Because we all need another gadget.
September 8, 2014 11:57 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for an awesome bluetooth headset/handset/gadget. It should play well with an up to date android tablet. Do you know of a bluetooth device cooler than the Sony SBH-52?

After realizing that I rarely used my phone as a phone and my Note II was too small, I switched my daily device to be a Nexus 7 LTE (with a sip app for calls from the kids' schools) paired with a sub $10 earbud bluetooth piece that I keep in my pocket.

My problems are that the N7 doesn't vibrate, and I carry it in a pouch that muffles the sound. Unless I'm in a very quiet environment (read: at home or the office; I miss hearing it in my car) I don't hear critical alerts (sms/phone call), and have no ability for medium priority alerts (email, calendar I'd like to vibrate but make no sound).

Smart watches: the only one I was interested in was the Hot Watch. After 9+ months of delays, and now reported problems with the water resistance I've given up on that. I would only consider a smart watch with private talk capability - no speaker phone cruft.

I'm currently most interested in the Sony SBH-52. One can talk into it like a really small handset, or I could use the wired ear buds for hands free if needed. It would even show notifications (with app WatchIt! one can get all notifications). Cons; it doesn't vibrate and it's Sony (I've had lots of bad experiences with Sony due to their usual love or proprietary interfaces). I wasn't looking for this, but I think I'd make some use of the AVRCP - I wouldn't need to take my tablet out to change volume while listening to music at dinner for instance. Ultimately, ~$100 definitely seems costly for a handset and text only notifications (I'm Canadian, so often get hit with higher local prices, or duty and/or really high shipping costs).

I'm aware of Sony's SBH-50 and MW1 - I like the SBH-52 better than them. HTC mini+ I wouldn't want (even if it worked with my nexus). Because I had my heart set on the Hot Watch, I wasn't even aware of the SBH-52 until a few days ago, please tell me there's something better.

Summary: find me a device. Must have: private talk. Must have at least one of (both preferred): Android text notifications, vibrate on notifications (I.E. not just vibrate for a call). I'm a geek, so any additional capabilities, I could make use of. In fact, the more useful it is, the more likely I'll 1) have it with me, and 2) have it charged (both problems with my dumb ear piece).

Things I'm not interested in: a smart watch without private talk. Anything where wires are a necessity. The Hot Watch.
posted by nobeagle to Technology (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I am only familiar with the solutions you provided for your specific use case outside of the current onslaught of smart-watches.

Have you looked at the Motorola Hint? If you can fulfill your messaging/notification needs with Google Now and voice dictation, that may be a possible alternative. Unfortunately, there will not be tight integration with most workflows so you may need to use something like tasker to accomplish more complex tasks.
posted by palionex at 12:47 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

You might try combining a bluetooth headset (I like the motorola sliver and the jawbone era) with a smartwatch (I kike the Pebble). Readable Notifications buzz on you wrist; talk (and other phone audio like directions or podcasts) are in your ear.
posted by jander03 at 7:23 AM on September 9, 2014

Response by poster: I'm aware that I could get a separate gadget for notifications which doesn't do talk (watches, bracelets, etc), and keep using the earbud headset. I was really hoping for one gadget to rule them all. Mainly because I'm absolutely failing to update my behaviors to keep my headset charged and on me. Heck, this morning I forgot to bring it to work. Looking at the lack of answers I'm afraid I'll probably have to go this way, on thinking I think the sbh52 is useless to me without vibration.

Initially on hearing of the Hint I dismissed it as yet another overpriced bluetooth headset. Looking closer, I think I still need to. I have a non-motorolla device, so it won't get motorolla connect. Secondarily, if it were colored like a traditional hearing aid (various flesh tone approximations) I might consider something that small. But for the silvers and blacks they're too eye-drawing to the ear, and scream "bluetooth guy." I wouldn't feel socially comfortable wearing that regularly.
posted by nobeagle at 11:20 AM on September 9, 2014

Response by poster: As a follow up, I ended up buying a used Pebble from a co-worker. I didn't get everything I wanted, and I still end up either without my bluetooth more often than I'd want. However, I have completely made my tablet silent, and the vibrations/notifications allow me to not end up missing any alerts.
posted by nobeagle at 7:39 AM on January 14, 2015

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