I never set out to write a pan, nor find fault with an item though it is my job to look out for them. Occasionally though, I do get a stinker. Its especially apparent when Ive recently reviewed several products in the category that are either solid performers or outstanding. So before I get to the review of the Com One Bluetooth Stereo Headset, Ill point you to some of the other product reviews of Stereo Bluetooth headsets including some fantastic offerings from Motorola. Though note that all of those items are more expensive than the Com One option, so if youre on a very tight budget, read on.
Motorola HT 820
Nokia BH 601
Like the majority of headset offerings these days, the Com Ones are the backphone variety. They are basic black, with the circular foam covered earpieces offset with a circular silver decal. On the right earpiece are the controls. Skywards for volume up, towards the ground for volume down. Track forward is towards the front of your body, track backwards the opposite. There are no raised buttons here though. So youll have to simply memorize which button does what. In the center of these four controls is a call control button. Youll notice that there is no button for music pause/stop/start though the music will pause automatically while you are on a voice call.
The AC adapter is a standard issue affair, except that it uses a dedicated round charging end rather than the mini USB that is becoming standard. As a result, there is no charging off a computer. Since this is a no frills headset, there is no manual, just a simple sheet of paper with some basic instructions on how to pair and operate the controls.
If youre new to wireless Bluetooth headsets, lets do a simple review. You need a device that supports Bluetooth 1.2 with A2DP for wireless stereo and AVRCP for track control. Basically the Windows Mobile Treos allow for this, with the Palm models, you may be able to get some sort of Bluetooth adapter or find a piece of software to make it all work. The Com Ones headsets also support voice calls.
Since Im talking about design here, let me mention that these things are cheesy. They are akin to the two cent headphones you get on an airline flight. The wire between the two earpieces has even started to pop out of its groove and the metallic decal has started to peel. Im sure if I used these for any length of time, the cheap foam covering the earpieces will tear and no replacements are included.
You get what you pay for. These things sound like crap. Maybe Ive been spoiled by the more expensive offerings listed above. The Com Ones are mud through and through. Even though Im writing a review of these things, I dont want to test any further so Im using a pair of the Motorola S9s simply because they were handy and I couldnt stand something less worthy. The track controls of the S9 are so elegant compared with anything Ive used that the hard to use controls of the Com Ones are unacceptable. The entire face of the Com One control disk is smooth, giving no indication of what control Im pressing. If the orientation of the headset shifts, I might accidentally press track forward instead of volume up.
There are two, well maybe three bright spots that may persuade someone to buy these. Surprisingly, shockingly, these are pretty good with voice calls. They deliver simple, clear voice call quality. Perhaps the lack of dynamic range acts as a filtering device to keep callers simple and clear. Perhaps these have excellent noise reduction circuitry (though I doubt it). In fact, lack of noise reduction circuitry in some instances prevents noise reduction errors such as clamping down early or filtering out essential vocal range. However, if you were to primarily want these for voice, it might be a reason to consider them. And voice comes through both earpieces unlike some where only one earpiece is used. Its my preference these days.
The other bright spot is comfort. These are super lightweight at 50 grams. The foam covered earpieces rest gently against your ears and are completely invisible even after a long wearing period.
Finally, there is the cost issue. These suckers are cheap, in every sense of the word. They are much less expensive than most (but not all) competing models.
I think my advice should be clear. Do not waste your money on these headphones. It is a perfect example of penny wise, pound foolish. If you cant afford something better, then for goodness sake do without until you can afford something else. Or better yet, if you cant afford a quality wireless headset, then grab a wired one. There are plenty in the store to choose from, and wired nearly always gives better sound than their A2DP counterparts anyway.
However, if you only really care about voice calls (and want music as a bonus option), want something thats lightweight and comfortable, and are on a tight, tight budget, then pull the trigger and I wish you the best of luck.
Good Voice quality
|Poor build quality