There are a ton of Bluetooth headsets on the market today, and because I prefer talking hands-free, I’ve tried a lot of them. But as a Bluetooth enthusiast (yes, we exist), I’ve been continually frustrated. That’s because all the headsets I’ve tried thus far have missed the mark, especially when paired with an iPhone, delivering callers’ voices as muddy and hard to decipher, or making me sound like I live under the sea (I don’t).
Voyager Legend UC Bluetooth Headset by Plantronics Category: iOS and Mac Accessories Works With: iPhone, iPod, iPad, Mac Price: $200
So when I got my hands on the Plantronics Voyager Legend UC, with its promises of excellent audio, call routing touch technology, and the ability to work on both my Mac and iOS device, I was dubious. Not anymore. This little Legend hasn’t just proved my first impressions wrong, I’m now convinced it’s the best Bluetooth headset I’ve ever used.
Like the Plantronics Voyager Legend we reviewed a few months ago, Jabra’s new folding-boom Motion series incorporates motion sensors — so they can do things like automatically answer calls when you place the headset to your ear, and even automatically adjust the volume.
This isn’t the smallest headset. In fact, Motorola’s Elite Sliver Bluetooth Headset ($130) is actually bulkier than many other personal BT headsets. Its trick, though, is to hide most of the bulk behind the user’s ear, leaving just a sliver — hence the name — of technology visbile.
But the Sliver isn’t just a one-trick pony; its case also doubles as a battery that will top off the Sliver when the headset is housed in the case (which actually does triple duty as a charger).
A long time ago, before this site was born, we reviewed the Altec Lansing BackBeat 906 Bluetooth headphones, and liked ‘em. Plantronics had their own identical version of the 906, as they had owned Plantronics since 2005 (the two companies parted ways about the time the 906 was released).
The Plantronics BackBeat Go ($100) is an evolution of the 906. Same principle — wireless (meaning there’s no wire conecting the player with the headset) music and calls in a compact form via the magic of Bluetooth — but in an even smaller and more svelte form factor. Should be even more fantstic, right? Let’s take a look.
If you’re ready to make the leap to hands-free talking, or are looking to upgrade from an older bluetooth headset, the Plantronics Voyager Pro+ ($99) is one of the best headsets on the market and is worthy of your dollars. But beware, its voluminous size may leave some sheepish, wishing for a more discreet unit.
Many headsets promise a headset utopia, making smartphone users’ heads fill with visions of commanding their world with a simple voice command.
The Plantronics Marque M155 ($60) and the Motorola HX550 ($60) both make similar promises, with the HX550’s packaging going as far as to promise a “complete hands-free solution.” Both headsets offer liberation from holding the phone, but how do these midrange ‘sets match up to the marketing promises — or the abilities of their more expensive siblings?
Jabra isn’t an organization afraid of veering off the main road; it seems to use many of its high-end Bluetooth gadgets as design and technology showpieces — sometimes with unfortunate results (the Stone sacrifced performance for a radically shaped body, and the Halo headphones were all kinds of awful).
But when Jabra isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, it’s actually able to give us stuff that’s pretty darn good. The outfit’s newest creation is the high-end Jabra Supreme ($100), the first monoaural Bluetooth headset to offer active noise-cancelling technology in its earpiece, along with all the other goodies usually stuffed into a primo ‘set. So Jabra’s definitely gone the showcase route with the Supreme — but this time, the headset is also an outstanding performer.
Carbon weave has got to be the Miracle Whip of gadgets — it makes anything taste better. We reviewed Sound ID’s 510 Bluetooth headset in a BT headset head-to-head (try saying that fast) a few months back; and while it sounded great and was pretty much our pick of the week, it wasn’t the coolest looking kid on the block — and you couldn’t order it to do stuff, like you could some other headsets. Sound ID’s new Six fixes all that, and adds a trick for Siri too.
The JayBird Freedom JF3 ($99) Bluetooth wireless headphones are a successful attempt to build upon a paramount technological concept: take something good and make it great — or in this case, take a good pair of IEM headphones and ditch the cord. It’s like a musical bris without the rabbi — or the baby.