Bluetooth headsets

They’re stylish and useful — but not entirely hassle-free.
 
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  • Updated:4 Jul 2007
 

02.Results

What to buy

  • Plantronics Voyager 510 - $99
  • Plantronics Explorer 340 - $79
  • Sony Ericsson HBH-PV705 - $85
  • Sony Ericsson HBH-610a - $99 

The Voyager 510 scored highest for both ease of use and performance. It received the best score for overall comfort, and microphone sensitivity - producing natural voice tones. However, its battery life was highly variable.

The rest

We tested the features of the headsets using two recent-model mobile phones — a Nokia 6280 and a Sony Ericsson W810i.

  • All models paired with both phones readily. We were able to use the volume control on the earpiece to adjust the sound to a comfortable level. We didn’t have any problems answering calls, but rejecting calls, redialling and voice dialling caused problems for some headsets. The Nokia BH-202 and Plantronics Explorer 340 couldn’t reject calls when paired with either phone. The Sony Ericsson HBH-PV700 and Sony Ericsson HBH-PV705 don’t have a redial function.
  • If your phone and headset support voice dialling you can press a button on the headset, speak a pre-arranged name for your contact and the mobile will call the number. Both phones support voice-dial, but not all the headsets could initiate voice dialling on both phones. The Nokia BH-200 couldn’t initiate voice dialling when paired with either phone. You may also come across other functions such as microphone mute and call holding but we didn’t examine these features.
  • The Plantronics Voyager 510, Plantronics Explorer 340, Nokia BH-202 and both Motorola units showed inconsistencies, with battery life varying in some cases by up to five hours between subsequent tests. Despite additional testing, we aren’t sure of the cause of these differences and we didn’t include these results in the overall score.
 

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Results table

 

  Results
Brand/model (in rank order) Price ($) Overall (%) Ease of use (%) Performance (%)
Plantronics Voyager 510
www.plantronics.com.au
99 90 86 96
Plantronics Explorer 340
www.plantronics.com.au
79 85 86 84
Sony Ericsson HBH-PV705
www.sonyericsson.com.au
85 84 77 94
Sony Ericsson HBH-610a
www.sonyericsson.com.au
99 83 79 89
Sony Ericsson HBH-PV700
www.sonyericsson.com.au
69 81 74 91
Motorola H350
www.motorola.com.au
99 80 84 74
Motorola H500
www.motorola.com.au
89 80 85 73
Nokia BH-202
www.nokia.com.au
94 78 76 80
Jabra BT125
www.jabra.com
49 77 74 82
Nokia BH-200
www.nokia.com.au
69 75 81 67
Nokia HS-26W
www.nokia.com.au
60 72 73 71
BlueAnt T8 micro
www.blueant.com.au
69 69 73 64
 

 

  Specifications
Brand/model (in rank order) Battery life (h) Volume increments Dimensions (HxWxD, mm) Attachment type Mic Weight (g) Warranty (months) Bluetooth version
Plantronics Voyager 510
www.plantronics.com.au
6 7 76 x 41 x 12 Earbud & earloop Flexible boom 18 12 1.2
Plantronics Explorer 340
www.plantronics.com.au
10 7 66 x 21 x 25 Earloop Earpiece 16 12 2
Sony Ericsson HBH-PV705
www.sonyericsson.com.au
12 8 60 x 12 x 21 Earloop Earpiece 15 12 1.2
Sony Ericsson HBH-610a
www.sonyericsson.com.au
6.5 8 76 x 17 x 23 Earloop Partial boom 20 12 2
Sony Ericsson HBH-PV700
www.sonyericsson.com.au
5 8 77 x 21 x 23 Earloop Earpiece 20 12 1.2
Motorola H350
www.motorola.com.au
10 7 58 x 28 x 13 Earloop Earpiece 19 12 2
Motorola H500
www.motorola.com.au
8 7 58 x 22 x 18 Earloop Earpiece 18 12 1.2
Nokia BH-202
www.nokia.com.au
10 8 62 x 23 x 20 Earhook Earpiece 17 6 2
Jabra BT125
www.jabra.com
8 7 50 x 23 x 19 Earloop Earpiece 13 12 2
Nokia BH-200
www.nokia.com.au
5.5 9 52 x 22 x 19 Earhook Earpiece 15 6 2
Nokia HS-26W
www.nokia.com.au
5 9 69 x 22 x 18 Earhook Earpiece 23 6 2
BlueAnt T8 micro
www.blueant.com.au
9 14 51 x 27 x 27 Earbud & earloop Earpiece 17 24 2
 

Table notes

Price: paid in February 2007.

Ease of use: (60%)

  • How easy it is to attach the headset to the ear
  • The comfort of the headset during an hour of continuous use
  • The perceived audio quality and the ease of changing the volume.

Performance: (40%)

  • Technical scores for earpiece frequency response and microphone sensitivity.

Specifications:

  • Battery life
  • Talk time in hours as claimed by the manufacturer
  • Volume increments that can be selected on the headset
  • Dimensions of the earpiece, not including boom
  • Attachment type - how the headset fits to the ear
  • Mic - whether the microphone boom is located within the earpiece or as a separate element
  • Weight in grams
  • Warranty in months
  • Bluetooth version supported