Ten of the Best... Bluetooth Stereo Headphones
Round-up The first Bluetooth headsets were simple mono devices, however as handsets developed into advanced accessories that can play music and video, so headsets have started to develop too.
The first step was to add stereo capabilities using a technology known as A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile). And, of course, the headsets needed to gain a second earpiece in order to accommodate stereo output. This led to a number of different approaches to the design of stereo headsets. Some manufacturers simply put two identical earpieces into the box – which leaves you walking around with two silly-looking bits of plastic dangling out of your ears - stand up Etymotic and iSkin.
Other manufacturers, such as Nokia and Plantronics, have focused more on the music side of things, producing traditional headphone designs. Recently, though, there’s been a third-wave of stereo headsets that attempt to combine technology with fashion, such as the ‘dog tag’ design of the Jabra BT3030.
One word of warning: always buy headphones or headsets that use Bluetooth 2.0, as this provides higher bandwidth and audio quality than the original Bluetooth 1.x, even though A2DP will work over it.
Creative CB8100 Wireless Headphones
The CB8100 headphones are designed purely for listening to music, so there’s no microphone that will allow you to take calls on your mobile. However, the 'phones do include a separate Bluetooth adaptor that allows you to add Bluetooth capabilities to a device, such as an iPod, that may not have it already built-in. The audio quality is a little muffled – perhaps because the CB8100 is using the older Bluetooth 1.2 standard, which has more limited bandwidth. However, the only real problem is the price, which, at £159, makes this far and away the most expensive set of headphones in this group.
Available from Creative
Reg Rating 70%
Etymotic Research Ety8
They’re expensive, and we’re not wild about the design, but we can’t fault the audio quality of the Ety8s. The design lacks elegance: two large rectangular lozenges, each almost the size of an iPod Shuffle, dangling out of your ears connected by a piece of string - which you’ll need, as the weight of the earpieces means that they fall out fairly easily. However, the audio quality is very good – clear and distinct, and you don’t feel you’re compromising on quality in order to get the convenience of a wireless connection. There’s also an ‘8-mate’ Bluetooth adaptor included, specifically for use with iPods.
Available from Amazon
Reg Rating 80%
Next page: Gear4 BluPhones
Can someone please explain to me..
Can someone please explain to me the point of the bluetooth headsets that have wires?
Forgive my simplistic views but a Bluetooth headset, when compared to just a pair of headphones, have the disadvantage of requiring power, the added weight that power requires, and potentially poorer sound quality for the price (e.g. my £20 Senheisser PX100's sound better than my £21 Jabra BT260s). The ONE advantage is the absence of wires.
So, the ones WITH wires have all the disadvantages of bluetooth headphones whilst forgoing the one advantage. If someone can explain, please do.
Incidentally, whilst a bit big and Ugly, the Jabra BT260s, at £21 incl delivery from play.com, sound just as good as the s9's and a lot better AND louder than the Nokias and also come with one of those iPod thingies - handy if you happen to be one of Steve Jobs' soulless minions. The battery also lasts nearly 10 hours - a lot better than most and a major consideration for bluetooth headsets that this group-test seems to have ignored.
HP with active noise cancellation; Philips hi-fi
As I feared, this list omits a new contender: Hewlett Packard's GW470AA, a stereo BlueTooth 2.0 headphone with active noise cancellation. I just bought a pair. I can't vouch for the BlueTooth sound quality, for I can't get it to work with my HTC 6800 (Verizon XV6800). But wired, it sounds decent. Haven't yet tried the noise reduction. I bought it in the U.S. for a bit over $100 shipped.
The best-sounding of all may be Philips' new top-end entry, the SHB9000. It was promised for the Spring 2008 and is available in Europe. But in America, it's nowhere to be found.
Wires ? No thanks
For me the whole point of using Bluetooth is for those times when the wires get in the way and a dongle round the neck negates this. Most phones/mp3 players are small/light enough that they can be worn round the neck with wired phones that are usually better quality and cheaper. I want true wires free while Im working so that Im not constantly catching a wire and pulling an earpiece out.
@Headset with wires
If you plan to do Kata or other exercise routines while listening to something that doesn't fit in your pocket it does have some logic to it.
Kinda like why have an adaptor to plug your mp3 player into your car stereo when you could get an in-car mp3 player.
I have the jabra 3030. Sound quality is excellent, though it could use a bit more volume (that could be the phone I was listening to the music from, though).
One other great feature that wasn't mentioned in the review. It supports two Bluetooth devices concurrently. Listen to music on one device, and if a call comes in on the other, it interrupts your listening to take the call. Excellent feature.