Like any dealer does, they provide the addicted the means to use again and again. Hey simmer down; I’m only talking about RIM and their BlackBerry smartphones. What did you think I was talking about?! If you browse through the CrackBerry accessory store, you will see that they also provide the accessories to help you continue to use. Sigh, I mean use your BlackBerry. They have BlackBerry branded cases, holsters, skins, batteries, chargers and handsfree headsets. They also have their music gateway, presenter and, yes, even Bluetooth headsets. That last one was pretty obvious, seeing as how this a BlackBerry HS-300 Bluetooth headset review.
The BlackBerry HS-300 bluetooth headset came out a couple of months ago and is RIM’s latest entry. It could be considered their entry level headset, but you should find it offers much more than other “entry level” headsets. It’s designed to help keep you chatting, legally, behind the wheel with a minimum charge. A mere 15 minutes worth of juice gives you 2 hours worth of jibber jabber. In other words; take charge with less of a charge.
Packaging and Profile
RIM has had quite a few entries in the Bluetooth headset world. I still remember the BlackBerry/ Plantronics 655 bluetooth headset from a few years ago. Since then, we’ve seen the likes of the HS-700 and the HS-500. With the HS-300, it appears as though they are putting the emphasis on making their headsets more affordable. It can be found at the CrackBerry Canada Store currently (yay alliteration!) for $44.95. To compare, you can pick up the HS-500 for $69.95 and the HS-700 for $109.95.
I really like the direction BlackBerry packaging is going. Gone are the oversized boxes of yesterday. The same is seen with the packaging for the HS-300. Of course you forget about the packaging once it’s ripped open. With the now ravaged remains of the box you will find:
1 BlackBerry HS-300 Bluetooth headset
4 ear gels of various sizes
1 ear hook
1 BlackBerry micro-USB cable
1 USB Power plug
The design of the HS-300 is quite simplistic. Basically, you have the charging port, the power switch, LED and the call control button. Oh and of course the BlackBerry logo etched into the body.
Fit and Functionality
I’ve had both the HS-300 and the HS-500; they have the same gels and ear hook. I found the ear hook dug into my ear slightly, but my own ears may be to blame. It wasn’t enough to make it uncomfortable, but it was enough for you to remember you’re wearing such a lightweight headset. Regardless, the ear gels and removable ear hook offer support for fit.
There are no volume control buttons on the headset; requiring you to adjust it via your BlackBerry. This makes it a little difficult (and in some part of the world, illegal) to change the volume while driving. What the headset does offer is automatic volume adjustment. As the volume of the noise around you decreases or increases, so does the call volume. I was hoping to see some sort of noise cancellation available- I guess you can’t have everything.
The call control button easily handles standard commands, such as; muting, ignoring calls, redial, call waiting and so on. It also provides a female voice confirmation for commands that you make. These voice prompts include:
It’s not interactive as you would see in the BlueAnt line of products, but the voice prompts are an excellent addition. The voice commands were very quiet; I assumed that the volume would match that of the actual call. Oh well, I don’t mind a woman whispering in my ear (but my wife would).
How often do you forget to charge a headset? I know I do and I also know that if it’s close to being dead, I’ll need an hour to charge- at least. Not with this headset. Having 2 hours of talk time from only 15 minutes of charging is outstanding. For a headset on the fly, this one is the obvious choice.
A simple no nonsense Bluetooth headset. In the spirit of BlackBerry, this headset fits in nicely. Think about it; a quick hit is all it needs to join in on you feeding your BlackBerry addiction. The voice prompts could be a bit louder, but then again perhaps it’s supposed to simulate the voices in your head. The BlackBerry HS-300 Bluetooth headset can be found at the CrackBerry Canada store for $44.95.
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