For most of us, Jeremy’s recent post about the wires in his apartment made us think of a drawer, closet or box somewhere that looks similar (unless you’re Dave Mathews, the other one. I hear his apartment looks like Snakes on a Plane, but with wires … and I guess no plane. So basically, just a lot of wires in an apartment. But you can see how I got there, right?). My wife is a lot less tolerant of
snakes wires than Jeremy’s, so I’ve been having fun with a couple of Bluetooth products from Jabra.
The first product I’m trying is the BT620s (with A125s adapter) which enable you to use a wireless headset with your iPod. This means no stylish white-headphones to show off that you stand out from the crowd by having an iPod (which is so 2004 anyway).
In my opinion, the main benefit of having a wireless headset is it frees you from being tethered to the device. Instead, throw your iPod in your backpack or put it in a drawer at your desk. You can still control all the important functions with your headset (volume, skip track, pause, etc.). If you have a bluetooth phone it even lets you pick up a phone call with the same headset (there’s a mini-microphone on one of the earpieces). I’ve been working in a cube-farm for ages and am used to plugging headphones into my computer. In a “Darwin Awards” kind of way, once a year, I pull away from the desk and have the earbuds ripped out of my ears. Going wireless means I can do some Office Space spins in my cube with full freedom. Ah, simple pleasures.
I’d love to say that configuring the units was simple, but I can’t. Jabra optimized towards minimalism in terms of buttons and action-feedback on the unit so much so that you have to actually consult the manual just to get started (I really did. I had to!). For example, they define pushing a button in three ways:
- Push and release.
- Push for a couple seconds, then release.
- Push and hold.
Each one of these causes the blue LED to blink at different rates although it isn’t exactly clear which speed of blinking lights applies to which state. Combine that with multiple buttons combinations and it gets even more confusing. For example, the unit has a blue-blinking LED around each earpiece when the unit is “paired” with the transmitter. When you’re wearing the headset you look like something out of “pimp my ride” and generally get stared at in public (more than normal, I mean). Natch, I wanted to turn this off which meant “Push #3 on left and right center-ear button simultaneously”. Not exactly intuitive considering the many combinations of options of Jabra-Push-Types (see above) and the fact that there are two buttons on the headset and 1 on the A125s iPod unit.
I’ve used the Jabra BT620s headset on planes, trains (Bart) and
automobiles buses with great success. The only challenge I’ve found, besides the “Pimp Your Head” glares on the 41 Union, is that when you turn your head the bluetooth cuts out. This is true not only when I put the ipod in my backpack, but even if I have it in my pocket on the right-hand-side (as it says in the manual. See, I told you I read it.). You’re probably asking, “who needs to turn their head.” I know. I live a crazy life. To be clear on this point: it only happens when my iPod is in my pocket, not if it’s on my desk, and the sound does come right back about a half second later if I turn straight again.
Overall I’m very happy with the headset. It frees me from untangling my iPod earphones and I can throw my iPod in my bag and control everything I need without missing a call. It’s not exactly the ideal setup for me personally to use long-term, but I know that my issues don’t necessarily reflect everyone elses.
The only major downside to the vision of wireless is: you don’t really get rid of wires, you just transfer them. Now I have a charger for my adaptor that plugs into my iPod and a charger for the headset. In essence, I’ve reduced the wires I carry around with me, but haven’t solved the wire problem in my apartment. In fact, it made it worse.
Oh, and when writing this, Jeremy asked me to also summarize who is the target market for the BT620s. Here’s my bulleted list:
- Those few people that have iPods
As an aside, my prediction is that the next gen of iPods to come out (around the time of iPhone) will have Bluetooth embedded.