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