The Hard Bluetooth Headset Case
Should I get a Treo Bluetooth headset for my Treo 650? Which headset would you recommend? These are questions that I have been asked repeatedly over the last couple of months and which to be honest I've struggled to answer myself. I'll try to do so now.
On the one hand I can naturally see the pratical aspect of using a headset in order to be handsfree while speaking on the phone either when driving, working at a PC or doing something else. On the other hand the fact is that I personally found a headset to be one more relatively unnecessary thing to deal with, which adds bulk when travelling as it needs a separate charger (but bleeding edge BT headsets are beginning to offer USB charging capabilities), where the sound can become choppy if the Treo 650 is not in close proximity (the operating range of BT headsets is low), is messy and a hassle to carry around as it is not the type of item that you really want to put in your pocket.
There are two types of Bluetooth headsets - 'over-the-ear' which is the most widely available and another one which I'll simply call 'earpiece'. I tested the two types with the Jabra BT 250 and the iTech BT Buzzer Clip respectively.
The Jabra BT 250 is a very well designed and elegant headset which fits extremely comfortably over your ear - so much so in fact that after a little while you could actually forget that you're wearing a headset at all. The Jabra BT 250 weighs just 24 grams (0.85 ounces) and its Lithium Polymer battery provides up to 8 hours talk time and 240 hours standby - 2 hour charging time using the wall charger and charging unit which the headset slips into (below left).
One of the things to keep in mind with this and other headsets of this type is that they are not designed to easily answer calls if the headset is not already hanging over your ear. It will typically take at least 5 seconds to fit the headset and in the case of the Jabra BT 250 (although it is likely also the case with all others) you will find it a lot easier if you can use both hands to do so.
There are a few scenarios that I would consider to be 'ideal' for using the Jabra BT 250 in. Your car is one where you'd likely fit the headset over your ear and keep it on for the duration of your journey. You plan to call someone and know that the conversation is likely going to be a long one so you start with the headset on. You're 'constantly' getting calls and barely have time to hang-up that another one arrives - or vice-versa you're the one making all the calls. In all of these cases the idea is to keep the headset on for long periods of time and not to fit it on and off repeatedly.
As a small aside, note that you can also answer the phone on your Treo and then seamlessly 'transfer' it to the Jabra BT 250 by pressing the line button on the headset which you could do if the conversation is getting long or if you need to free the use of both your hands.
The iTech BT Buzzer Clip is a compact earpice headset that consists of a small control unit which can be clipped to your shirt or placed inside the shirt pocket. A wire connects the earpiece and control unit while the microphone is built about a third of the way on the wire itself. Also weighing just 24 grams, it offers 4 hours talk time and 160 hours standby time.
Although I initially preferred the earpiece type of headset to the over-the-ear one the fact is that having the microphone on the wire is less than ideal as clothing is constantly 'scratching' against it and either muffling your voice or creating unwanted noise during your call. Clipping and unclipping the control unit is also a hassle.
The iTech headset is not available in the US and the Sony Ericsson HBH-200 is the only other earpiece type headset that I found - albeit one that offers significantly higher functionality but slightly lower specifications.
If you have decided that you need a Bluetooth headset then I would strongly recommend you choose an over-the-ear type instead of an earpiece one. Considering that the Jabra BT 250 is so comfortable, that it offers excellent performance and it benefits from a beautiful design I am strongly inclined to rate it as one of the best Bluetooth headsets available. The only thing that I would have liked Jabra to add to the package is a hard moulded flip carrying case.