Choosing A Bluetooth Headset

Alison Young
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December 27, 2006
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I remember years ago I was one of the first people around to own a Bluetooth capable phone along with a Bluetooth headset. People used to think I was crazy since it looked like I was talking to myself. There was no wire coming out of my ear, and I had my hair covering the headset so you couldn’t see it. Furthermore, when I would talk about Bluetooth, most people didn’t know what I was yappin’ about. The funniest one was a woman who thought I was referring to a dolphin.

These days everyone knows what Bluetooth is, and lately I’ve been receiving many questions from my friends about what Bluetooth headset they should buy for their phone. As silly as it sounds, the first step is to make sure your phone is Bluetooth capable. I’ve received trouble calls from people trying to set up a Bluetooth headset, and it turns out their phones are not even Bluetooth capable. So, don’t just assume you can use a Bluetooth headset with any phone - the phone needs to be Bluetooth capable as well. These days it’s almost the norm with phones, but just check to be absolutely sure.

There are so many Bluetooth headsets to choose from, but you need to choose what works best for you. There seem to be two main types: the ones held up with a loop going around your ear, and those that have to be jammed into your ear. Ideally you’d wear it all the time comfortably while you’re expecting to receive and make calls.

With this in mind,here are a few of my top picks:

Aliph Jawbone Bluetooth Headset. Literally just announced from Cingular Wireless as I was writing this story, this is the latest on the market. Jawbone is the first adaptive Bluetooth headset with Noise Shield technology, which eliminates background noise so your calls are clearer. You don’t have to worry about ambient noise since this noise-canceling system continuously adapts to your changing environment.

This Noise Shield technology was originally developed for Aliph for DARPA (The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), a research and development organization for the Department of Defense. It was created to enhance communications in the most hostile and rugged environments in mind. The headset’s built-in sensors and software continuously adjust at 500 times per second to identify and isolate your speech, subtract the unwanted noise and automatically enhance the audio with frequency boosting.

The Jawbone comes completely charged out of the packaging, and will last you six hours of talk-time or 120 hours of standby time on a full charge. Since it requires no batteries, it’s a very lightweight - 14 grams - and is comfortable to wear on your ear with its soft and smooth underside. It comes with earloops in four different shapes and sizes to ensure customized fit and maximized stability on either ear.

It will cost you $120 and comes in silver, black and red, and is currently exclusively available at your nearest Cingular Wireless store (silver only). All colors will soon be available in early January on (see the instructions on the website for the pre-order requests - its offering free shipping). The Jawbone made my jawbone drop, so I’m waiting for the red one. To see a video demonstration, click the “Meet” link on Jawbone’s website.

Jabra JX10. I was so happy with my Jabra headset “way back then,” but the contacts on the charger broke, and it was the end of it. The Jabra JX10 would be my second choice to the Jawbone, and it would have been a good replacement for my previous

Jabra. As with the Jawbone, it’s completely rechargeable, so it’s not bulky

(10 grams).

Some features include a one-touch pairing button, automatic volume control, voice dialing, call waiting, last number re-dial, and optional charging from your computer via USB (comes with a desktop charging cradle). It will give you six hours of talk time or 200 hours of standby.

You can find the Jabra JX10 in silver at your closest Best Buy ( or CompUSA ( for $179.

Motorola H700. This is what my husband is using now. He just “had” to buy it after we bought our his and hers Sony Ericsson W810i Walkman phones (about which I wrote a month ago). He loves this thing so much that he wears it around the house and outside in the yard without even realizing it.

The H700 is Motorola’s lightest headset to date. It has easy on/off feature, as you just flip open the microphone for calls, and fold it back in when you’re done. You can mute calls right from the headset. The talk and standby times are the same as the JX10 - six hours talk and 200 hours standby. It’s completely rechargeable and comes with a travel charger as well. There is also a built-in chipset with echo and noise cancellation software. I’m not sure how the noise cancellation compares to the Jawbone, but the hubby seems to be happy with the H700.

The Motorola H700 is the least expensive of these three headsets, available for $100 at your nearest CompUSA (, Best Buy ( or Motorola (

Whichever you choose, keep in mind that although Bluetooth headsets are a bit more pricey than a regular plug-in headset, they can be used to connect to other Bluetooth devices, such as your computer for a virtual conference. I think it’s definitely a good investment, and you don’t have to worry about wrestling with a pesky cord with your 30-foot Bluetooth range.

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