Seeking bluetooth headset recommendations
June 5, 2009 1:27 PM   Subscribe

Please recommend a Bluetooth headset that's good for both listening to music and talking on the phone. I plan to pair it to both my Mac and my iPhone (not at the same time). In-ear and on-ear are both OK.
posted by adamrice to Shopping (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I like using Bluetooth headsets that let you use your own headphones, like this one. That way, you aren't forced to accept the crappy headphones of most bluetooth headsets but can still use it to make phone calls and the like. The one I linked to, which I owned until I lost it (those things are small!), had great sound quality, although I did still have to deal with the cable from my headphones. But at least it was wireless to my phone. I don't know if that particular one will remember connections for multiple devices, however. Sony Ericsson also makes that style of headset.
posted by EatenByAGrue at 1:51 PM on June 5, 2009

I have a pair of Jaybirds. They'll pair with both a phone and a computer at the same time and switch automatically when a call comes in. I didn't find them very comfortable though and the microphone quality is not very good. The rubber caps do go into the ear canal a little but they don't seal up flush like most ear canal phones so the audio is a tad soft.
posted by chairface at 2:11 PM on June 5, 2009

Between crappy speakers and the serious suck that is bluetooth stereo audio spec, I can't say I think there is such a thing as good bluetooth headset for listening to music. The best I have found is this Jabra BT3030 which lets you use your own headphones. I have no experience using that as a micrphone input though.

For mono audio/microphone, I think the Jawbone is the first and (so far as I can tell, the only) bluetooth headset worth considering. Jabra has a model with "Noise Blackout" which looks interesting.
posted by fief at 2:27 PM on June 5, 2009

Unfortunately, since the iPhone's bluetooth is rather crippled, you won't be able to use a good stereo bluetooth (A2DP) device with it. If you do try to use one, you will likely only get very quiet mono sound out of them.
I use a Jabra BT3030 with my phone/Internet-Tablet -- the BT3030 is similar to the device cited by EatenBy... It lets you use your own headphones/buds and pairs to a computer/etc and your phone at the same time (switches to the phone if a call comes in).
If you decide on something, check out the comments at a site like Amazon -- you will see lots of disgruntled iPhone user comments if it is incompatible with the iPhone.
posted by crenquis at 2:30 PM on June 5, 2009

Response by poster: Crenquis--As I understand it, Apple will be updating the Bluetooth firmware with iPhone OS 3.0 to handle stereo.
posted by adamrice at 2:39 PM on June 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yes, that is true. I have a bluetooth adapter currently with my iphone but won't need it after the 3.0 update.
posted by CwgrlUp at 3:37 PM on June 5, 2009

I've been pretty happy with the Motorola SoundPilot S705. You plug your own headphones in it. I'm using it with Shure earbuds, which have a short cable and an extension cable. I use just the short cable, and clip the SoundPilot onto my collar. I use it with a WinMo phone and a classic iPod which has a Bluetooth dongle. It will automatically switch to the phone when a call comes in, but the iPod keeps playing, which is a bit annoying.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:43 PM on June 5, 2009

I use my Sony Ericsson HBHDS980 Stereo Bluetooth Headset with both my Mac/iTunes and my Android phone. I like it so much more than most headsets because it is more like a medallion with earbuds than a massive apparatus on your head. All the Bluetooth bits are in the medallion, which also has a readout of the current song and any incoming call.

Plus, and this is really important to me, it does *not* have glowing blue lights when you are connected like many do. Some even have blue glowing rings around both ears! I think that is tacky and ugly.
posted by Invoke at 4:45 PM on June 5, 2009

Depending on your needs, I love love my Jabra BT8040, because it is a traditional one-ear bluetooth that does A2DP. Music quality is quite good, especially for the minuscule size. The reason it works so well for me is I use it for listening to talk radio, where quality isn't key, and for making calls with my original iPhone. Battery life is impressive, I can listen to 4-5 hours of audio on a single charge, and recharge is fairly quick.

I'm anxiously awaiting A2DP with iPhone 3.0 - I'll be purchasing the new version announced Monday, as only the 3G model of the existing line will have the A2DP capability. Boo for different chipsets.
posted by shinynewnick at 8:19 AM on June 6, 2009

One more plus to the BT8040 - the light goes off after initial operation, so no flashing blue light on your ear.
posted by shinynewnick at 8:23 AM on June 6, 2009

Another for the BT8040. It's about as unobtrusive as they come and the music sounds fine. The battery seems a little short to me but I listen to podcasts for hours at work so I'm probably expecting too much. The earpiece can be a bit uncomfy after hours of wearing but again I wear it for long periods straight.
posted by CwgrlUp at 9:02 AM on June 6, 2009

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