous gun stock.

Lt Uhura- is that you? (4, Funny)

AdmNaismith (937672) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291001)

Of all the things to come to pass from the original Star Trek, I never in my wildest dreams figured we'd all look like Lt. Uhura with these things hanging out of our ears. Note to the general public- you look stupid with those things hanging out of your ears. Cel Phone conversations in public shall be considered an invitation to slap you upside the head.

Re:Lt Uhura- is that you? (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291128)

I wish! I sure don't want one of the lame headsets they're turning out these days, but a Trek style earpiece would catch my eye.

stylish? (0, Troll)

exoir (826214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291003)

Only yuppie-nerds were those things

Re:stylish? (1)

afaik_ianal (918433) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291076)

Yep - that's the only thing stopping me from going out and getting one. I'm sure I'd find it extremely useful, but have an aversion to looking like a dickhead.

It's unfortunate that a few people who feel they need to advertise to the world that they're really important can ruin a technology for the rest of us :(.

Re:stylish? (1)

spacecowboy420 (450426) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291257)

A---Men

.

Coral Cache (2, Informative)

meetmeonaholiday (840405) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291010)

It appears to be down. Here's the coral cache:

http://www.xyzcomputing.com.nyud.net:8090/index.ph p?option=content&task=view&id=642 [nyud.net]

Liar (-1, Offtopic)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291058)

such a whore, it's not down in the least.

Re:Liar (1)

meetmeonaholiday (840405) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291172)

Haha. I like that language and you get a 2? Wow. Anyway, it was down when I checked but about 5 minutes later it was back up so I'm not lying, I was just too quick at posting the coral cache I suppose.

Re:Liar (0)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291184)

I apologize then

Re:Liar (0)

meetmeonaholiday (840405) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291207)

Apology accepted and much appreciated.

Uhura had a plantronics? (-1)

no_mayl (659427) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291013)

After the StarTak, the Plantronics...
just need the warp-drive.

Re:Uhura had a plantronics? (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291235)

I thought she had that salt shaker thing sticking out of her ear?

How much longer? (1)

superrcat (815508) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291018)

When are these things going to be implantable?

Re:How much longer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291837)

What, to drown out the voices in my head? Never!

Already out of style (4, Funny)

robogun (466062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291036)

A bunch of guys were wearing these in public a couple month ago, but not so much anymore it seems. I guess people are still not ready for something that makes you sound like a spaced out homeless man talking to himself.

Re:Already out of style (1)

imroy (755) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291074)

How is that any different to the wired "hands free" earpiece + mic sets that have been around 5+ years? What I'm interested in is the reduced exposure to RF radiation. Put the mobile/cell phone on the desk, on the passenger seat, in your bag/purse, or even just held in your hand (away from your head) and talk with one of these headsets. Although, BlueTooth is still RF. How much power does BlueTooth put out compared to GSM or CDMA?

I don't know the "ANSWER" (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291978)

but I know one has a radio designed to reach a couple of miles
and one has a radio designed to reach a couple of feet.

Re:Already out of style (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291178)

Really? I've started seeing a few now that I've moved on to a university. Confuses the hell out of me when someone walking past me says out loud, "How's your mother doing?"

Re:Already out of style (1)

robogun (466062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291395)

Here in Calif, I haven't seen any in the last week or so, whereas last month all kinds of spacemen seemingly were walking around talking to themselves.

And now that I've responded to your AC comment, it kinda looks like I'm talking to myself unless threshold is set at 0 or less.

Spellong? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291060)

jeessus chregist the spellin on dat articles be shite

Don't bother with your computer! (1)

coop535 (813230) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291063)

Seriously! They are uncomfortable, 'noise'y and it blows having to recharge batteries. If using with Wintel, the drivers suck: I hated having *all* the sound channel through the ear piece! That means that games would channel all its sound into my right ear with the person I'm talking to. meh!

Plantronics dsp 400. [plantronics.com]

It looks flimsy, but it isn't. It's lightweight, comfortable, and has volume / mute control in the cord. I love the idea of wireless, but sometimes you just can't let go of wires.

Not Bluetooth nor phone headset, so Off-Topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291179)

You don't appear to know what the article was about, since the device you linked can't be used with the Headset Profile of a Bluetooth mobile phone.

Re:Not Bluetooth nor phone headset, so Off-Topic (1, Informative)

coop535 (813230) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291251)

You don't appear to know what the article was about, since the device you linked can't be used with the Headset Profile of a Bluetooth mobile phone.

I know what I speak of. My wife and I play online games, and we like wireles devices. I did the research into what is involved to use these sweet looking devices with our machines (and usb->bluetooth adapters). As of last week, I've managed to find homes for our past flirtation with these things (2 sets of 2 bt headsets).

The real failure, of our flirtation, was mostly due to the bluetooth drivers and the way they configure the system to channel all sound. Microsoft did something *really* silly with their audio. The article links to a plantronic headset that got a "B", however, they did something quite special: they provided a solution for long term use with an aux battery. brilliant. But still, don't do it.

The linked product you refer to is what we both wear, and obviously does not support the headset profile, because... wait for it... it's a *USB* device. Basically, I've found that these bt devices are fantastic for cell phones, but they just aren't great for wearing all the time *or* using with your computer. It's a fact... and I'd like to save any fellow /.'ers from the same mistakes ($$) I made. However, that might be a huge leap of faith on my part for the reader [you] to connect the headline of my post against the subject of the article.

Re:Not Bluetooth nor phone headset, so Off-Topic (1)

AGMW (594303) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291407)

and I'd like to save any fellow /.'ers from the same mistakes ($$) I made.

You've got my attention! Just yesterday I was googling to see if the cell phone BT headsets could be connected to a PC (presumably, via a BT USB device) as I'd rather like to use it for VOIP, and it just seems silly to have to buy another device for the PC. I think it might be what I want for playing Unreal too.

My googling efforts seemed to say that any BT USB device should enable me to connect my BT headset (Bluetrek 6217 from Orange) to my PC for VOIP and Unreal - well, for everything! Is this true?

I do like your thoughts on being able to split out just a "voice" channel to the earpiece though!

Slightly back on-topic, I tend to only use it when I'm in the car (handsfree!) or if I'm on a long conference call, as it really does make you look like a bit of a tool! The biggest bonus is that if I swap phones I don't need to buy another one! I sure wish the phone industry would standardise some other of their components too ... batteries and chargers would be a start!

Re:Not Bluetooth nor phone headset, so Off-Topic (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291792)

Looks like the standard MS drivers simply redirect all sound to the BT device, but I'm only saying this because of what others said about them. The WIDCOMM drivers I use let you connect a headset as a separate audio device, just like another sound card. This would usually let you choose the output device for each application, but some apps only use the default output and don't let you change it.

I'm myself pretty happy with the $20 Panasonic headset (BHX70A [cgi.ebay.in] I'm not in India, but that's the best link I could find) I got during a promotion. It works well with both my ancient phone (T68i) and PC, where I use it mainly for Skype VOIP. It lasts slightly less then advertised, but not by much. It's also quite light and can be used while charging, although I have to move it to my left ear, otherwise the cord would be sticking vertically upward.

Re:Don't bother with your computer! (1)

sushibot (860818) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291897)

I agree. I bought a Motorola Bluetooth headset a few months ago for about $80. I never could get used to it. The mic picked up a lot of background noise, the sound was poor, and I could not get used to it hanging on my ear. I use a Plantronics wired headset now (about $35 from Radio Shack). It's not as convenient, with a wire and all, but the sound and mic quality are great. -Greg

Motorola? (4, Informative)

Yonkeltron (720465) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291068)

I looked at all of these models and my Motorola was more comfortable in addition to having better clarity. I would love to see some of the higher-end Motorola offerings thrown into the mix for comparison.

Re:Motorola? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291895)

I found the exact opposite. I bought the absolute cheapest plantronics I could get my hands on and it was much more comfortable than my motorola. I actually forget it is on at times. IT does not block any outside noise and it can get plenty loud as well as filter out all wind noise into the microphone (Driving in a convertable and talking on it the other person can not tell I have the top down at highway speeds except when a truck or a moron on a harley is next to the car.)

I have a drawer full of these bluetooth headsets from when I had to commute 170 miles a day for work (one way not round trip) and was trying to find something comfortable and loud enough to be useable during the entire commute. The cheapest plantronics at compusa won.

Although it's still not as comfortable as the wired headset that came with my really old nokia 3300. that was the worlds best headset ever designed.

150 usd for a headset? (0, Flamebait)

bubulubugoth (896803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291071)

And people are crying about the 600 usd for a PS3!

Wiiere the world is going?

Why Pay 150? $40-50 Is More Like It. (1)

DryBaboon (706101) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291468)

Bluetooth headsets are pretty popular in China, and Chinavasion are selling bluetooth headsets [chinavasion.com] like hotcakes to international markets because of the very low production costs.

Re:Why Pay 150? $40-50 Is More Like It. (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291892)

OK, Mr. Chinavasion, let me ask you. . . .do any companies in China manufacture Bluetooth motorcycle helmets? China manufactures more motorcycles and scooters than any other nation, so I'm hoping that sooner rather than later I will be able to find an inexpensive yet quality bluetooth helmet. The BT helmets I'm researched in the US are extremely expensive. US DOT certification (Dept. of Transportation) would be nice, too. Something under $300 would fit the bill. Current prices are in the $1000 range.

headset in public? (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291099)

I don't see to many headsets in public. Where it's relly important would be on docks or warehouses where you need to be able to talk in loud or echoing work places. There, does stylish really matter? I'd be more concerned on how much it hurts my ear after 12 hours a day. It also matters if you use while driving, since states a mandating hands-free kits.

Re:headset in public? (3, Interesting)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291148)

Could they do something about the "crazy person" headset wearing phenomenon? I can't count how many times I've walked down a city street thinking I was being followed by a schizophrenic talking to himself when it was actually a business executive wearing a headset talking to payroll, for instance. I know this isn't a fair portrait of schizophrenics, who are usually non-violent, but it's still creepy to have someone follow you who appears to have an imaginary friend.

I understand the hands-free necessity in cars - but is it necessary to wear a headset all the time? Are we getting too lazy to hold a phone up to our ears while walking? It may be uncomfortable and inconvenient, but it certainly clearly labels anyone talking on a phone as talking on a phone.

Re:headset in public? (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291224)

Hey now, I have friends that *do* have imaginary friends

But I agree that in public it's disconcerting if not just plane rude. My original post was meant to not be in public. I have no problem having my cell phone glued to my ear walking down the sidewalk. I was making a point to the fact in a work enviroment comfort and durbaility is key.

Where the problem really lies. (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291481)

Seems to me that the problem lies with you and not the executive. Who told you what a crazy person was "supposed" to be like. Headsets have been out for how long? That's how long society has had to decide that they were "rude". Doesn't seem like enough time to me. Nobody knows what respect is, but they all want it!

Re:headset in public? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291724)

These headsets aren't very useful in noisy environments, though. These are typically either just in the ear or over the ear sets and the volume on them just isn't sufficient to overcome a noisy environment. To say nothing of the microphone issues.

I have a Motorola bluetooth headset which I like a lot, but at least a couple of times a week somebody calls me while I'm walking down a busy downtown street and I can't hear a word they're saying over the passing cars and buses.

-Coach-

Stereo headsets (4, Interesting)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291141)

Good to know the best of the mono headsets, but how come these stereo wraparound headsets+microphones aren't more popular?

Motorola Stereo Bluetooth headset [ebay.com]

Generic Bluetooth Headset : Headphone MP3 Player FM Stereo Radio [ebay.com]

Re:Stereo headsets (1)

Oscar_Wilde (170568) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291317)

Probably because people usuallu buy these for chatting not for general listening.

People who want to use them with mobiles as well as with their computers generally don't want wrap around headsets.

Re:Stereo headsets (5, Informative)

Plunky (929104) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291345)

Good to know the best of the mono headsets, but how come these stereo wraparound headsets+microphones aren't more popular?

Normally Bluetooth headsets use the Headset profile for transmission of audio data over low latency isochronous links and is mono only, but these boys are using the newer "Advanced Audio Distribution Protocol" (A2DP) which operates over rfcomm (emulated serial) links and is not well supported in cell phones as yet.

In fact, the first link you posted said that the only phone that supports it properly is only available in Asia, though I saw on Nokias website recently that a few of their newer models will be supporting it (eg 6125).

Re:Stereo headsets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291673)

I thought it was illegal in some states to use a stereo headset while driving. Hence mono headsets being vastly more popular.

Anyone got a link to prove / disprove this?

As an aside, it seems like the hassle of wires would be insignificant compared to the hassle of having to recharge a cordless headset. Give me wires vs a dead battery - any day of the week.

Re:Stereo headsets (2, Informative)

grazzy (56382) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291769)

Because they suck ass.

You can only use the stereo mode while not using the mic, and it's still suboptimal sound quality. And they're quite buggy.. Not a buy I would recommend anyone :p.

Google around for WIDCOMM + Motorola + HT820 and you'll find that half the net is full of people with problems with motorolas solution.

What about while wearing glasses? (5, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291142)

Why doesn't someone review these headsets/earpieces while wearing glasses?

Re:What about while wearing glasses? (2, Informative)

Michael Wardle (50363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291201)

I bought a Nokia NS-26W [nokiausa.com] bluetooth headset about a month ago. It clips around the back of the ear rather than over the top. It's reasonably comforable when I'm wearing my sunglasses.

I paid $69 Australian from Organiser World [ow.com.au] . If you're in the US, you can get it from Amazon.com [amazon.com] .

Re:What about while wearing glasses? (1)

patio11 (857072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291212)

Because it always hurts like "#%"$#%"#.

Re:What about while wearing glasses? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291237)

Oakley's got you covered - RAZRWIRE (what a catchy name, BTW, even if it has nothing to do with glasses or bluetooth) - check http://oakley.com/o/o2261d [oakley.com]

Next you're going to tell me 'I was talking about _prescription_ eyeglasses'. So, trendy enuf to go Bluetooth, but not to go Lasik? Like, 'modern nerd'? Let me share a little secret with you - no Bluetooth headset is going to help you get a date with that cute redhead from Accounting, no matter how cool, if you don't drop first those 2-inch deep glasses ;)

Re:What about while wearing glasses? (1)

Krazy Nemesis (795036) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291329)

Not to be one of those nit-picking idiots out there, but some of us who wear glasses can't always get lasik due to medical conditions out of our control. In my case, for example, Dry Eye Syndrome [wikipedia.org] .

Re:What about while wearing glasses? (2, Funny)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291409)

So, trendy enuf to go Bluetooth, but not to go Lasik?
Laser eye surgery is a rip-off. My friend went and all he got was better eyesight, not laser eyes.

Re:What about while wearing glasses? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291752)

heh. You jest but it is a ripoff.

Lasik is minimum £800 (£400 per eye) for the no frills version. Plus there's the incumbent risk (around 5% of lasik surgery introduces complications making their eyesight worse, ranging from double vision to complete blindness - source: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2001-06-28-las ik.htm [usatoday.com] , amongst others).

Glasses are dirt cheap and absolutely safe. If you don't like the look modern contact lenses are also dirt cheap and absolutely safe.

Current facts (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291960)

Nice.. quote an article from 5 years ago, concerning a technology that was 10 years old then, and 15 years old now..

Re:What about while wearing glasses? (1)

myspys (204685) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291768)

So, trendy enuf to go Bluetooth, but not to go Lasik?

OR trendy enuf to suffer from keratoconus [wikipedia.org] which makes Lasik a non-option?

Not hearing aid compatible (2, Informative)

Zerosu (973651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291157)

Too many companies go with in-the-ear type styles... these won't work with most hearing aids, thereby limiting their potential audience. Only one of the headsets shown has even the remotest potential of being useful to that demographic group, and I'm still not convinced.

Why would you want one? (1)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291377)

Nokia LPS-4 works perfectly with my hearing aid, and no big lump hanging off my ear.

Re:Not hearing aid compatible (2, Insightful)

enitime (964946) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291474)

"these won't work with most hearing aids, thereby limiting their potential audience."

Please. They're limiting their potential customer base to the 99% of the population who:

1. Don't have hearing aids.

and

2. Would use headsets.

Financial suicide, that is.

Re:Not hearing aid compatible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291683)

http://elihearing.com/UnitedKingdomENG/Docs/Featur es1.htm [elihearing.com]

This is a neat little hearing aid accessory that can be attached to newer hearing aids that effectively turns your hearing aid into a BT headset.

Jabra JX10 (2, Informative)

FrodoTeeBagins (973655) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291180)

I own a Treo 650 and even though it is a great phone there are very few BT headsets that work well with this phone. I have used both Jabra Headsets. The Jabra JX10 is the only one in which all features worked with my phone. Leightweight, Stylish, Great sound and clarity make this BT headset the best I have tried. At Best Buy it retails for 175 $. for a MUCH MUCH lowerprice check out treonauts.com. BTW Jabra has great customer service. The detachable earpiece for my headset broke. I emailed customer service and asked where I could buy more and they shipped me replacements free of charge. You can't beat that. GET THE JABRA JX10 You will not be dissapointed. P.S. Check out the tv show "24" all the bad guys use this one !!!

Yeah, but... (1)

supersocialist (884820) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292176)

That's awfully expensive when the Anycom HS-777 [newegg.com] costs $40 including shipping and works just fine with my 650.

Bluetooth headset for PC? (1)

mungeh (663492) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291275)

Does anyone know if these exist?

Re:Bluetooth headset for PC? (1)

bcullman (973666) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291418)

Sure. As long as your pc has a bluetooth radio (either built in, or using a bluetooth dongle) just about any bluetooth headset will work. Bluetooth is a standard, like USB. the differce is a) it's wireless, and b) while it can be used with a PC, it does not require a pc.

Re:Bluetooth headset for PC? (1)

RenderSeven (938535) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292205)

I have it working on my laptop, with the intent of using Dragon to dictate documentation during a long commute. Thats another 10 billable consulting hours per week!

Pretty complete support info is over at Skype forumes http://forum.skype.com/viewtopic.php?t=10822 [skype.com] and http://forum.skype.com/viewtopic.php?t=14646 [skype.com]

I dont know how current the info is, but in a nutshell you need to use the Toshiba stack software instead of Windows default stack to make it work correctly. Lucky for me, Dell laptops come standard with Toshiba stack pre-installed.

If you have a Dell and need the Bluetooth card, you can get them through service parts for about half the cost of buying it pre-installed or buying it through their accessories department (makes you wonder about their pricing structure). This applies to the Inspiron 6000 anyway.

I used a cheap eBay no-name headset. It didnt put out enough volume, either transmit or receive, to work well with Dragon, so I donated it to a client. It works great with his phone, but leaves me shopping for a new headset. Based on the FA I'll try the JX10 and see how the noise suppression works with voice recognition.

Sound Quality (1)

sinfree (859988) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291279)

In general I've gotten so tired of hearing people sound like they were talking in a barrel when I tried using a headset that I stick to the speaker phone option on my cell phone for hands free use if possible. I find the quality to be much better and easier to understand.

Startlingly functional (3, Interesting)

virgil_disgr4ce (909068) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291295)

Something that continually impresses me is the prevalance of these devices among drivers and deliverers in New York. It's kind of amazing to see these near-future quasi-cybernetic earpieces worn by all sorts of very different people.

I think it's an excellent example of the fact that functionality and sheer usefulness will make or break any technology, and furthermore, that even the most "far-out" technology can and will be embraced by all walks of life if it fills a genuinely useful function. Some might see these devices and assume only the geeks or early adopters would give them any attention, but all over Queens and Brooklyn I see car service drivers with them, bicycling delivery guys, etc..

Re:Startlingly functional (1)

vmxeo (173325) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292064)

Something that continually impresses me is the prevalance of these devices among drivers and deliverers in New York.

I'm sure the the law requiring drivers to use a hands-free headset when talking on thier cellphone and driving may have some bearing on that... :)

..But yeah, I see people everywhere driving, biking, and walking around the city with thier headsets on too. If you don't mind wearing a wireless headset while driving, you probably won't mind using it everywhere else. I just bought the Plantronics Voyager 510 [amazon.com] for a decent price (~$45), so I guess I'll be of of those people now too.

Now if the city would only distrubute wireless headsets to all the crazy homeles guys who stand around and talk to themselves...

PSTN-bluetooth phone (1)

MoogMan (442253) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291323)

As we're on the subject, does anyone know of a bluetooth headset and base station that works with a standard PSTN phone?

Basically at work I need to answer the phone, but a lot of the time I'm not at my desk.

The problem is, it needs to actually lift the reciever. I've come across one such product, but it doesn't look all that good. Does anyone else know of this?

Re:PSTN-bluetooth phone (1)

CaptainTux (658655) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291402)

I believe Jabra makes an adapter that allows you to use a standard BT headset with any PSTN phone. Hit there site for details. Maybe eBay

Re:PSTN-bluetooth phone (1)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291877)

yes I knows of a few. GN Netcom 9120 wiht handset lifter http://www.gnnetcom.com/AU/EN/MainMenu/Products/Wi reless+Solutions/All+Wireless+Solutions.htm [gnnetcom.com] Plantronics 510S with a HL10 lifter or the Plantronics CS60 with a HL10 Lifter http://www.plantronics.com.au/australia/aus/?_requ estid=411318 [plantronics.com.au]

Re:PSTN-bluetooth phone (2, Informative)

Kagami001 (769862) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291878)

Unless you need Bluetooth specifically (as in, you want to use it with a mobile phone in addition to the base station) then I'd tend to recommend forgetting about Bluetooth and using a traditional encrypted digital wireless headset. They generally have longer range, better battery life, and aren't susceptible to Bluetooth's security issues (as mentioned in the early comments to this story). They also usually have handset lifters, as you mentioned.

For example, the Plantronics CS-50 [plantronics.com]

Don't buy it directly from Plantronics, though. It's far less expensive to get it from a separate store, like Buy.com [buy.com] or somewhere.
(Strangely enough, at the moment at buy.com, buying the CS50 + the handset lifter separately is $10 less than the two bundled together.)

I haven't used the PSTN version or handset lifter, but I've had a CS50 USB, the USB-connection version of this same model, for about a year now and been very happy with it for VOIP.

Plantronics certainly isn't the only manufacturer for headsets like this, though, so you may want to Google around for a bit and see what looks good.

Re:PSTN-bluetooth phone (1)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291918)

yes I knows of a few.

1. GN Netcom 9120 [gnnetcom.com] with a handset lifter

2. Plantronics 510S [plantronics.com] with a HL10 lifter

3.Plantronics CS60 [plantronics.com] with a HL10 Lifter

Sometimes in this age of high technology the best tool is a rock

Re:PSTN-bluetooth phone (1)

smtelegadis (948233) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291940)

One of the devices in the review the Plantronics Voyager 510 Headset has a base station option that will allow it to be used with an analog line. There is even a Hand set lifter to answer the phone wirelessly. It's not cheap MSRP 250USD. The headset alone runs ~45-75USD so there is a bit of a disparity Contrary to the review I favor this headset the best, but thats another post.

avoid driving with the blue flashing LED (3, Funny)

rapiddescent (572442) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291359)

for anyone who drives a lot the UK with headsets - I can heartily recommend that you don't get the ones with the pulsing blue LED's. At night, whilst at a rather brisk pace on the motorway, the LED flashes blue which will every now and then reflect off the (right hand in the UK) drivers window which will look not unlike the blue flashing lights of a police car in your wingmirror. nearly crapped myself the first time this happened. rd

Re:avoid driving with the blue flashing LED (1)

aug24 (38229) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291543)

Consider wearing on left ear?

HTH!

J.

Re:avoid driving with the blue flashing LED (1)

Yer Mom (78107) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291662)

As ever, duct tape is your friend...

Alternative Bluetooth headsets and security (2, Informative)

Mother_Wireless (973665) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291410)

Hi,

I have used a couple of Southwing's headsets, the best one being the SH305, and I can tell you it's the most comfortable one I have tried. Besides, it's the one that supports most handset models, as they follow the Flash-based firmware model, meaning their software is V2.4, each revision adding fixes and support for new phone models. Firmware cannot be updated by the user however. Most manufacturers burn a ROM mask onto the Bluetooth chip with their firmware, but this means that making changes is anti-economical (around $100k for a new mask!).

As for security, the reason it has a bad name is that it has been very poorly implemented by some vendors (some very first-rate) and caused a lot of hubbub. Yes, it was possible to snarf the phonebook off a Nokia 6310i, but Nokia learned the lesson - security is much tighter nowadays...you can't cure (L)user stupidity however. If they say 'yes' when they receive some unknown file over OBEX or FTP, and install it...well.

Cheers,

Mother

Killer app (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291440)

So, are wireless headsets supposed to be Bluetooth's killer application?
I rarely see anything else using Bluetooth and if that's all there is...

Re:Killer app (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15291979)

So, are wireless headsets supposed to be Bluetooth's killer application?

You must not use a Mac. Bluetooth is kickass on the Mac.

For me the killer app was syncing my contacts and calendar with my phone without needing some stupid proprietary ($$$) cable.
Or using my phone as a modem without needing some stupid proprietary ($$$) cable.
Or sending/receiving SMS from my computer, and seeing incoming call notifications on it.
Or moving photos/ringtones/etc to/from the phone without having to pay fees to the carrier or needing some stupid proprietary ($$$) cable.

Stereo (1)

gatzke (2977) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291562)


I have a Treo 650 and love it. I just wish someone could get wireless stereo and mic functionality working.

Bluetooth current versions apparently have crappy bandwidth and can't handle decent stereo, so it will be years for BT to handle this simple request.

There are wireless options for ipod (just headphones really) but to really get the use out of a convergence device, you need a mic as well.

Someone out there must be working on this, but I have not found it...

Re:Stereo (1)

clonmult (586283) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291653)

Bluetooth has an audio distribution profile (A2DP), which apparently supports higher quality stereo audio. There are a few products on the market that support it, obviously there will be more with time.

Bluetooth can have semi-decent bandwidth, but I haven't listened to any of these units to comment.

Re:Stereo (1)

gatzke (2977) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291821)


Thanks to the crappy BT implementation on my Treo, I doubt I will be able to use this without an upgrade.

Even the new Treo probably has limitations on this.

There should be a BT independant way of getting stero and mic wireless to my earhole, just plug a little BT box in my Treo and go. I could use it on a ipod or home stereo if I wanted, no BT headaches...

Bluespoon AX2 (2, Informative)

JakiChan (141719) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291650)

The Bluespoon headsets have been the masters of battery life and sound quality for years, but have been really expensive. Their budget headsets (first the AX and now the AX2) however are great as well. It has a USB charging socket. That means that while at home I plug it in to the wall charger that came with it and on the road I just pack a USB cable. I love that for travel. It has a replaceable watch-battery sized LiIon battery. Replaceable is good. Finally, it can be pared with up to 8 devices. Whatever device it talked to last will be the one it talks to when you hit the button. So I can have a nice Skype call on my Mac with it and then if I originate a phone call from my phone the headset is then pointed at the phone.

I'm not saying that now this is the only headset with these features, but that feature set combined with the Bluespoon rep and the $70 price tag has made me a happy camper. So if you're comparing I suggest you take a look.

I want one headset with two phones (1)

weave (48069) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291827)

I have to carry two phones with me -- work and personal. My Motorola bluetooth headset can be paired with both, but only connected to one at a time.

What I'd love is to wear one headset and keep both phones in my backpack or suit pocket (depending on the day) and no matter what phone gets a call, it'll ring inside the headset and I can answer it.

I read that entire article and was hoping that feature would be covered, but alas, except for some specialized setup with some certain type of office phone, nothing. :-(

SIG (1, Funny)

WebfishUK (249858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291834)

Lets face it, most guys wear these cause they wanna look like Captain Scarlett [bbc.co.uk] !

I bought the plantronics 640 (1)

doubledoh (864468) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291957)

I bought the plantronics 640 for my dad about 6 weeks ago. My dad is in a wheelchair, so I've been trying to sell him on a bluetooth headset for the past two years. He was afraid that he'd look like one of those self-important a-holes that rolls around like a handycapped version of Gordon Gekko. I assured him that the 640 was the smallest and most inconspicuous bluetooth headset that I could find and it wouldn't make him look like like a cyborg salesman. He finally agreed to give it a go.

Here are the results: He loves it. The wind noise that alot of other internet reviews spoke of doesn't seem to be a problem for my dad...and he drives with all his windows down (no A/C). The headset itself is so light it practically floats. I couldn't believe that there was a battery inside of the headset...I was looking for a battery case opening for 5 minutes before I realized that the battery was built in...it's that light. You can pair the device up to two things simutaneously if you want (ex: your computer and your cell phone), though my dad has no need for that. His only complaints: you do need to charge it up every night if you talk often. If you talk really often, you should bring the portable pocket charger (which is still quite convenient).

I personally have no need for a bluetooth headset myself, but if I did, I would definately get this thing because it's tiny, it's light, it's inconspicuous (well, as inconspicuous as you can get until Jack Bauer starts endorsing his magical in-ear CTU issued earpieces), and plantronics obviously knows what they're doing. This is definately a headset for mobile users though. If you yap on the phone all day at work or home, you need a headset that has longer lasting batteries.

The wonderful more than you can believe it! (1)

Shoten (260439) | more than 8 years ago | (#15291994)

Man, I had to go to my 419 spam archive to remind myself how to read awful english. This review is a little cryptic at times:


The PEBL comes standard with "ObeyMoto" the universal voice recognition, and this means dialing by numbers or name is a breeze. This combo really does mean you can ditch the phone into the recesses of your pants or satchel and not really the phone.


Good review other than that, although it would have been nice to see more than two companies represented.

VOIP (1)

metroplex (883298) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292018)

Interesting article. I'm experimenting right now with a bluetooth adapter for my G3 tower with OsX Tiger installed and I was wondering if any of those bluetooth headsets would work with a VOIP program such as skype on my computer. Are these made especially for cellphones or are they supposed to be universal? The article doesn't seem to mention it. I'd be glad to know before buying one of those.

Re:VOIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15292198)

I think it should work. If I remember correctly in OS X 10.3 you could use bluetooth headsets for specific applications like iChat, and in 10.4 the support was extended to a system level so it works almost like a plugged-in speaker and microphone set.

There is nothing special from the perspective of the headset -- it will just see a device it's paired to (your computer) and a duplex audio stream.

So they _claim_ these units aren't the problem? (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292032)

When produce departments introduced misting in the 80s, we were in a city where the dominant chain advertising apparently thought a toothless old guy was an authentic symbol for a "real" produce manager. I will aways remember their catch phrase, "We misssst our veg't'blesssss to keep dem fresssssh!" How appealing.

In other words, aside from how cool you look walking down the street wearing it, I would suggest leaving a message to yourself with any headset to see what impression you leave. Honestly, some messages on our standalone machine are just an indecipherable cascade of white noise. I would think it was ram rot except for the occasional clear (and obviously land line?) call.

Not even close to a "roundup" (4, Insightful)

mmmbeer (9963) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292067)

So four devices from two manufacturers constitues a roundup now? Motorola isn't even represented despite being a major player in the market. The devices also cost 2-3x more than the bluetooth headsets everyone I know has.

If you're looking for a bluetooth headset, don't use this roundup at all, since there are plenty of great headsets which cost less than half the ones reviewed.

While you're there... (1)

IainMH (176964) | more than 8 years ago | (#15292108)

While you're out buying your blue-tooth headset, don't forget your white trainers (sneakers), Burberry baseball cap and fake designer tracksuit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chav [wikipedia.org]
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