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Samsung WEP-350 Bluetooth Headset

Thu Mar 19, 2009 - 1:12 PM EDT - By Andre Kibbe

Overview

Samsung is on a roll with a couple of great new WinMo phones like the Epix and the Omnia, not to mention a raft of new laptops. But their Bluetooth headsets, especially the WEP series, have been hit-and-miss, frequently sporting innovative designs couple with uneven sound quality. Let's see if the Samsung's WEP350 fares differently.


In the Box

The contents of the box are as small as the headset itself. $59.95 gets you the headset, a charging cradle, a travel adapter and a user manual. The term "travel adapter" makes it sound like an optional way to charge the headset, but this is the only option: you have to connect its proprietary jack into the charging cradle — no USB charging.

Also included on the headset is one of those cheap transparent plastic earhooks that are too flimsy to support the device. Finally, the ear cushion on the headset is the only one provided. Early write-ups mentioned a change of sizes, but that doesn't seem to be the case.


Design and Function

The WEP350 is has a rounded rectangular design that's very businesslike — black with silver trim. It coordinates nicely with a black Centro or Treo Pro. Like all too many headsets these days, it has a glossy finish that can't help but show any and all fingerprints. While Samsung's marketing doesn't call attention to it, at .2 inches, it's an exceptionally thin headset. Despite its small size, the WEP350 is rated at 5 hours of talk time, and 100 hours of standby time. No charging time was listed anywhere in the specs, but it seemed to fully charge in about 40 minutes. I was impressed.

The operational design is no-nonsense. The device has a raised volume button on each side, and the outer face has a conspicuous multifunction button. On the inner face is the WEP's microphone, and there's even a reset hole in case the headset gets locked up. Pairing the headset is as simple as holding down this button for a few seconds, running the Treo's Hands-free Setup utility, and entering the four-zero passkey.

For regular use, you press the multifunction button to answer and end calls, or to redial the last number called. You press and hold the button to answer a second call, to put a caller on hold, or to transfer the call to the handset.

The sound quality is mixed. The signal is amplified adequately enough so that you don't miss anything the speaker says, but it's always accompanied by very noticeable background static. Callers on the other end reported the same experience. Samsung's press information on the device purports that "noise and echo cancellation is incorporated for better audio," but while the echo cancellation is evident (as with all WEP headsets), noise cancellation appears to be in name only.


Conclusion

The WEP350 is a decent headset if you're looking primarily for small size and ease of use. It's not the smallest headset out there, but the smallest I've heard that doesn't sound too terrible (the WEP500 is smaller, but sounds awful). But if you place a premium on sound quality over size or aesthetics, look for a headset in a higher price range.





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Criteria 

Rating

Design 4
Comfort/Features 3
Sound Quality 3
Cost/Benefit 3
Overall
(not an average)
Pros
  • Exceptionally thin design
  • Easy learning curve
  • Fast charging
  • Very light
  • Cons
  • Sound marred by background static
  • Glossy finish picks up fingerprints
  • Mediocre earhook
  • No alternate ear cushion sizes


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