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Jabra BT 500v

Wed Jan 24, 2007 - 7:50 AM EST - By Douglas Morse

Overview

The Jabra BT500v is a lightweight over the ear wireless Bluetooth headset. It has well placed controls and vibrating alert which can easily be switched on or off.

Design

The Jabra BT500v takes a minimalist approach to headset design. And I'm not saying that's a bad thing. In this case minimalist isn't cheap, it's just simple. In the plastic box is a small, lightweight charger, a second USB to headset charger, three extra ear gels and a slim manual in seven languages including Bahasa Malaysia. The headset itself is designed as one big, thick 'C'. The headset is matt black , translucent white plastic controls on the outer edge, and shiny silver bits towards the microphone. The first two bumps are for volume control, the next spot, flush with the earpiece, is a dedicated pairing button. Under that is the multi-function call control button. There is also a tiny LED light.

I've had a bit of hiatus from reviewing headsets, and it's nice to come back after a while because things certainly have improved. These controls are logical, easy to find, and just plain smart. I appreciate a dedicated pairing button and one that requires a fingernail to push is perfect. The headset is lightweight and comfortable, and rated for 12 hours of talk time.

An unusual feature of the headset is the vibrating alert. You can turn this on or off by holding in the volume button when you turn the phone on. Also, the earpiece is set up for the right ear, but turning the ear gel will set it up for the left. The headset includes three more gels in differing sizes as well. If your phone supports it, the Jabra BT500v has voice dialing. It is unclear from the packaging whether this is a Bluetooth 1.1 or 1.2 device though with a bit of investigation, it’s the latter.


Features

As is typical with Bluetooth headsets, performance is variable. Fortunately using this with a Bluetooth 1.2 device, some of the problems seem to be reduced. The headset has greater range, more stability, and is less prone to interference. In fact, one website I looked at discouraged the use of the headset with the Treo 650 due to sub-standard performance with that device. Of course, the headset is still subject to some of the vagaries of Bluetooth and cellphone problems. Wireless networks, cloud cover, wearing the headset and Treo on opposite sides of the body may degrade quality. Still, this headset has a very present sound. The earpiece nestles gently inside your ear, the soft gel cap is comfortable. The boom mic helps minimize, though not eliminate, the echoey sound other headsets are prone to produce.

This headset is very comfortable after long periods of use and would be a great choice for the car or for the geeky, a walk about town. It weighs in at only 19 grams. As I mentioned, the controls are easily accessible and simple to use.

The vibrating alert is very mild and is beneficial in many situations where your Treo can’t be next to you and you still need to grab a call without a loud ringer going off. With the headset in a pocket, you still may be able to feel the vibration, but I’ve always found that by the time I get the headset on, I may have missed the call.



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