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Treo Wireless Bluetooth Headset Review

Hot on the heels of my post on Treo Bluetooth headsets yesterday I coincidentally received a wonderful surprise today - palmOne's new but as yet unreleased 'Treo Wireless BT Headset' [in store now!].

I have to admit that I am rapidly changing my tune and warming to the idea of using a Bluetooth headset on a regular basis after testing this latest model.

I really like the Treo Wireless Headset because it's small and light ([Corrected, not 27gm] only 17 grams/0.59 ounces), it has great inbound and outbound call quality with volume controls on the unit, it shares the same design looks as my Treo 650 (two-tone greys), you can easily and quickly fit it over your ear with one hand, the earphone does not go into your ear and thus doesn't pick up ear wax, it boasts a terrific 7 hours talk-time and 170 hours (1 week) standby time and lastly it can be recharged using the standard Treo 650 wall charger thus reducing the need to carry a separate one when travelling.

I tested the Treo Wireless Headset in a number of ways: calling people, receiving calls, placing a call to my office voice mailbox to hear the audio quality and moving away from my Treo 650 to determine operating range.  In the first three instances I can say that everything worked without a glitch and everyone told me that they could hear me loud and clear (I did not test it in outdoor conditions yet though).  As with all other BT headsets that I tested, the operating range is limited to a few feet (10 in this case) and more often than not you'll be better off having your Treo 650 within 4 or 5 feet.

The Treo Wireless Headset benefits from certain 'enhanced features' listed below and although I initially had some difficulties using the 'redial last number' function in the end they all worked perfectly.

  • Redial the last number: While the headset is in standby mode, press and hold the multifunction button for 2 seconds until you hear a series of two tones. Press the button again to dial the number displayed on the phone.
  • Reject an incoming call: When your phone rings, press and hold the multifunction button for 2 seconds until you hear a series of two tones.
  • Take a second incoming call (call waiting): When you are on a call and your phone notifies you of an incoming call, press and hold the multifunction button for 2 seconds until you hear a series of two tones.
  • Put a call on hold: While you’re on a call, press and hold the multifunction button for 2 seconds until you hear a series of two tones. Repeat to retrieve the call.

I found the Treo Wireless Headset design to be very elegant and to nicely complement my Treo 650.  The headset can be easily worn on either the right or left ear by rotating the ear grip and all control buttons (main multifunction and volume) are very easy to use.

The Treo Wireless Headset is extremely easy to fit and very comfortable to use over extended periods of time - particularly as the earphone does not go into your ear but gently hovers near it.  Also, the fact that I can use my existing Treo 650 charger is without a doubt an extremely smart and welcome feature.

I had not anticipated that I would so quickly and overwhelmingly warm to this new headset and I have no doubt that both my previously tested Jabra BT 250 and iTech BT Buzzer Clip will now gather dust as I begin to use the Treo Wireless Headset on a daily basis.

palmOne has not yet released this headset and there is therefore as yet no pricing information.  However, I anticipate that the headset will be available to purchase within the next couple of weeks as a specification page is already up on palmOne's website.

UPDATE: Also, I have now been able to test the headset outdoors and earlier today held a 20 minutes conversation while walking by an extremely noisy main street.  When asked if he could hear me clearly, the caller told me that he could obviously tell that I was in a noisy environment but that otherwise he had absolutely no problem hearing me on the line.  That was the last bit of confirmation that I needed.

UPDATE 2: I can now confirm that I have tested the Treo Wireless Headset under heavy wind conditions and that I was still able to hold a perfectly intelligible two-way conversation - meaning that we could both hear each other clearly even with the wind and surrounding noise at my end.

UPDATE 3: Treo Wireless Headset now available to buy in your Treonauts Store for only $49.95!

Treonauts are discovering the joys of Bluetooth...


Posted by Andrew on March 10, 2005 at 08:31 AM

Treo Accessories , Treo Bluetooth Headset

| Permalink


Comments

1
by Scott | Mar 10, 2005 11:06:16 AM

How does it fit if you're wearing glasses? Is it bothersome?

2
by Andrew Davis | Mar 10, 2005 11:55:57 AM

Its nothing more than an OEM'd Motorola HS820. I have the Motorola HS820 and if it fit on my lapel instead of my ear, I'd swear I was Spock using my communicator to get Captain Kirk. That said, and following yesterday's BT article which I didn't have time to reply to, I have 4 BT headsets. I have a Motorola HS820, an HS810, the Sprint PCS sold Bodyglove one, and a Jabra BT250. The Motorola HS810 has poor range, poor battery life, and no noise cancellation. The SprintPCS Bodyglove headset has the retractable microphone, but is cheap plastic and feels like the "bought it at the $.99 store" feeling. It also didn't pair well with my Treo 650. The only good thing about the Bodyglove headset is that its the lighest of the four. The Jabra is a good device and fits comfortably, but it seems awkward to use and the noise cancellation doesn't work well. If I have my window down while driving and its in the ear on the window side, no one can hear me much at all. Its range is good, though... I've walked over 40 feet from it and had it work.

The Motorola HS820 absolutely rocks. Its multi-function buttons do the right function at the right time. Its noise cancellation is awesome. Its range is great. Its lightweight. About its only downfall is that most of its weight is on the front of the ear, not the back of it, so you feel like its going to slip off every now and then.

If you compare pictures of the HS820 to the Palm one that Andrew got, you'll realize that Palm simply OEM'd the Motorola one, had a few minor cosmetic changes, and had it wired to be re-charged from the Treo charger. My AT&T/Cingular rep confirmed this, but said he can't say anything more since its not a public release yet. He did say that if you take it apart, you'll see the Motorola markings inside (and void your warranty).

3
by Andrew Davis | Mar 10, 2005 11:58:17 AM

While I can't speak for the Palm BT headset, the extremely similar (see my other comment) Motorola HS820 fits well when I'm wearing sunglasses. I have Oakley A-frames and it fits over them just fine... definitely a lot better than over or around a Jabra.

4
by Clay | Mar 10, 2005 12:16:23 PM

That's great that Treo is FINALLY releasing this thing. My question is.... How is the volume in the headset? Is it still necessary to use the BTMUTE hack to be able to hear people? Does the headset fix the volume problem or is the phone still to blame?

5
by anonymous | Mar 10, 2005 2:03:41 PM

"if it fit on my lapel instead of my ear, I'd swear I was Spock using my communicator to get Captain Kirk."

I think you're mixing up your series there. The lapel-pin com-badges are a Next Generation thing. However, hardcore Original Series Trek fans have a Bluetooth option, too:

http://www.gizmodo.com/gadgets/cellphones/bluetooth-star-trek-communicator-025437.php

6
by Grover Cleveland | Mar 10, 2005 3:44:10 PM

What be the price?

7
by Bubbler | Mar 10, 2005 4:33:29 PM

Andrew:
Thanks for the reviews of bluetooth headsets. Are you up to do a similar survey of voice dialing solutions for the 650? The two technologies seem to go together.
Bub

8
by Federico | Mar 10, 2005 5:21:08 PM

Palmone just posted the treo 650 BT headset for $79.99. You can check it out at http://web.palmone.com/products/Product.jhtml?id=210003&cat=20023

9
by Andrew | Mar 10, 2005 5:53:30 PM

Andrew D.,

Thanks for the roundup of headsets.

Although as you mention the Treo Wireless Headset resembles Motorola's HS820 it does not seem to share its specifications:

HS820 TWH
Talk-Time 6 hours 7 hours
Standby 4 days 7 days
Weight 0.7oz (20gm) 0.59oz (17gm)

As you also point out the HS820 requires a separate charger while the TWH uses the standard Treo wall charger.

Cheers, A.

10
by Andrew | Mar 10, 2005 5:57:03 PM

Bubbler,

I have indeed been meaning to do a roundup of voice dialing solutions for the 650 but have thus far come up short on any worthwhile ones.

Any suggestions Treonauts?

Cheers, A.

11
by Dan Stroot | Mar 10, 2005 7:46:36 PM

I've tried the Jabra 250, Bluespoon AX, Sony Erricsson HBH-660, and I have a Scala 500 on order. So far NONE of these is loud enough to use in my car (a convertible, but even with the top up road noise is pretty loud). The Jabra was best because the "thingy" stuck in my ear the best. I'm hoping the Scala is loud enough. Please comment on how well YOU hear in a noisy environment, not just how the party on the other end hears you. So far the phone and all BT headsets I've tried are not LOUD enough.

12
by Andrew | Mar 10, 2005 7:53:19 PM

Dan,

It's difficult to comment on how loud would be loud enough for you but in my case pushing the volume button on the headset all the way up is louder than what my fragile ears can withstand.

For example, I had no problem hearing my caller earlier today in an _extremely_ loud environment and with the volume only half way up.

Hope this helps.

Cheers, A.

13
by Afaebe | Mar 11, 2005 5:23:36 AM

What is the range? Voice dialing capable?

14
by Rob | Mar 11, 2005 8:56:18 AM

Dan,
I was also wondering how it performs in windy enviornments. Does the noise cancellation work well under those conditions?

15
by gbob | Mar 11, 2005 10:26:31 AM

If you have small ear lobes, Jabra is the best.

16
by Ardy | Mar 11, 2005 1:35:23 PM

It sounds like a great little device, except the range (4-5 feet. 10 feet at best) that is a little too low of a range, don't you think?

17
by Andrew | Mar 11, 2005 9:18:07 PM

Ardy,

I have found that all the headsets that I tested have roughly the same operating range. While the claim is that they will work at ranges of 10 feet or more the fact remains that the headset will perform best when in close proximity to your Treo.

Cheers, A.

18
by Steve | Mar 12, 2005 9:41:16 AM

I have the new MOTO HS-850. The problem I have with it is of course the volume, but more importantly the connection time. I have tested the same headset with a motorola phone and it connects as fast as a wired headset, as well as it rings in your ear. The connection with the TREO 650 takes much longer. I need at least 3 rings on the phone before it connects and I have to answer the phone with the button on the phone not the headset. Once connected I have a good connection, but is just the wait time...also it does not ring in my ear. Is the connection with the Palm Headset better or the same. Is it a problem the Treo 650?

19
by Ben | Mar 12, 2005 1:49:48 PM

After reading these reviews I went out and bought the Moto HS820. Answers all the complaints I've had about BT headsets: easy to put on, doesn't stuff anything into your ear. Unfortunately what it doesn't answer is the phone. I can get it to pair just fine, but it doesn't ever work, for inccoming or outgoing calls. Paired it with my Nokia 6600 and everything worked fine. Unfortunately, the Treo just acts like it isn't even there. Anyone have any ideas? I'm itching to use it.

20
by Brenda | Mar 12, 2005 6:32:06 PM

Looks huge and inflexible.. made for huge man ears, but would probably not stay fixed on my more dainty ears.

21
by Brenda | Mar 12, 2005 6:32:45 PM

Looks huge and inflexible.. made for huge man ears, but would probably not stay fixed on my more dainty ears.

22
by Chris | Mar 13, 2005 3:37:04 PM

I'm looking for a HS that can voice dial through the headset, and has a good connection. i have the HS810 now and when my treo rings, it takes at least 3 rings for it to ring in the HS. Is there any HS that can do all of this?

23
by Peter | Mar 14, 2005 12:03:45 PM


Andrew,

Thanks for the great read on headsets.

Can I listen to music from my MP3 player
over the headset or is it specific to
the phone aplication?

Peter

24
by Ray | Mar 14, 2005 7:32:55 PM

I don't think it looks like a Motorola HS820 at all.

It's definitely a Jabra BT330 OEMed for Treo.

25
by Ray | Mar 14, 2005 7:34:27 PM

For some reason my post was posted under Peter.

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