Sunday, December 07, 2008

Cry for help

Not me per se - I'm cool right now.  My cry is for a Bluetooth headset that doesn't suck in any way at all.  I've tried damn near all of them, really I have.  Here's the (short) list of features I want:

- Reasonably lightweight.  It doesn't have to be so small people mistake it for a vitamin tablet.  Just light enough so it doesn't hurt my ear.

- No need to stick in my ear.  My ears don't hold devices that well, anyways (I can't use iPod earbuds - they slip right out).  Give me a decent ear loop and I'll be fine.

- The ear loop should be small, but solid, and have enough play so I can actually wrap it properly around my ear.  And I need to wear sunglasses with it.

- Gimmick-free noise cancellation.  No weird probes in contact with my flesh.

- Good volume and easy adjustment.

- Battery life giving me at least 6 hours of talk time.  Standby doesn't matter as much - I plug it in every night.

- Either no blinking light, or one that's off by default.  It's bad enough I wear a headset all day.  I don't want to look like a cyborg when I do so.

- Range good enough that I can leave the phone in my pocket and not worry about static.

- Tough enough to toss in my jacket pocket or backpack without breaking it.

- Buttons that don't accidentally turn it on if I breathe heavy when I have it in my coat.

- A solid enough fit that I can put the thing on and use it without worrying that it's going to go flying off my face as soon as I turn my head.

Virtually all the ones I've tried flunk in some way or another.  I'm still using them anyways, but it's a huge pain in the neck.  Here's the current state of what I have:

- Jawbone 2: Sound is good, battery life is good, but it always feels like it's going to fall off.  And I have to use the old earpiece from the Jawbone 1 to hold it even half-securely.  Plus the little contact is always coming loose from my face.

- BlueAnt Z9i: Good performance, horrible earhooks.  The original Z9 fit somewhat better for some reason.

- BlueAnt V1: See above.  I was able to get an old earhook from a headset I used back in the Stone Age to fit into it and that helped a little, but the fit is still horrid.

- Motorola H15: I'm sending this one back.  Great promise, mediocre fit, horrible connections.  Maybe I just got a dud, but people were hanging up on me when I used it.

- Plantronics 520: Not horrible.  Blinks like a Cylon, looks a little too conspicuous, and I had to hack up the earpiece so it wouldn't cause pain.  But it fits OK now, the sound is pretty good, and the battery will last about a month.  I can leave it in my car for weeks and keep using it when I need to.

We've already established (through about 8 years of posts) that I am a Bluetooth Whore of the worst sort.  But I'm really kind of surprised that the market just hasn't built one that's a no-brainer for me yet.  Meanwhile, I'm struggling to get as close as I can to the right headset - so I keep buying them and keep rotating them in and out of my collection.  I've also given away a few over the years.

What I find myself doing of late is using the built-in Bluetooth in my car more and more, and leaving a headset in my pocket (the 520, usually) for the rest of the time.

Someday...

(It's been a nice last month since I posted - I'll write about it sometime this week or so)
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