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Eight Bluetooth Headsets Under the Microscope

My last review of the Scala-500 Bluetooth Headset got me thinking that I had perhaps missed to see some of the uniqueness that other BT headsets might have to offer.

With this in mind I got another six BT headsets (plus the Palm Wireless Headset which I already had) and set out to get to the bottom of their value proposition and ‘special features’.

Below are all the BT headsets that I selected (in no particular order) and the overall rating that I gave them:

  1. Palm Wireless Headset (8/10)
  2. Jabra BT250V (7/10)
  3. Scala-500 (6/10)
  4. Sony Ericsson HBH 300 (9/10)
  5. Motorola HS850 (7/10)
  6. Bluespoon AX (6/10)
  7. Logitech Mobile Freedom (6/10)
  8. Sony Ericsson HBH 662 (9/10)

palmOne Compact Wireless Headset for Treo 650Palm Wireless Headset (8/10)
Pros: Small, light, comfortable, easy fit, supports all Treo 650 call features, charges using standard Treo charger, can be charged with optional wall, USB and car adapters, good build, value and sound quality
Cons: No additional accessories of any kind in the box
Overall: Still among my favourites.  Great value.  Hard to find many faults…

Jabra BT250v for Treo 650Jabra BT250V (7/10)
Pros: Very nice build quality, boom mic, vibrating, nice extra with belt clip holder
Cons: Big and bulky.  In-ear design difficult to fit
Overall: For me at least getting it on the ear is a bit of a hassle but at least once it’s on then it’s extremely comfortable.  Possibly a good choice for the office.

Cardo Scala-500 for Treo 650Scala-500 (6/10)
Pros: Excellent included accessory kit with eyeglass/sunglass clip, belt clip holster and neckband, very small and light charger, light and comfortable headset
Cons: Sound quality is below average
Overall: If it wasn’t for the sound quality issues this headset would be at the very top of the charts.  However, it’s still terrific value for its price.

Sony Ericsson HBH-300 for Treo 650Sony Ericsson HBH 300 (9/10)
Pros: Excellent build quality, boom mic, innovative charging stand, excellent sound quality with noise reduction, longest talk and standby time (10hrs & 13days), included headset stand ideal for office
Cons: Big, bulky & heavy, no charging indicator light
Overall: I would not recommend it as a headset while on the go because of its size but if you’re looking for a top notch BT headset to use at work then this is undoubtedly the one.

Motorola HS-850 for Treo 650Motorola HS850 (7/10)
Pros: Innovative foldable boom microphone saves battery when not in use, very small when folded
Cons: Poor build quality, no auto-link (need to press button to activate BT call), expensive, uncomfortable.
Overall: It’s a shame that parts of this headset are of such poor quality – particularly the ear loop.  It’s pretty much the only headset that I would easily fold and hold in my pocket.  Shame about the sub-par sound quality which is unacceptable at this price.

Bluespoon AX for Treo 650Bluespoon AX (6/10)
: Ultra-small and light (a mere 10 grams), charges via USB, very innovative design with rubber stick bending in your ear to hold, second longest standby time of this lineup (12hrs), comes with neck strap
Cons: Expensive, below average sound quality
Overall: Sound quality unfortunately lets it down badly but if you absolutely want a gadget that makes you feel like 007 then this is pretty close.

Logitech Mobile Freedom for Treo 650Logitech Mobile Freedom (6/10)
: Cheap
Cons: Big, bulky and ugly, awful ear clip makes for uncomfortable fit
Overall: At the very bottom of my list.  Surprising to see that Logitech, a company which otherwise make some very decent and well designed products, have released this.

Sony Ericsson HBH-660 for Treo 650Sony Ericsson HBH 662 (9/10)
: Excellent build quality, only headset with LCD display (caller ID, battery indicator and time elapsed), comfortable, easy fit
Cons: Shortest talk time (5hrs), most expensive headset [UPDATE: Since writing this review the HBH-662 has been reduced from $109.95 to only $84.95 – at this price it is not only a real bargain but also the clear winner in this lineup.]
Overall: I really like the LCD display which provides me with the battery status and time elapsed after a call (caller ID is a bonus but just a gimmick in my opinion).  It rates among the very top in build quality and I’m very tempted to make this my primary BT headset.  Shame that the charger is just a bit big and that it doesn’t come with a desk charging stand like its sibling the HBH 300.

So, combining all the best features of these BT headsets, this is what would make a near ‘perfect’ one for me in the future:

  • Charges with standard Treo charger (plus wall, USB and car with adapters)
  • Has an easy on/off button to save battery when not in use
  • Weighs less than 20 grams
  • Has an LCD display with battery indicator, caller ID and time elapsed
  • Comes with a desk charging stand, belt clip, eyeglass clip and strap
  • Excellent build, comfort, ease of fit and sound quality

Treonauts look at all the angles before making a choice

Posted by Andrew on August 12, 2005 at 03:55 PM

Treo Accessories , Treo Bluetooth Headset

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by DAVID SPEAKMAN | Aug 27, 2005 12:45:29 AM

Motorola HS850. Works fine most of the time. Occasionally causes the phone to lock up and I have to soft boot it to get the phone working again.

It DOES autolink with incoming calls about 80% of the time -- you have to be patient and let the phone ring 2-3 times. Rest of the time you just push the button on the headset.

Biggest complaint is qualith of construction. The flimsy, soft earpiece liner has already disintegrated and come off and the unit is 4 months old. I don't know how much longer the ear hook is going to last, it seems to be getting weaker.

by Chad Bryan | Oct 5, 2005 10:16:34 PM

I have used the following headsets with my Treo 650: Motorola HS820, Jabra BT250V, Plantronics M2500 and Palm Treo Headset. First off, you must understand that there is not a perfect headset for the Treo. Every one that I have tried have experienced static. However, I would have to say the Palm Treo headset has been the most bearable. I used to have a Motorola V710 that I used my HS820 with. I had very decent luck with the HS820 and V710 but the incompatabilities with the Treo 650 deemed the HS820 unusable in my book. I then purchased the Jabra BT250V. It didn't take me long to pack it up and send it back. The static in my ear was just too much to take (others did not necessarily hear it on their end). It probably had the best volume level of all of them because of the ear-gel design and the vibrate feature was nice. I wanted to give Jabra the benefit of the doubt (being an Editors' Choice) but it just wasn't a good fit with the Treo. It may work wonderfully with other phones, but not very well with my Treo 650 (Verizon). I then decided to try the Plantronics M2500. It was comfortable to wear but right off the bat, the static was too much. I would say it was a little better than the Jabra but I still couldn't justify keeping it with the static problems. The volume level wasn't as good as the Jabra but it was decent. So, I packet it up and returned it and decided to give the Palm Treo Headset a try. At first glance it looks laid out alot like the HS820, but in my opinion is much better. The ear loop not only goes over your ear, but also swivels to allow you to tilt the headset up and down. The speaker that goes into your ear is definately designed better so it goes in your ear further but is not overly intrusive. Another benefit is that it uses the same charger plug as the Treo, therefore not needing a separate charger. The headset comes with its own charger which is a plus (now I can keep a wall charger at home and one at the office). The charger also has switchable plugs for other countries. So to summarize, I have not found the "perfect" headset for the Treo, but out of the ones I have tested, I think at this point, the Palm Treo Headset is one I will hold on to.

by vijay kantamneni | Oct 15, 2005 1:29:21 PM

Long time palm user

by vijay kantamneni | Oct 15, 2005 1:31:32 PM

is there a BT headset that answers the phone without manually pressing a button on the headset? is that autolink? I have a treo 650 and would like to wear BT headset in an operating room

by Ike Nassi | Oct 22, 2005 11:55:58 AM

Like Andrew, I have to re-pair the Moto HS820 to the Sprint Treo 650 every time I want to turn on and use the HS820. (I've installed update 1.12.)

I also use the Treo with my Acura. It also has some problems, in this case answering calls. I have to explicitly "transfer" the call to the car. Just hitting the answer button on the steering wheel isn't sufficient.

The HS820 works fine when I use my Blackberry, so I doubt the problems are with the headset.

by Edwin Simpson | Oct 23, 2005 12:57:17 AM

Is it posible to listen to mp3 playback on a treo 650 using stereo bluetooth headset? What sets work?

by HHD | Oct 29, 2005 1:47:33 PM

I previously was using a Motorola HS-850. Low volume and a little floppy around the ear. Couldn't hear at all while driving. I just received my Plantronics Discover 640 and it is absolutely incredible. No static, clear as a bell, I can hear perfectly even while driving 70 miles an hour and the other party says my voice sounds excellent. It was easy to pair and the AAA recharging accessory is really cool. I highly recommend this BT headset.

by Chad Bryan | Oct 29, 2005 8:18:29 PM

This is an update to my previous post. I previously stated that of all the headsets I have tested, the Treo headset was the best. That was before I tested the HBH-662. I have to clearly say that the HBH-662 on my Treo 650 is the best of the class in the headsets I have tried. My father and I both have Treo's and he even commented on how well the audio sounded, even compared to the Treo headset. He thought I was simply on the handset. I've also tried the hack to remove the earloop and install a Jabra eargel. I have to agree, this does boost the audio a bunch, but this is a hack, and my eargel just doesn't want to stay on. I actually used the large size and mine ripped. Unfortunate, but regardless, this is simply the best headset that I have tested for the Treo 650. I'm pretty confident with everything that is on the market at this point, I won't be testing any more headsets.

by vorkswagon | Nov 4, 2005 12:32:55 PM

I am using the SE HBH-300 with my Treo650 but I found the combination not too reliable. I mean when I dial an outgoing call, it doesn't route the call to the headset automatically. I had to pick the call up from the headset using the answer button on the headset. Also, connecting the sound from the Treo is not 100% reliable, though it works most of the time. Do you have similar experience? If not, any suggestions as to why I am experiencing these problems would be appreciated.

by john | Nov 5, 2005 3:51:32 AM

is there a bt headset that displays name on the caller id that works with the treo 650

by Alan Dunlop | Nov 9, 2005 3:09:43 AM


I bought the HBH-300, and found that when I dial an outgoing call on the Treo 650, it doesn't route the call to the headset automatically. I always have to pick the call up from the headset using the answer button on the headset. Exactly the same as Chad wrote above.

I also find that when a call is received by the Treo 650, and the Headset is charging that the headset does not ring. But take it off the charger and it will ring. Bizarre. Tested this on a friends phone and it worked either way.

I am using an Unlocked Palm Treo 650 with ROM 1.13.

Any ideas to getting it fully automated.


by Crazynico | Nov 14, 2005 2:06:03 AM

I currently have the HS820, and while it's not that great of a headset, it doesn't justify me going out and buying another.

The headset does not have to be re-paired with the Treo. The trick is, you have to hold the buttom down and get the pusles of the light going. Right before the solid light comes on, you let off the button and the light will go off. The Treo will automatically link with the headset and you don't have to scroll through that menu, enter your code and all that jazz.

by Treo 650 newbie | Nov 15, 2005 6:38:47 PM

If you're using a Sony HBH-662 (That does not support call waiting) does that mean that when another call comes in that it just beeps in your ear and you have to switch over with the phone? Or when another call comes in the headset will do nothing and you have to constantly check your phone to see if you have another call?

by Mathew Call | Nov 16, 2005 12:39:32 AM

I wish my Treo 650 had AM/FM radio but since it doesn't I need it in the headphones. What I don't need is the extra bulk of MP3 storage since I can store all I want on my Treo. Any such thing yet as smaller lighter-weight stereo bluetooth headhphones with mic and built-in AM/FM radio only? I envision 2 separate earpieces, one with a mic and one just an earphone so I can use just one for phone calls (or both) and both for music/movies.

by Fred Twyman | Nov 28, 2005 12:39:13 AM

Does anyone know of a BT head set that I can use to listen to my mp3 books on tape? I have a BT headset already and it only works on the phone sounde of my treo650. Is there a software work around you know of?

by golferjmw | Dec 12, 2005 4:35:41 PM

I have the Treo 650 Verizon and am looking for a reliable bluetooth headset that will auto connect. I have the Palmone treo headset and find that way too often when i dial a number that the phone is not connecting to the headset. Too frustrating. Any help??

by bobsmith | Dec 21, 2005 2:06:42 AM

BUMP on crazynico's question, b/c I would really like to know. Common HBH-662 owners, chime in here.

If you're using a Sony HBH-662 (That does not support call waiting) does that mean that when another call comes in that it just beeps in your ear and you have to switch over with the phone? Or when another call comes in the headset will do nothing and you have to constantly check your phone to see if you have another call?

by ev | Jan 1, 2006 2:21:03 AM

you can find the treo headset at franklin covey I got one and it is the best one I have got out of 10

by erin | Jan 7, 2006 8:39:34 PM

I recently bought the new Sony headset--the HBH 608 and found it to have poor sound quality. It's supposed to be the newest version and people have raved about the others. I haven't been satisfied.

I then bought the motorolla H700 and have experienced poor sound quality and static on it as well. Ugh! These reviews have been helpful. I think I'll try the treo headset or the HBH 662.....

by John | Jan 29, 2006 11:39:15 AM

I heard that there is a program available for our treo 650/700 which will allow us to hear music from our real player as well as take calls via bluetooth. apparently Palm Real Player is 1.1 and you need 1.2 AD2P compatible or higher and this software makes it happen.
Has anyone heard about this program or software that I can download into my 650?

by Dean | Feb 7, 2006 7:42:19 PM

I just upgraded my treo 650 to rom 1.13a-spnt for sprint. Now i can not use my HBH-662. It recognizes it as a blue tooth device, but not as a usable headset. Any one else have this problem.

by Paul Boat | Feb 10, 2006 11:45:11 AM

Has anyone else had trouble with pairing the HBH-662 with their Treo 650. I bought two of these, one for me and one for my boss, and neither of them will hold a pair for more than a minute. I cannot get it to work dialing out and I can answer calls with them. Anyone else have similar problems or a solution?


by jr | Feb 21, 2006 10:13:45 PM

i cant get hs 820 to pair with treo 650 verizon

by Jason Roiz | Mar 14, 2006 4:19:28 PM

The Jabra BT350 with my Verizon Treo 650 had too much delay and poor sound quality. But it was my first headset which I took back. Now I have an unopened Motorola BT 850 HS. Anyone heard how this works? I have read bad things about the combo with the origional 850 so far, but I'm wondering if this is still true. I'll sell it on ebay and get whatever works better.

Any recommendations?

by Paul | Mar 15, 2006 12:50:54 AM

After upgrading to 1.13a-spnt for sprint, I can no longer use my HBH-662. Looks like I need to backtrack to 1.12 to use BT headset. Anyone know a fix?

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