Purveyors of Electronic, Musical
and Vintage goods
from then, now and in between.
BlueTooth® Cell Phone Headset Reviews based on our actual experience
Bluetooth® cell phone headset, 'real world tests' I have
conducted and reviews of my results of usage.
What makes me 'such an expert' and why should you pay any attention to the
following 'drivel'? Well, I'm not 'an expert' necessarily, but I do have 30
years 'practical experience' in electronics, acoustics and sound, I've used a
cell phone 'headset' essentially everyday for the past 10 years or so, starting
with 'wired' sets. I've owned MANY different models, and we do 'buy-outs' on
headsets in bulk, sometimes getting 30-50 at a time. So, I'm sure that makes me,
by no means 'The Authority', but probably have a more traveled and experienced
opinion than most...so there!
Yes, we had quite a few to go thru!
(Page now arranged by 'most recent' info / postings first)
8/18/2016 I knew I would jinx it by writing the last post about how the LG-HBS-900® 'ear bud wires' had not had an issue for almost a year. Well, a month later, one of the ear buds / speakers developed an intermittent connection at the point where the wire enters the ear piece 'body' (which is where one would expect it to start to fail, and yes, it was the 'most used side' as in I pretty much exclusively use the right ear piece). I tried yesterday to use and become accustomed to the 'left ear' speaker / use, but 'that ain't gonna work'. So, it was off to Best Buy® to get another, but knowing that it was a year since I bought the LG HBS-900®, I was confident that it was likely 'new and improved' (which usually means 'new and we found a way to make it cheaper'). I was correct. The LG HBS-900® is now replaced with the LG HBS-850® "Active", but my local Best Buy® only had it in 'blue', and I just wasn't into that. I decided to 'bump up' to the HBS-910® "Infinim®" model. It was $30 or $40. more, but was avail in black. I looked at the LG HBS-1100® "Platinum", but neither the HK 'Signature Sound' speakers in the Infinim®, nor the HK® "Platinum Sound" w/ 24 BIT HI-FI sound with LG 'G5®' was of any interest to me, as my use is not for listening to music thru them, but for 'phone conversations' with customers. Again, I only 'stepped up' to the 'Infinim® HBS-910®' because they had 'black' in stock. Another 'turn-off' for me with the HBS-850® 'Active' was that it was made in China. Yes, the 'Infinim® and Platinum' are not made in USA, of course, they're made in Vietnam, but at least NOT China. Sorry, but it's 'my soapbox' and I'm standing firmly on it. Anyway, out of the box, the LG HBS-910® was fully charged, connected as soon as powered up and worked immediately. HOWEVER, and this is obviously just my opinion, and YES, I get 'set in my ways', they moved the 'call answer' button from the top, to the side of the unit. WHY???? On the 'HBS-900®' you could simply press 'down' on a 'big' button, located on the front / top surface to answer the call, with one finger. Now it's a very small, rectangular, tab on the side that you need to squeeze inward with two fingers. I'll get accustomed to it, but it worked better before. Also, all the other 'furniture' is moved around. If you haven't had one before, not a big deal, but for anyone moving up in model, it's a hassle to re-figure out. I've cut off a few, fairly important business calls by trying to increase or decrease the volume, because the 'call answer / hang-up / call end' button is now in it's position. Also to increase the volume on the old one, you would press one button for 'volume up', and one for down. The new one requires you to slide a button up or down, that one is very 'low profile' and two doesn't move very much, which makes it hard to tell if you're actually moving the correct control. I have VERY short finger nails, which makes it doubly hard to manipulate. Other than all of that, the LG HBS-910® V1.0 seems to be very similar in build quality, construction, weight and function to the previous model, the LG HBS-900®.
On a different note, I purchased the extended warranty on the HBS-900®'s from Best Buy®, which extended the original warranty to two years. It was cheap, and in my opinion, an extended warranty is a good idea on something as fragile & vulnerable to damage as a blue tooth headset. Also the ratio of the cost of the warranty compared to the cost of the item makes sense (I have always purchased the extended warranty on bluetooth headsets and have had to use it EVERY TIME, and in some cases multiple times), which brings me to this. Best Buy has now started exhausting the warranty once used, regardless of when the unit fails in relationship to the original length of the extended warranty. In other words, my HBS-900® failed a year and a month after purchase. I didn't get a prorating / credit for the remaining 11 months towards a new warranty on the new unit. They said they considered the warranty 'fulfilled' with a full credit of the product back towards the new purchase. I suppose that's one way to look at it, but not sure I agree. I'm also not sure that's what my original extended paperwork stated, but it was so little money (like about nine bucks if I remember right) that it wasn't worth looking into.
Well, we'll see how this one (the LG HBS-910® 'Infinim®' fares...
7/19/2016 OK, so it's been almost a year, and for some weird reason, the LG HBS-900®'s are still functioning fine! The 'thread' sized wire hasn't broken, the wire 'retract' mechanisms still work fine, battery life is still good (can get a couple days of conversation out of them between charges if I so choose), the charge connector still functions with no loose / intermittent connectors, both ear pieces sound fine, the mic works. I just can't believe the small ear bud wires haven't broken. I probably just jinxed it by writing this...
7/28/2015 So I couldn't wait and go thru another day of poor performance from the HBS-760®, but in the interest of 'fairness', I decided to stick with LG® and try the version a 'couple steps up', the LG HBS-900®, with the 'Harman Kardon®' drivers. I am primarily utilizing a bluetooth headset for 'phone conversations', so I couldn't imagine that the lowest end / OEM drivers wouldn't / shouldn't be sufficient. The TOPL drivers do sound better, but again, for conversation, I can't imagine they should make much of a difference (and I have sold audio gear 'for a living' for the past 30 years). They do sound better. Much better. Did I have a 'less than par' pair of HBS-760®'s...? Maybe I should have tried another pair...
Regardless, after a couple days of usage on the LG HBS-900's, I am not getting the complaints about sounding 'distant', 'digitized', 'reverb'ie', 'muffled' etc, and I'm asking folks, randomly how I sound. One thing I notice is that the microphone is in a different position (closer to my mouth) on the body of the LG HBS-900®. The controls, etc are the same as the LG HBS-760®. The 'retractable' ear-buds / cords seem to work fine, but my limited knowledge of 'physics' leads me to believe that the mechanism will not likely last long, nor will the VERY think leads / cords / wires. They are even thinner than the thin wires on the HBS-760®. I am guessing they have silk or Kevlar running the length of the cable, within the wire jacket, but none-the-less, wires that thin, don't typically last very long. In the interest of getting as much 'mileage' out of them as possible, I leave the 'out' (not retracted) most of the time. They do tend to get tangled in my sunglasses leash, seat belt etc, but that's kind of the 'nature of the beast'.
As far as comfort goes, they are marvelous. I forget they're around my neck, or in my ear. I can hear fine with only one inserted, btw. I am also not 'jazzed' about the charging system / port of the either the HBS-900® or the HBS-760®, as while it's a very 'tight / snug' fitting, 'micro-USB' jack, I know that over time, it will get loose. I like the magnetically attached / contact only type charging jacks / plugs as they 'live longer'. I can get the charging port door / cover off with very short to 'no fingernails' however, as I could with the HBS-760®. That was kind of a 'deal breaker' on the Samsung® 'Circle Gear®' I tried, but may give it another go as well.
I am not completely sold on this one yet, as haven't had enough comments back from folks on the other end of phone calls yet, so will probably try out some other models before I settle on one. I'll keep you posted....
7/27/2015 Ok, first day of utilizing the LG HBS-760® 'Tone', around the neck headset. I can hear 'audio programs' thru them such as news and music and 'streaming radio stations'. The controls work well. The LG HBS-760® paired easily to my iPhone...HOWEVER, pretty much everyone who has called in has complained that it's hard to hear me. Some calls came in while I was in a 'retail store' and a couple others when I was in a restaurant (fast food type) so it was a bit noisy. The folks that called in while I was in the restraint said they had a very hard time 'hearing me' / understanding me, and I had a hard time with them as well. I did some test calls with employees and they both said that the 'sonics' was ok, but that any ambient noise (radio in background, voices, wind etc. came thru 'loud-n-clear' as well). The sound of 'incoming calls' has a 'comb filtering' / 'flanger' effect to them thru the speakers (when using both). For conversation, they seem very 'thin' without much punch / low-end, which I realize I don't want a lot for 'spoken word / voice', but these are VERY THIN sounding. I have never had a unit get so many complaints, so quickly. I'll give it another day, but if I determine the issues are with the headset, I'll be returning it to make another change.
7/25/2015 So a few folks I know have the LG HBS-760® 'Tone' and various other versions of the 'around the neck' Bluetooth headsets. I am interested in getting the 'transmitter / receive' part of the headset away from my head as I've heard some fairly compelling evidence of potential contributions to brain cancer / tumors by close proximity radio waves (my grandfather died of brain cancer, so I'm also a bit 'gun shy').
2/26/2015 I am 'breaking' a lot of ear clips on the Jawbone Prime® Bluetooth headsets as they are so 'fragile' where they enter into the body. Plus I'm 'hard' on them as I keep putting them in my pocket. They will pretty much break every time doing that. I ordered a few backups of a couple different varieties of the ear clips.
2/26/2015 Dug out one of the many Jawbone Prime® Bluetooth headsets I have. They are my current 'fall back'. I am 'breaking' a lot of ear clips, so ordered a few backups of a couple different varieties.
2/25/2015 Got lots of snow here. Guess what fell out, likely landing in snow somewhere, not to be found again. Arghhhhh. The Bose headset. It had been falling out multiple times a day. I had not changed the clip from the 'middle' one (it came with 'small', 'med' and 'large', with the 'med' already installed). I should have tried the other clips, but didn't. Oh well, no one to blame but me. Now they aren't made anymore (not sure why) and there doesn't seem to be a replacement in the works.
1/2015 Got the 'Bose®' Bluetooth® Headset. Paired with the iPhone 6® instantly with no glitches. Sonically great, both on the monitor (speaker) and the mic aspects. No delay for caller on the other end. Controls work fine. I can monitor / listen to audio programs on my phone as well. I'm concerned that it's going to be falling out, even though multiple Bose sales people / users assure me it stays in fine.
1/2015 So I've noticed a bit of an issue with the 'Sliver'. The 'body' is rather large, behind my ear. So much so, that's my ear has started getting a 'falling asleep' feeling, and I feel the headset back there, even when it's not. I'm gonna go switch to the Bose bluetooth headset, although I'm worried about it not staying in my ear as it has an 'in ear clip' instead of one that surrounds the back of the ear.
12/2014 YEA!!!! FINALLY GOT AN iPhone®. Don't plan on 'Look'in back'. Now I have a 'REAL CAMERA' do doing 'snapshots' / vacation photos, and quick videos. YES, I've done lots of comparisons with the photo quality of Android phone cameras, with different versions of iPhones, and so far the iPhone® has always been better in all the aspects I can notice...hands down!
2/24/14 So my Motorola® HZ750 / 'Elite Sliver®' still doesn't give me a 'voice prompt' as to the number that is calling. I have tried a number of menus on the phone to address it, but still doesn't give me the 'voice prompt' of the number that is calling, nor even a 'ring' tone in the headset. All I get is one voice prompt stating I have an incoming call. I get not ring tone, nor even a tone when I 'connect'. It did give me a 'caller ID' name, once or twice, when that was available, but isn't consistent with that (actually only did it the 3rd or 4th day, a couple times, and hasn't done it since, and the call is from someone who calls a few times daily) If anybody knows EXACTLY what's going on, feel free to contact me with the solution...
I'll post more as necessary...
1/10/14 So yesterday my Motorola® HZ750 / 'Elite Sliver®' developed an issue with NOT 'turning on' when 'twisted'. It would try to power up, but then the 'voice prompt' would cut out about half way through. I tried 're-booting' the phone numerous times, disconnecting and re-connecting, and finally had to 'throw in the towel' as a bad headset. Fortunately, when we purchased it, we also purchased Best Buys 'extended warranty' (I wouldn't often recommend extended warranties on gear, unless it's something that is exposed to more strenuous use or situations that are more likely to stress it, AND the warranty does not exclude likely issues, AND it's a reasonable percentage of the replacement cost-vs-risk (and Cell phone headsets are high risk of damage items)).
I knew that there was a new version of my Motorola® HZ750 / 'Elite Sliver®' called the Motorola 'Elite Sliver-II'. I also went with the intentions of considering the 'Bose®' Bluetooth® Headset, but I really like the ergonomics of the Motorola® Sliver® design, didn't want the larger 'body' of the Bose®, didn't really like the ear clip design when compared to the Motorola® Sliver®, and most of all didn't want that BIG 'Bose®' label on the side of my head (I have heard positive feedback on the Bose Bluetooth Headset however from some users).
So we took our original receipt with the broken Motorola Sliver and much to my pleasant surprise, the Best Buy® customer service rep was completely amiable and made the swap for the new one 'painless'. I also purchased another 2 year 'extended' warranty on the new Motorola® Sliver-II®. So far I can say that it has a slightly larger body (not really jazzed about that part), and they added a 'micro-USB' port as an alternate way to charge it (still utilizes the charging case, although they are not interchangeable as again, the 'bodies' are different size and the original has 4 contact points, and the Motorola® Sliver-II® has 3). Hopefully the new one will have all the sound quality aspects (meaning that the speaker was sufficiently loud (at least for me, and I need it pretty loud), callers didn't complain about my voice as they did with others), and the 'range / distance' that the original had as I was commonly able to walk away as much as 50-70 feet from my phone, and into different rooms. One thing I don't like is that it doesn't give me a 'voice prompt' as to the number that is calling. I have tried a number of menus on the phone to address it, but will continue to try....
...1/12/14 Ok, so after a couple of days of trying to get the 'voice prompts' of the 'incoming phone call number', I've not been able to get the Motorola® 'Elite Sliver-II®' to do that. Yes, I've read the headset owners / users manual. The headset 'says' that that feature is turned on, but it doesn't state the number when a call comes in. It also doesn't 'ring' in the headset. The only indication I get through the headset is a voice prompt indicating 'an incoming call'. It doesn't even 'beep', 'peep', 'burp' or anything when I connect, so I just have to wait a moment or so to 'say "hello"'. I'll keep working with it and see if there's some 'buried menu' on my 'Motorola® 'Bionic™' / Android format phone that needs to be addressed (but I think I've done all that I can with the phone...other than trash it for an iPhone (can't wait!)). And yes, I've re-booted the phone, including removing the battery. The only thing I haven't tried since re-booting / removing battery is 'disconnecting' the headset and then 're-connecting'. I'll give that a go, but if anybody knows EXACTLY what's going on, feel free to contact me with the solution...
I'll post more as necessary...
11/15/13 Just FYI. So I had mentioned that the silicone 'elbow' of the Motorola® HZ750 / 'Elite Sliver®' developed a fairly sever crack, so much so that eventually it was pretty much all the way through. I put a small amount of 'Super Glue' on the split and it has held perfectly. It's now been about 3 months since I glued it, and it's still 'Crack Free' (oh,....if we could only say that about everybody)
8/13/13 Ok, there's a bit of a 'glitch' in the 'love affair' with my Motorola® HZ750 / 'Elite Sliver®'. The silicone 'elbow' has developed a fairly sever crack over the past couple days and probably won't be 'much longer for this world'. Also, so far it's a minor thing, but the jack in the case where the charger attaches has become pretty loose, and if you move it while plugged in, it will likely disconnect. A minor issue, and frankly most of those 'micro-USB' connectors seem to be pretty anemic. That is just one of the aspects of quality and longevity I've noticed Apple® products seem to 'have a handle on'. Their chargers generally attach to their products with parts and in a fashion that doesn't wear our or has very minimal possibilities to wear. I will probably be replacing my Motorola® Elite Sliver® with another of the same model, as it's performance has been superior.
in love!...With my newest
headset. My Plantronics® 'Voyager Pro®' just
had it's microphone die on 6-19-13. To try and find a replacement, I went
through my collection of surplus headsets and realized that I am reaching the
'bottom of the barrel', so instead of rummaging thru the rest, I decided to look
at some 'new' ones. My wife (with whom I'm also in love with, so it's not just a
'headset thang') suggested I try her
Motorola® Bluetooth® Headset,
the Motorola® HZ750®, aka the Motorola 'Elite Sliver'
(not Motorola® Elite 'Silver'®), that she had been using on
her iPhone 5®. I agreed, but had some time to kill, so did a bit of 'pre-window
First I went to Radio Shack (nearest to warehouse) and their selection topped
out at about $70 (at least at that time, and for that store). Probably the most
'top end' they had in stock was the 'Jabra® Extreme-2®, part #
and the Plantronics® 'Voyager Legend®' (the replacement for the Voyager Pro® that I
already didn't like as I had a few of those and they were, in my opinion, too
bulky. I also didn't like the button configuration, but it looks like they may
have improved that on the 'Voyager Legend').
I then went to Best Buy (was not looking forward to that, but actually DID WANT
to hear about what they had for an extended warranty, as I'm a heavy user of a
headset). They had a 'higher-end'
selection including the
Motorola HZ750, aka the
Motorola® 'Elite Sliver®', a couple of Jawbones (not a big fan as I'm not smart
enough to locate the 'magical areas' on them to press to do stuff), and 2 or 3
by Bose® (not of fan of most anything from Bose®, they were large with a HUGE
'BOSE®' insignia on the body of them. Sorry, but NO WAY!) Then I went to
the Verizon® Store a couple blocks down the street. They had the best selection
with all that Best Buy had, plus a couple others. Went back home empty handed,
but knew the next day I would be trying out my wife's Motorola HZ750® /
'Elite Sliver®' headset. WOW...I LOVE IT!!! Why? 1) It's has more than sufficient
speaker / earpiece volume, 2) It has sufficient and clear mic pick-up and volume
for the person on the other end, 3) 'Pairing', at least with my
'Motorola® 'Bionic™' / Android
format phone is essentially 'AUTOMATIC'. All I did was turn it on, which is done
by simply 'twisting' the unit at it's mid-point, 4) It connects automatically
every morning by simply turning on with the 'twist thing'. 5) It has 'voice
prompts to tell you how much battery life is left, when it's connected and when
you walk away far enough to disconnect, and prompts you with what number is
calling so you don't have to look at your phone's screen (something that my last two 'Plantronics®' didn't have), 6) it uses a
very durable design for charging (no stressed, plastic parts going in and out
every day (unless you unplug the entire storage case)), 7) There doesn't seem to
be any parts that overtime will wear out or break from flexion, stress, strain
etc (that aspect will remain to be seen), 8) It's comfortable, at least for my
ear (this is not really a negative or positive and should really not be in any
review as everyone's ears are shaped differently, so what is 'comfortable' for
one doesn't necessarily work for another person, but regardless, I like it). 9)
IT JUST WORKS!!!
There are other cool things such as the 'prompt voice' tone and the 'extra charge storing case' (charges when you put the headset back in it's case).
This was one of the more expensive models of the available lot. I DON'T CARE! I have gone thru so many over the years, and a long time ago learned not to purchase most things because they are the cheapest, and that logic definitely applies to a Bluetooth® headset. Since this one came from Best Buy, and we purchased the extended warranty on it, I'll use it and my wife ordered another from Amazon to replace it for her self. I'll keep you posted with any issues and with it's ultimate life span or any phone changes / upgrades I make with it.
5/20/13 Just a 'rant' by the way and off the topic of 'blue-tooth' headsets. So I've had my 'Motorola® 'Bionic™' / Android format phone for about a year and a half now. I was pretty much 'sorry' I didn't go with an iPhone® a few days after I got it for many reasons, but the primary one being that the iPhone® is simply MUCH MORE intuitive on pretty much every level, but certainly basic operations and navigation of it's screens, operations and apps. Another reason is the built-in camera. Now first of all, phone cameras are generally 'novel' at best, when comparing to even one of the lower priced digital 'real' cameras, but due to their convenience, they have become the 'go to' camera for most folks, including more often than I like to admit myself. That 'convenience factor' has led the market to become complacent and now RELY on them and refer to them in conversations like they are indeed, 'real cameras'. Sorry, but they're NOT (doesn't matter how many 'bazillion megapixels' they have, when the lens is the size of a 'period' the photos aren't going to be that great. Just simple physics). Having said that, last night I wanted to take a photo of kids playing inside. I first used my
'Motorola® 'Bionic™' and it resulted in it's typical
'grainy, crappy' resolution. So I asked my wife to hand me her iPhone 5® to use
'before the moment passed' (again, a good application of the 'convenience factor
of the camera phone') and it looked WAAAYYY better!!! Our friend said, "well my
Android is '8-Megapixel' and takes great photos!" (mine is '8-Megapixel' as
well, which again, DOESN'T MATTER WHEN THE LENS IS SO SMALL ON A CELL PHONE
ANYWAY), so I shot the same
scene with his (one of the newest Samsung's) and we compared all three photos.
The photo on his was the same 'grainy, crappy' resolution as on my Android
Bionic™, just 'tinted' slightly different (neither rendered very true colors to
what we were actually seeing in the room. The iPhone 5® was also much truer to
the actual colors). The iPhone® also 'fires' and captures photos much quicker,
as well as loads the camera app WAY faster in the first place to catch 'fleeting
shots'. Now there may be some settings that could be done on the phones to
'improve' the results, but all three were 'out of the box' as far as the
settings go, and frankly, I don't think there are any settings to address the
results we got.
Hey, just the results of my very 'unscientific' experiment.
5/20/13 So over the past few months my wife acquired an iPhone 5® and then paired it with a Motorola Bluetooth Headset, the Motorola HZ750, aka the Motorola 'Elite Sliver'. It's comfortable to wear, unobtrusive (relatively small), and she likes the 'in case' charging capability as the 'case' has a 'reserve power supply' for an emergency charge. Sonically, it seems to be 'all around' adequate for both the user and the person on the other end. I doesn't really sound any different than being on the phone 'handset' microphone. It has ample volume and NO perceptible echo for either party. Easy to turn-on (just twist after taken from it's case / charging dock) and is 'automatically' ready to go, without 'jumping through any hoops'.
1/20/12 So I finally got a new phone. It's an Android™ type product, the 'Motorola® 'Bionic™'. I chose the Android format, as my wife has an iPhone® already and I wanted to see how current and future changes that we make to this site look on both formats. Also, it seemed like the inability to change the battery on the iPhone format was a 'deal-breaker' for me. In hindsight, I wish I had also gotten an iPhone® , as the 'Android' format is too much of a 'frontier' / rogue format. My impression is that there are 'too many chef's' involved in both product and app development with only a few of them 'playing off the same page', where-as the Apple products and apps are all vetted thru Apple and all 'play well together' (but all of that's for a different rant).
So how does the Android, 'Motorola® 'Bionic™' work with the Plantroics Bluetooth headset?... So far with the Android I have used only the Plantronics® , 'Voyager 520™' Bluetooth headset. I wanted to use the 'Jawbone 2', but after trying about 30 times to get it back into 'pairing' mode (after using it with my LG 'Fusic' phone, I gave up (I'll try it or another one later). For now, the Plantronics Voyager 520 has been doing well. With this Motorola Bionic phone, I simply pull the Plantronics Voyager 520 headset off the charger in the morning, and once the phone is 'awakened', press / hold the 'call answer' button on the headset for about a second and let it connect to the phone (then 'kill' it on the phone). After that, I seem to have no issues throughout the day (meaning from about 9AM to about 7 or 8PM, constantly wearing it).
My wife has also started using a BlueTooth headset with her Apple iPhone 3G. She is using the BlueAnt Z9i. So far she has been using it for about a week and a half, and for just about all calls now. She has no complaints and actually likes it. It is comfortable, has plenty of volume, a clear speaker and microphone and is fairly small. I am also surprised at the sound quality of calls between the two Bluetooth headsets, meaning calls from my Android, Motorola Bionic / Plantronics Voyager 520 combo and her Apple iPhone 3G / BlueAnt Z9i. To me, the call quality is as good as a phone with no headset, and that's hard for me to admit.
Probably the next change / upgrade to be made will be the Apple iPhone 3G to the iPhone 4S. Not because we have an inherent issue with that generation of the iPhone, but we are switching her over to my Verizon plan, from her AT&T plan, as AT&T does not have '4G' here (I thought I needed '4G' to allow my web site to load or at least load faster, but frankly, I did a 'side-by-side' comparison in the store on both 3G and 4G formats, with one of my largest pages, and there was virtually no difference in load time, but I went with 4G anyway). Also, the battery is dying on her iPhone 3G after about 5 years, so that, coupled with a current deal they have for a decent trade credit on the old phone makes it a good time to switch.
And the beat goes on....
11/16/11 I'm currently switching between the Jawbone 2 and the Plantronics™ 'Voyager 520'. Here's my thoughts. Overall, I like them both. No, still not perfection, but functional, reasonably dependable and for me comfortable to wear.
The Plantronics™ 'Voyager 520';
Pros; Does not 'disconnect' from the phone when charging overnight, so you don't have to go thru any 'unique steps' to get the phone and headset working in the morning (first one I've had that seems to work that way. I don't even have to 're-pair' it when I've switched from a different headset. I simply turn off or charge the other, and turn this one on). Charger to phone connection seems to be of a 'durable' design, but that's only based on a couple months usage. The headset does seem to get thru one of my 'typical' days of usage on a single battery charge. As far as sonic performance, it does seem to get sufficiently loud for me to hear (probably due to the shape of the ear pad that 'guides' the sound), and I have had minimal complaints about 'low volume', 'static' noises or environmental noises (I am assuming this is due to the 'Noise Cancelling Mic' built-into it and the longer design of the body, which gets the mic a bit closer to my mouth). While this is a 'personal' aspect, it is tolerably comfortable for me to wear throughout most of the day.
Cons; It does randomly 'disconnect' from my LG Fusic phone 2-4 times per day (doesn't seem to be related to distance from the phone).
The 'timing' on the 'call answer' button seems to be a bit 'random' or unorthodox, but I probably need to re-read the manual to get the exact sequence down. I've cut off a couple of calls by either pressing it twice, not pressing it sufficiently, or pressing it too long. Again, seems a bit random. One thing I've learned with most of the headsets is to wait about 2 seconds after you press the 'call answer' button to speak a greeting, or it seems that the first words aren't heard.
Overall, it seems to be a 'usable' device that generates a sufficiently 'low frustration' level and I would recommend it based on my experience. The Plantronics™ 'Voyager 520' Bluetooth® headset operates on Bluetooth® v2.0 / HSP 1.1 & hands-free HFP 1.5 profiles.
The 'Jawbone 2':
Pros; Charger to phone connection is the most 'durable' design I've seen and can't imagine a more durable one. It utilizes an internal magnet to hold the headset charging contacts to the charger so there is no plug / jack / connector to wear out (this is a big PLUS). I've never had it randomly 'disconnect' from my LG Fusic phone. Does seem to pick-up well from a distance, if I leave my phone on my desk and walk away (happens all the time). As far as sonic performance, it does get sufficiently loud for me to hear, in-fact it can get 'overly' loud at it's loudest setting (probably due to the shape of the ear pad that seals / mates with the ear canal well), and I have had minimal complaints about 'low volume', 'static' noises or environmental noises (except don't touch the unit, while conversing at it transmits very loud 'handling noise', but that would be a good policy with any headset. Make adjustments for fit, between calls or just prior to answering current incoming call). While this is a 'personal' aspect, it is tolerably (very) comfortable for me to wear throughout most of the day.
Cons; Takes a bit to get used to the 'call answer' switch. It's so sleak due to no external buttons showing, that you have to 'get used to' where to press on the unit to answer a call. Not really a 'con' as once you're used to it, it's fine.
The headset doesn't seem to get thru one of my 'typical' days of usage on a single battery charge. If I've had a couple of 'longer calls' 20-40 minutes thru the day, it will usually start it's 'low battery' beep by about 3 in the afternoon. I keep a charger at work to top it back up (charges to full pretty quickly [20-40 min]). To be fair, the battery on this one is likely older, so I'll try another with a fresher battery. That will probably 'fix' that issue.
Overall, it seems to be a 'usable' device / tool and I would recommend it based on my experience. Waaayyy better than my experience with the original Jawbone 'Prime' model from a few years ago.
PS. Did I mention it looks 'Cool'?
For lots of Cool, Vintage Electronics, Stereo / Audio Gear, Guitars, Old Microphones, Deco / Retro furniture, Lava Lamps, etc!
10/26/11 OK, finally we're back to trying more. After wearing out my last, Motorola H500 / 505's about 3 months ago we have a new crop of Bluetooth® headsets to try. Models such as the BlueAnt Z9i, Jabra BT-250v, BT-530, Jawbone icon, Jawbone 2, Motorola Motorokr S9-HD, Plantronics™ Explorer 210, Explorer 230, Explorer 320, Explorer 390, Voyager 520, Voyager 835, Voyager Pro and others.
12/24/08 Switched back to one of my Motorola H500 / 505's about a year and a half ago. Other than losing one on a golf course, they are still working and so far have been "trouble-free". Unfortunately there is an entire new crop of Bluetooth® headsets out there, so most of the models listed above are now obsolete. If I try any of the new versions, I will post the results here. Until then....
The saga continues....
9/1/07 Interestingly today I spoke saw a person with a Jawbone. He said he loved it in all respects and had had it since April. He did not notice any "tinny" aspects to the sound as I and many of the references on the web speak of. He did say that he had heard there were "knock-offs" of it out there. I don't know if there's any truth or not to that. I did not ask what phone he was using it with. He also said that his charger fits well, but I didn't press him on that issue.
8/20/07 I also tried the following two models in a Sprint Store. One was the Motorola "S9", Stereo Bluetooth® headset and the Plantronics™ "Discovery" . We paired both up with my Fusic phone. The Motorola S9 did sound good to me, but I test called 3 cell phones and they all could hear every thing in the background to an extent that it interfered with my voice. I could actually hear some of the background noise coming back through the speakers. Didn't seem very "useable". The Plantronics™ "Discovery" did better than the Motorola S9, and was on par with most of the older Motorola models such as the 820, but only on par, so why bother? It was comfortable. The Motorola S9 was not comfortable at all, as it applied a lot of pressure inward, but I would assume that could have been adjusted. It also 'bugged' me by always rubbing the back of my neck (and not in a good 'massage type' way).
8/16/07 The "Jawbone 'PRIME'". After waiting for month through backorders, I finally was able to find an available Jawbone 'Prime', Bluetooth® headset for sale locally. Yeaaa!!! My current Motorola H500 has been getting more frequent complaints on it's sound quality from my incoming callers. I have been anticipating what was purported to be a wireless, cell phone headset that "actually works". I had an acquaintance that owned one that I placed a call to before and it sounded great on my end, with no echo or background noise. Well, I now have mine connected to my LG, "Fusic" phone (which I really like for lots of reasons).
We did some tests with it prior to taking customer orders, and I have to wonder, "do the people who approve these headset designs, actually try them before they send them to production"??? Have we become so "cheap Chinese product oriented" that our only issue is, "how much money we can save on something" that we don't care if a product actually works or not? I think as a whole, the average consumer is of that mindset, so manufacturers are simply "following suit". They push the envelope to see what "low quality level" consumers will accept by continuing to vote with their spending dollars (or as few of their dollars as possible), but that's another rant. Sorry, I digress.
Yes, it does a good job for the other end or "incoming caller", but the sound to me is similar to the very early versions of Thomas Edisons', "Talking" machines, and I don't mean the later, much improved "Victrola's" from the late 1920's thru 1930's. Those would sound like "Race Car Grade" Hi-Fi compared to this. I dismissed that it was me, until I looked on line and saw multiple similar opinions. Well, that and the fact that I am 20+ year veteran audio retailer. It is so bad, that I am having to ask callers to repeat themselves many times. I am so disappointed. I will keep experimenting with it for a few days, but at this point it is pretty much "un-useable". Ugh!!!!
PS. As far as the distance it is able to operate from the phone, that is fine. With my LG "Fusic", it has no issue going 30-75 feet. I can walk all over my warehouse and into other rooms with no drops, just like with the Motorola HC820's and HC500's. I read a lot of reviews about folks "dogging" this one and others for fit. It isn't really fair to comment too harshly or positively on the "fit", as peoples ears can be shaped quite differently and one that feels terrible to one person, may feel like "there's nothing there" to another, so I wouldn't place a lot of stock in negative reviews about comfort, until you've worn one for a while. They are all likely going to feel foreign or uncomfortable at first. I do have to say the Jawbone does come with a good assortment of "fit" accessories for different ear shapes.
6/29/07 Just like the previous HC820's I've had, this on started to distort on it's internal speaker all the sudden. Distortion to the point that it is un-intelligible. Purchased a new H500 (6/29/07) with an exchange warranty and will rotate with my "old faithful" H500. Folks are already remarking on how the new H500 is muffled sounding and this one has the dreaded "echo" that callers had not experienced with my previous Motorola H500's.
6/13/07 Found my old Motorola H500, so returned the new one as it was not as good anyway. At the same time, a friend loaned me their Motorola HC820 as they thought it would sound better than my current one (my old H500). They said it did sound better.
6/10/07 Misplaced Motorola H500 and had to buy a new one. This one does not perform as well as my "lost" one. It also has a lot of static noise in the background for the caller.
1/6/07 Unbelievably, the Motorola H500 has not failed yet. Up to now, I have been lucky to get more than 2-3 weeks on any previous model, that even worked to a usable level in the first place. I did however slam my new Fusic phone in the tail gate of my truck last week. The LCD display did not fare well. Had to "buck-up" and buy a new one. Works just as well with the Motorola H500 as the previous one, as you would expect.
11/24/06 Surprisingly my Motorola H500 is still running. I don't think I have ever gotten a solid month out of a phone headset before. Still works well. A bit of a challenge to get the right turn-on sequence in the morning when taken off the charger, but still works. I'll keep you posted.
10/19/06 Purchased the Motorola H500 . Seems to have performance similar to the HC500, but does work better with the Fusic phone. Still has a very slight, but detectable delay when volume is up to the person calling in, but it has decent range (30-75 feet and little 'line of sight' issues), LOUD volume for me & charger connection is a more durable design.
10/17/06 Finally got rid of the, near worthless, LG-PM325 phone (battery is going) and replaced it with the new LG-550 "Fusic". All around, way easier to deal with phone. It does have a couple features that expand the Bluetooth® earpiece capabilities. It automatically beeps in the earpiece and connects outgoing calls. The PM325 would only beep for the first few months, then that feature quit (may have been an operator error, but I don't think so). It also relays back the volume level of the earpiece in the window of the phone. I does seem to have a bit more static in the signal with the HC820 and more susceptible to the proximity of the headset and phone to one another. Minimal issue. The echo is still there, of course as that's an issue with the headset and not the phone. On a side note, the LG-Fusic is loaded with "internet / web" options & features. You, theoretically can watch streaming video and movies on it. While I have done both, the connection when using these features comes and goes, and you usually have to restart whatever it is you are trying to watch a few times. After a bit of this, it gets too frustrating to use, and the payoff is not worth it. The content of most of the Sprint programming is overall, fairly lame. Similar to the proprietary "Airline" channels you can watch on the seat back monitors when flying. A marginal way to pass the time at best. It also usually chews through the battery fairly quick to utilize many of the web features. Still a way better phone than the LG-PM325. It does of course have the obligatory "Mega-mega-mega pixel" camera. It's amazing to me, how the general public buys into the whole "mega-pixel" hype. This new "Fusic" is 1.3 megapixels. Big deal. The lens is the size of a dull pencil point. Physics pretty much dictates that if you can't get the light through the lens in the first place, the quality of the picture is going to be drastically limited and of generally poor quality. Sure camera phones are fun and "handy" sometimes, but don't buy one based on having more "mega-pixels". Better off spend the money for the extra mega-pixels on a physics text book and a book on photography. Just my 2 cents!
My current Motorola HC820 Bluetooth® headset is still very difficult to turn on in the mornings after unplugging from it's charger. Takes 8 to 10 attempts usually.
9/13/06 Took many attempts to power-up this morning, but finally did. Will answer calls, but have to press the "call" button on this one 2-3 times to get it to pick up.
9/12/06 Found a Radio Shack across town with a couple 820's in stock. Got a replacement. This 820's "turn-on" sequence is intermittent and not as accurate / positive as most of my previous 820's. Took forever to get it to go into it's "find" mode. Finally got it to work.
9/12/06 HC850. Completely unusable today. Will see if Radio Shack has HC820's back in stock yet.
9/10/06 The HC850 has developed an issue with 1) cutting off calls and 2) not connecting calls without having it's "connection" button pressed 2-4 times. That's a problem as well, due to the half second delay before a headset connects. Thus you press the button 3 or 4 times, thinking that it's not connecting, but maybe it does on the 3rd press and when you press the 4th time it then has registered a connect and disconnect, back to back, thus connects the call and immediately terminates it as well. It also has started randomly beeping throughout the day. I've also noticed that it beeps sometimes when I move or lightly tap on the body of the unit. Must be an intermittent short inside.
6/06 HC820, number 4 or 5 has become distorted. Problem with the speaker element. Progressively worse over a couple days. Now not usable, and closest couple of Radio Shacks are currently out of stock. Will use a friends working Motorola HC850 Blue Tooth Headset. While I do like the way it turns on and off better than the HC-820, it doesn't fit my ear as well (personal preference only and nothing to do with overall quality of product).
Wondering where the "tone" you remember went?....
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3/17/06 Going back to using the HC-820 for now as I just got a replacement from Radio Shack. This HC820 is a bit "quirky" in the way it operates from the others I've had. It doesn't beep when I make a call to tell me that I can transfer over to the earpiece. A bit annoying, but what isn't so far about these things.
3/14/06 The NEW H700 does not seem to have the echo issue, however it has almost ZERO range. I have to hold the phone near the earpiece at the side of my head for it to transmit / receive. If I use the phone on my belt and happen to "block" it's line-of-sight to the H700 earpiece with my arm, the reception gets choppy with lots of static, similar to the performance of the Plantronics™ "Explorer 320". Having to hold the phone up to the side of my head sort of defeats the purpose of the wireless headset, I suppose.
3/13/06 Just purchased the NEW Motorola H700 with "new echo and noise reduction technology". Does "echo reduction technology" mean "hey, we fixed it"? It's charging right now. I'll let you know how it works out over the next few days.
12/16/05 Purchased the Plantronics™ "Explorer 320" Bluetooth® headset. Not going to be wanting to do a lot of exploring or anything else with this unit. While I have used many of the Plantronics™ "wired" headsets with good results, the 320 does not fare as well. This particular unit has excessive (ie, too much to be of use) static / crackling in the earpiece. Couldn't really tell much about the echo issue, as the static was too strong. Interestingly my next door neighbor in my business complex bought one as well and said the same thing. The static / crackling was too strong to use. Suppose it could be something in the vicinity causing it, but unsure. Haven't noticed it on any of the others.
8/24/05 Just purchased the Jabra BT-250v. Trying out today. Will let you know my results. It's not as light weight as the Motorola, nor as comfortable to me. It comes with a "cradle" that must be used with the charger to charge the unit. In reading the manual, it says to first unplug the headset charging cradle from the power adaptor, before removing the headset, or it may put the unit into "Pairing" mode. Looks like the cradle is meant to snap into a belt clip so you can carry the headset around in it. Not sure I would use it that way. Just wish the headset had the charger jack built directly into it.
Ok, have been trying to answer or place calls on it for about 45 minutes now. Got it to ring into the headset once and very briefly take a call, before it died. Could not get anything but power after that. I did check the connection with the phone / headset and upon trying twice, it could not connect. I unpaired them, then re-paired the two and it could then establish a connection, but still could not place or receive calls. Went to the Jabra website to verify compatibility, and they show my LG PM-325 phone being compatible with a Jabra BT-250. I have a BT-250v. I don't know if they are similar or if the "v" is a later model, or if it is a typo on the Jabra website. If the "v" is different, concerning the "Bluetooth® " aspects, I don't know if that affects compatibility with my LG phone or not. The manual says to "reset" the headset. I tried that and now have been able to receive and place calls. Both callers said there was echo, seemingly just as prevalent as with the Motorola HC-820. The sound is also distorted and digitized some for both the callers and myself. The phone is usually less than 2 feet away when I am doing these tests. If I hold the phone within a couple inches of the headset, the distortion seems to go away. To be fair, there are two wireless computer networks in the immediate vicinity. I don't know if they are having any effect on the situation or not.
The Jabra has also "lost" it's ability to connect throughout the day. It will ring in the ear piece (and vibrate like "nobodies business" (great for noisier environments), but when I answer the phone using the head set answer button, the phone earpiece and mic is working, but not the headset. I'll try it a few more times, but it will likely be going back. Glad I'm purchasing these locally, instead of from a "web" dealer. If I weren't, this would be even more nightmarish. I'm starting to think that maybe Bluetooth® use on wireless headsets, is a "Half-baked" technology, that should go back into the oven for a while, till the products are ready to actually work.
For now, I am back to using the Motorola HC-820. It's not perfect, drops calls, cut's off some calls when trying to answer them and has the echo issue, but I guess will work till something else comes along:-(
8/22/05 I also just purchased a Plantronics™ M2500 Bluetooth® headset. I tried it with my son calling on both a cordless phone and a wired phone and my web master on a wired phone. They both said while they didn't hear an echo / delay, it was very distorted / choppy. If the phone was on my belt and I bent my arm, thus blocking the line of site from the phone on my belt to the earpiece, it would cutout. This particular unit was not useable. I have heard that a system from Jabra is out and does not have the echo / delay problem. I have not tried it yet, but likely will. More info to come as it becomes available.
Motorola HC-850 Bluetooth® Headset for her business. Both headsets experience the delay / echo problem. The problem manifests itself to the person calling in. They hear an echo of their voice, that seems to be about 200 msec in duration. It is very annoying to the person on the other end. Almost every customer that calls comments on it and wants to hang up and call back to get a better connection (that won't help). A friend say's it's so annoying when she calls me that she wants me to call back without using the headset. The only way I've found around it is to reduce the headset volume. With my knowledge of acoustics / amplification, this leads me to believe it might be a "feedback" problem. If it is, it's either completely mechanical in that it is transferring the vibrations of their voice through the housing of the headset or it's acoustic due to the close proximity of the speaker and microphone with each other. I'm not sure though how that much delay could be prevalent in such as short distance. I could see 20-50 msec, but unsure how it reaches almost a quarter second. Regardless, turning the volume down a few "notches" will reduce it. The problem with that is that unless you are in a very quiet environment, you may not be able to hear the caller. I called the Motorola customer support (sounded like it was likely in India, one of my "pet peeves". This is likely mostly due to consumers wanting goods and services as cheaply as possible, with little regard to 'product quality / longevity' and manufactures following suit, but that's another issue altogether) and the person there said is was not a "known issue". While talking with her on the phone, I did a web search and found numerous other people with the same problem. I find it hard to believe that it's not a "known issue".
Here are, also a couple of other issues I have found with the Motorola. It's ability to answer a second call / "toggle" between 2 is "hit-n-miss" at best. I don't know if it's a shortcoming of the headset, the quality of the original Bluetooth® pairing, or operator error. I have read the manual a few times and believe I am operating it correctly, but it's still hit and miss. That in itself is a "deal breaker" as far as using it for my business. I can use the "Talk" button on the phone itself, but I am sometimes not near it. There's also a minor issue in that it has a flashing, blue LED on the side that indicates it's status. While it does look "cool", it's a very bright LED. Not a problem in a lit room or the daytime, but if you're driving with it, any passengers will likely rip it off your ear and toss it out the window. It's about as bright as an LED flashlight shining directly at them. It's also reflects off the glass / window and can almost appear as "lightening flashes" in a dark room. This is a minor issue that I could live with if it weren't for the other issues.
8/05 With my business I "live" on my cell phone, using it to take orders all day. A headset is a must. For the past 2-3 years, I have been using a Samsung SPH-460 with a wired Plantronics™ MX-150 headset. While the performance of the MX-150 is exceptional, meaning that the sound for my customers was as good as a "land line" and it could achieve the volume levels sufficient for me to hear in noisier environments, the wire was always an issue. I would either snag it on things or the phone would fall from my belt and jerk the wire from my ear. Initially, before I learned to loop the wire around a strap on the cable to relieve the strain on my cell phone jack, I was breaking the headphone jacks on the cell phone at an impractical rate. I ultimately went through 5 phones, including disassembling the phones along the way and repairing the jacks multiple times. I was also only getting about 2 weeks out of the Plantronics™ MX-150 headsets. The general problem, I am convinced, is that the speaker cannot handle the volume that the phone is capable of producing from it's internal amplifier (I had purchased an "over the counter" warranty plan on about the 5th or 6th one, so the every 2 week exchange didn't cost me anything but the time / hassle factor). Plantronics™ packaging actually removed the Sprint 460 from it's list of phones that the MX-150 was compatible with. I am sure they discovered the same issue I did. I finally broke my last SPH-460 a few weeks ago.
I had already been anxiously awaiting the arrival of a Blue Tooth phone from Sprint for about a year. A few months ago they came out with the LG-PM325. I looked at this phone, and felt sure that they would be coming out with a replacement, or additional Bluetooth® ready phones soon (besides the handheld computer / phones such as the Trio 650). It was / is a terrible design. It's a "slider" not "Clam Shell" design that virtually every other phone uses. This has a number of drawbacks, most that I could already see and was aware of. After a few months of being without a headset on my Samsung 460 (difficult to hold the "thin" clam shells between your head / ear and shoulder while writing), I finally had to "break down" and buy the LG-PM-325. I knew I was going to hate it as I was handing the salesperson my credit card for the purchase. I was right. I knew the "slider" design would be a hassle when it came to using the phone in a case, and sure enough you have to release a snap strap on the bottom of the case every time you want to slide the phone open (I know you don't have to slide it open just to use some of the operations). I bought a "refurbished" one that had been returned from the previous consumer that complained that the buttons were too small. They are. It is very difficult, especially when the phone is in it's case with the clear plastic membrane / window over the keys, to dial the correct number. Sometimes it will take 2-4 attempts to hit the correct numbers. The worst thing is that since the buttons are exposed, they are accidentally hit all the time! While wearing it on it's belt clip, I have accidentally cut off customer order conversations many times by walking too close to items around the warehouse and elsewhere, which in-turn "bumps" the buttons. When in the car, the seatbelt pushes on the buttons. Otherwise I suppose the phone works fine and does what it should, but the above issues make me despise this phone. I didn't want the LG-PM-325 so much, that I almost switched to Verizon, or another cell service, as they had much better designed phones that were Bluetooth® ready. As soon as Sprint comes out with any other "clam shell" design phone, I will get rid of this one. I hope it's tomorrow!
Anyway you want to know about the delay / echo issue with the Blue Tooth headsets. With the LG-PM-325, I also purchased a
Motorola HC-820 Blue tooth® headset. An associate did go with Verizon and purchased the Motorola 815 phone and a
This is simply what I have found after personally using a variety of Bluetooth® Cell Phones / Headset / 'Hands-Free' systems. I wear 'hands free', Bluetooth® headsets every day, from about 8 AM to about 6PM, and conduct 95%+ of our business on one. Average 12-20 calls per day, each of which can range from 20 or 30 seconds, up to an hour and a half, with the average probably being 12-20 minutes. That has been the case since about 2003 or so. In that time, In have owned many Bluetooth® headsets, including multiples of many models. I have experienced equipment life spans of almost a year down to only a few days. There are differences between most of them, some minor, some drastic. Below are my 'unscientific' but, 'real world' findings;
The information contained here is
simply my personal findings and is not intended for anyone / or any entity to
use to make any decisions based on, either to purchase or not to purchase. You
should do your own research and experimentation. It is
strictly for entertainment value. Please do not email any responses or call with
any information related to it. It is also likely to change as new / additional
information comes to light, or I change my mind or opinion. So There!
Wondering where the "tone" you remember went?....
.... Surround yourself with Silver and find it again!
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