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Loud Music in the Middle of the Night: A Hybrid Headset Comparison

Thu Jul 27, 2006 - 2:45 PM EDT - By Jay Gross

The Palm Hybrid Headset

At $19.95, the Palm Hybrid Headset [Buy] costs much less than the Seidio set, though the headset doesn't make any claims about "isolating." Nonetheless, its big, fluffy foam covers around nearly-dime-sized speakers do the isolating thing quite effectively.

Palm's headset is different from Seidio's in many ways:

  • There's no optional retractable cable. Although the generous cord doesn't tangle up too badly while I'm using the headset, when it's floating around on the desk or stashed in a case on the way to a coffeehouse it makes the Gordian knot look simple.
  • There's no convenient collar clip to help out the cord problem
  • There's no very convenient volume adjustment wheel, either. With Seidio's product, you can adjust volume on the Treo or a tiny thumb wheel in the headset's cord.

All that is far outweighed by the fact that, for me, the ear pieces don't move. Not only do they not fall out, they don't even budge. The sound quality isn't quite as good in the bass registers (and no adjustment for that), but otherwise a very enjoyable listening experience - only this time without having to constantly re-align the ear pieces.

Microphone Quality

At first glance, the Palm headset looks like it's out of whack (technical term). One of its ear bud leads is much shorter than the other. This is intentional, to suspend the device's microphone near your chin - although microphone placement isn't really the main issue here, it's the sound quality.

I tested both headsets by leaving myself a voicemail on my land line. Palm's mic doesn't convey the mellifluous tones of my voice as well as Seidio's. Neither headset is nearly as good as a normal telephone for mic quality. Both of the headsets chop off the high frequencies. In both cases it didn't make much difference if I just let the mic hang in its default spot or if I held it to my mouth.

Either way, though, receiving cell calls is sweet on the 700p using pTunes. The Treo automatically (gasp!) pauses the music while a call is in progress, and resumes where it left off when the call hangs up.


My search for comfort and quality in a Treo headset isn't over, but for the time being it's parked pretty well on the Palm Hybrid Headset/Headphones. Although, Seidio's set has several much nicer features, namely the retractable spool, the inline volume adjust, and better sound quality, that earbud movement is just too much for me to take.

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