I just bought my fourth different bluetooth headset for the various cell and smartphones laying around my desk. After a couple of mistakes, I thought I’d write some feedback on the good, the bad and the ugly. I’ll focus on mono, cell phone type headsets.
This was the first bluetooth headset I bought. I got one to use with my Motorola V710 (perhaps the worst cell phone I’ve ever laid my hands on). Fortunately, the HS850 was much better than the handset. My first one is still in use despite developing a crack at the base of the earclip and boom hinge. I guess a couple of years of opening and closing the boom and operating the ear clip was too much for the build quality but it still works and fits fine. I recently bought a second one when I was disappointed with the HS700 I bought for my V3 RAZR. I used the original HS850 with my Treo 700P right up until last month when the Treo was taken out of service for the BlackBerry 8830 WE. I’m sure I could pair it right up with something else and it’ll work just fine.
Smaller and lighter than the HS850, I expected better performance and was really disappointed. I bought it for my new (at the time) V3 RAZR and it only lasted about 6 months. Poor battery performance and marginal transmitting quality doomed it to the garbage heap. I replaced it with an HS850 and am much happier with that.
RIM Blackberry rebranded the Plantronics Discovery 655. The nice features of this headset include a pen-type holder than can recharge the headset in the Blackberry Charging Station Dock as well as the capability to auto-answer calls when you take the headset out of the pen-type holder. The downside of this headset is that the transmission quality was the poorest I’ve ever experienced. The HS655 is relatively expensive but my voice was so garbled, the voice dialing on the BB 8830 WE didn’t work and callers told me they really couldn’t hear what I was saying. I was very disappointed with overall performance and now it sits in the Charging Station blinking uselessly. I can’t recommend it to anyone.
Plantronics Voyager 815
This headset is the real deal. Excellent audio both coming and going. I like the ear bud style as opposed to the ear clip but Plantronics provides an ear clip for those who prefer that. It also has an extending boom which is intended to move the mic closer to your mouth as well as providing an alternate method of answering and terminating calls. I don’t use the boom yet because it’s a little tough to grasp for my fat little fingers when a call comes in. There’s no discernible increase in transmission quality when the boom is extended. That could be because I speak fairly loud. It’s an expensive headset but works quite well with my BB 8830 WE. The performance of the Voice Dialing feature on the BB is significantly better than with the RIM HS650. I wish the BB would support redial but that’s an issue with BB and not the Plantronics unit. The 815 also features multi-point usage which means you can use it with multiple devices such as two cell phones. Nice. The charging receptacle on the 815 looks a lot like a USB mini-B connector but it is not. I’ve got a ton of USB mini-B wall, car and USB chargers around the office and house but they won’t fit in the 815. -1 for that ‘feature.’
If you want inexpensive, I recommend the Motorola HS850. If you’ve got an expense account or a little extra cash, you won’t be disappointed with the Plantronics Voyager 815.