A Beginner's Guide to Bluetooth Headsets

Like if this guide is helpful
A Beginner

It is easy to become confused by the huge variation in the Bluetooth headsets that are currently available. Many devices look almost identical, but in fact have very different internal specifications. The better devices sometimes cost a little more, but their superior features and performance will usually justify their higher price. A rudimentary understanding of the functionality offered by the current generation of Bluetooth headsets is usually all that is required to ensure a suitable device is purchased.

What to Look For in a Bluetooth Headset Purchase

When comparing the specifications of Bluetooth headsets, the decision of which features are the most important is likely to be a personal one. Some may find only the most expensive and stylish designs appealing, while others will place far greater importance on which features the device is able to offer. In order to have a clear idea of what specification the intended Bluetooth headset should have, it can be worth creating an ordered list of desirable features.

Design and Construction

There are three basic designs of Bluetooth headset, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Where the intended headset will sometimes be used outside, it is usually worth opting for one of the more expensive models from a known manufacturer. The superior construction offered by these devices will usually allow them to survive the moderate knocks, splashes and drops which are all but inevitable in the real world. Where the device is unlikely to leave the safety of an office, a cheaper model may well be all that is required. Some manufacturers have created headset designs that are aimed specifically at eyeglass wearers. These are shaped to accommodate the spectacles' arms, allowing the two to be worn comfortably together.

Position

Description

In the Ear

Well concealed. Stereo or mono. Fairly insecure. Excellent sound reproduction. Very lightweight.

Over the Ear

Moderately visible. Usually mono. Moderately secure. Moderate upper and lower range. Can be worn under headgear, such as a crash helmet.

Over the Head

Highly visible. Stereo or mono. Most secure. Good sound reproduction. Most comfortable for extended periods of use.

Weight and Comfort

Generally a lightweight Bluetooth headset will be more comfortable than a heavier one, although this is not always the case. Good ergonomic design can play an important part in how comfortable a Bluetooth headset is to wear. As the cheapest headsets have often undergone little in the way of design and development, they are rarely the most comfortable. Where the headset will be worn for extended periods of time, it is always worth looking out for devices which offer the additional components necessary to individually tailor them to fit. Where the intention is to focus on a lighter headsets, it is worth remembering that this can mean choosing between devices with noticeably inferior battery performance.

Battery Life and Recharging

The battery life of Bluetooth headsets is usually quoted as two figures: talk time and standby time. Those who make a lot of calls should take note of the estimated talk time, while to those who expect to use the device more infrequently the standby time will be of more interest. Selecting a Bluetooth headset from the same manufacturer as the phone can have the advantage that the two will be able to use the same device for charging their batteries; making it necessary to only carry one charger is for both devices. Some headsets also offer the facility to be recharge using the USB of a laptop computer, allowing another way to avoid carrying around additional accessories.

Headset Sound Quality

Stereo Bluetooth headsets are available which allow the wearer to listen to music through the device. However such devices will only allow proper stereo separation, when paired with a phone which offers the transmission of a stereo signal. The ability to listen to music and podcasts through the Bluetooth device can enhance the experience of wearing the headset while waiting for a call. However, as driving while wearing a headset covering both ears is against the law in most countries, the device will not be suitable for this purpose. Where the device will be used in noisy environments, it is worth considering a Bluetooth headset with a noise cancelling facility. These devices incorporate a system which is able to block out some of the outside noise. However, even the best noise cancelling systems are only really effective at cancelling sound which is continuous, such as that experienced when seated inside an aircraft. Those who desire the very best sound quality available should look out for Bluetooth devices which offer HD audio. These devices reproduce, transmit and receive audio information at twice the frequency of ordinary Bluetooth devices. If the headset will frequently be used outdoors, it is worth considering a device which offers a noise cancellation facility. Many of these models contain extra microphones which allow an on-board processor to accentuate the wearer's speech. Noise cancelling headsets can enable the wearer to chat quite comfortably in situations where the surrounding din would make conversation almost impossible using a conventional device.

Voice Dial, Multipoint, and Call Alert

The ease with which a Bluetooth device can be controlled will influence how useful it feels to the wearer. A voice dial facility is normally activated by the user pressing a button on the headset and saying the name of the person they wish to speak to. Some headsets also allow calls to be answered or rejected with voice commands. Multipoint Bluetooth headsets allow the device to be connected to, and used with, more than one device at a time. This can allow a single headset to act as a single interface between a work and a personal phone. In practice, this means that when a call is placed to either phone, it will be routed to the same headset. The headset can be used to allow a call from one device to be held, while a more important call from the other device is taken. Call alert works in much the same way as the vibrate function on a mobile phone. The headset will usually flash a light and gently vibrate to indicate an incoming call, while remaining almost silent.

Finding Bluetooth Headsets on eBay

Whichever type of Bluetooth headset is chosen, a suitable make and model will be found on eBay. It is easy to find the most suitable device thanks to the search facility and links located on every eBay page. Typing a few details about the intended purchase into the eBay search bar will result in the display of all the relevant Bluetooth headsets. For example, when looking for a Nokia Bluetooth headset, simply type "Nokia Bluetooth" into the search bar. Using the links provided, it is also possible to browse through the Bluetooth headsets available on eBay. Begin by expanding the All Categories menu and selecting the Mobile Phones & Communication link. From here, simply select Mobile Phone & PDA Accessories and then Headsets. When browsing the Bluetooth headsets on eBay, a panel of desirable attributes will be displayed on the left of the page. These can be combined to narrow the headsets displayed to only include devices which offer all of the desired functionality. For example, using these it is possible to display only the new black single Jabra earbud Bluetooth headsets available on eBay.

Conclusion

Occasional headset users may find a heavier cheaper device will adequately meet all their requirements. However, where the device is intended to be used as a primary business tool, it will make sense to spend time researching the flagship models offered by the various manufacturers. Whatever the budget, the process of choosing a Bluetooth headset should ideally begin with the creation of a prioritised list of desired features. These can then be selected from the options available when viewing Bluetooth headsets on eBay, quickly revealing which devices are most likely to offer the best purchase.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides