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Dear Berry: Which bluetooth headset should I buy?

Dear Berry
By Dear Berry on 26 Feb 2012 04:27 pm EST
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Welcome back CrackBerry Nation to another edition of Dear Berry! It's time to crack (excuse the pun) open the mailbag and answer another question by one of our readers. This week's submission was sent in courtesy of Karla who writes:

Hi, I have a the Bold 9780 and wanted to know what you would recommend for a headset that can notify you of incoming calls ID, emails and text and gps plus other apps. Thanks in advance.

-Karla 

Dear Karla,
This is a really great question Karla and one that posed quite a challenge to answer so I thank you for sending it in. When selecting a headset, I normally judge each one by these three factors: quality, comfort, and features. If a BT headset is uncomfortable or sounds like I'm in a tunnel it doesn't get my seal of approval. Now that I've gotten that out of the way, my recommendation for you is ... and in my best impersonation of Ryan Seacrest ....you'll find out after the break!

The BlueAnt Q2 Smart Bluetooth headset

BlueAnt Q2

Now a lot of research and real world testing went into this decision to make sure it met all of my demands as well as yours. The Q2 is perfect because it offers full voice command control, clear sound even when in crowded and noisy areas, and feels as if you're not wearing it thanks to the soft ear gels and removable ear hook. All of the functions are accessible simply by speaking them including answering or ignoring calls. The Q2 will download your entire contact list so it can announce the names and numbers of incoming calls. You can access movies, news, sports and more by just saying the command as they've integrated Microsoft Bing-411 into the software. Overall, its a solid accessory that is easy to use, offers great battery life, comes with text to speech capabilities, and is able to stream music. 

Getting back to your main concern, what you'll want to do is combine this with a solid voice-recognition app. Whether you're in or out of the car, you won't be constantly grabbing your device to look something up. They'll certainly give your fingers a rest by reading your incoming messages, dictating emails and texts, searching for restaurants and directions, or opening up native applications. I highly recommend you check them out. I tested using Vlingo (Q2 was designed to work with Vlingo Safereader which is now Vlingo-Virtual Assistant), Drive Safe.ly, and Google Search all of which are compatible with your device and work seamlessly with the Q2. Personally, I've been using this headset for quite some time and it gives the best hands-free experience out of all the ones I own.

I hope this helps in your search for a headset. You can read more about the Q2 in our forums or by reading our reviews before heading over to ShopCrackBerry and ordering yours.

More information / purchase the BlueAnt Q2
CrackBerry Labs: BlueAnt Q2 vs Motorola Oasis Bluetooth
Review: BlueAnt Q2 Smart Bluetooth Headset

- Berry

Now let's turn the floor over to the CrackBerry nation and see what they have to say. What headset would you recommend for Karla?

Have a question about BlackBerry etiquette? Need advice on how to cope with your BlackBerry addiction? Dear Berry has you covered. Submit any of your BlackBerry woes by email to dearberry@crackberry.com or on Twitter @DearBerryCB.

See you next week!

Reader comments

Dear Berry: Which bluetooth headset should I buy?

22 Comments

i tried to replace an older motorola h375. i love the simple operation and sound quality of this ear piece. the uniden i tried as a replacement is highly frustrating to use.

what ear pieces function like the h375?

Thanks! This is exactly what I've been looking for. Trying to find the best bt for my bold 9780, you just made my search a lot easier.

The sennheiser voice max 200! Amazing headset! It's pricey but it is very loud and cancels noise. I have a loud car and it's not a problem at all for hearing and for the person listening. Here's some features:

VoiceMax™ technology – Two built-in microphones working seamlessly to emphasize voice quality and remove external noise
High-end speakers – Top quality sound experience
Extremely small and lightweight – Weighing just 10g, providing excellent comfort for hours on end
Award-winning design - Elegant and robust with steel casing
Convenient multi-connection - Connect to two devices simultaneously (phones and computers)
Hours of use - Six hours of talk time, 10 days of stand-by time
Versatile charging options - AC adapter for wall charging or by USB cable
Easy call control - Three buttons for simple, intuitive control of multiple functions
The latest Bluetooth® technology - Version 3.0 + E

I like Jawbone, I've been using them since the first model and have upgraded accordingly. You can update the last two models via Jawbone website. Jawbone is a remarkable earpiece with the ability to enhance.....Awsome

I use a stereo bluetooth headset in case I want to listen to music while I'm out. There are several similar types to the http://reviews.cnet.com/headsets/jabra-clipper-bluetooth-stereo/4505-138... that allow you to switch the actual wired earbuds for a better quality sound. This option is also handy should you wear out the bluetooth battery. You can simply just plug the wired earbuds directly into the phone or tablet. I've read that Sonly has a very decent model like this.

Sony Ericsson MW600 Stereo Bluetooth

I used to have the Q2 and love blue ant products. I went back to my favorite brand, which is Plantronics and currently have the Voyager Pro HD. Love this headset and the fact that I can take this out of my ear and calls go automatically to my phone. The minute I put it in my ear, calls automatically go to the headset.

I am agreeing with LyBerry. Plantronics have always been a favorite of mine. I tested Jawbone and Motorola flavors but always end up back with the Plantronics.

Can it also reads the phone number and the person who is calling (at least if the contact is in the Contacts) before taking the call.

+1 on the Plantronics. I've been through them all, except the BlueAnt. Once I tried the Plantronics Voyager Pro, I stopped looking. I won the similar looking Motorola BT from CrackBerry, the range was excellent, but the incoming sound was tunnely compared to the Plantronics. I talked my wife into getting the Pro+ which is far better than the Pro, I imagine the Pro HD is better still. The boom mic style is a bit geeky, but its worth it.
Thanks for your recommendation, I didn't know the BlueAnt was so capable.

I'd totally recommend the Blackberry HS-700 headset, Great sound quality, battery life, voice actions, supports A2DP (can play music, general sound through it), the ear clip is perfect and the headset simply will never fall off your ear if even if you swing your head around wildly while it is on.

And best part: it is cheap, but doesn't feel at all like a cheap headset .I got mine for $30, regular price is about $130 and it almost always seems to be on sale.

Oh and just because the headset is made by RIM doesn't mean you have to use it with a Blackberry.

I use one with my Android; works perfectly, my brother uses one with his iPhone; works perfectly, and my sister uses one with her Blackberry. It works perfectly.

It's really that good. Everyone I know has one.

Concession beat me to the punch. Had a Q1 Blueant before (actually two as it was cheaper to just get another on sale than to waste too much time chasing down a lost proprietary USB cable that Blueant used on that model). Was getting too much static on the Bluant and went looking for a replacement. Picked up a BB HS-700 for $24 through Amazon and couldn't be happier. May not be latest model but sound quality and integration with my 9650 is great, plus now only have micro USB connections to contend with for all my devices. Don't know about the Q2 Blueant, but the Q1 used a completely unique USB connector which is a real pain (kind of an asymmmetrical trapezoid shape nowhere to ne found). Curious whether Blueant saw the light on the Q2 and adopted the micro USB connection.

Yes the Q2 has a micro-USB.

General Specifications
Bluetooth v2.1
Up to 10 meters (33 feet) RF coverage
CE, FCC, BQB, Ctick, RoHS/WEEE Compliant
Headset Profile, Handsfree Profile and A2DP
Micro USB Connector

I use the Jawbone Icon. I have had it for over a year and it is still working. I sync it to both my work and personal phone. My personal is a Bold 9930. I also work around alot of fan noise and outside in the wind. People do not even know I am using a blue tooth headset. Battery life is still good after over a year of use. I can also listen to music on it from my BB 9930.

I picked up the Q2 a couple of weeks ago from Future shop, both them and BestBuy have it on sale for $60 til the end of February (I believe). So far the sound quality has been very good. Battery life has been okay, seems shorter than advertised buti haven't kept track of exact times. Haven't tried all the fancy stuff, I just need to have a headset that does the job and so far so good. It's comfortable and light, sometimes I need to adjust it in my ear (i don't use the hook). So far I only recall two conversations where people had some complaint about sound quality. For the price and the quality I am happy with this purchase.

I bought the Blue Ant Q2 in October and I love the sound quality, battery life and ease of use. The only down side is that mine has fallen apart (wear and tear). I am still going to purchase a new one; best blue tooth I have ever used.

Has anyone had any luck with the Q2 and the 9900? I tried it for a few days and kept getting calls with no audio. A call to BlueAnt tech support told me that I would have to restart my 9900 to resolve this known issue with 9900's and that it would likely be a frequent occurrence. So I took the Q2 back and am currently struggling through life with a Jawbone Era which is far from trouble free.

While nothing is flawless, the Plantronics Voyager Pro has worked very well with my 9900. The native voice commands are limited, but it works ok with Vlingo. The best thing about it is that no one I'm calling can tell that I'm on a bluetooth device - even when in a noisy environment. The worst thing about it is the lack of really good voice command integration - and that you look like something from Tron when wearing it.

BlueAnt Q2 all the way - I miss my old BlueAnt that actually had a lit up blue ant on the side! conversation starter it was for sure!!

great quality, announces calls by name if in phone book and allows you to "answer or ignore" by voice command, great Bing411 integration, AWESOME with Vlingo (thanks RIM - free as the PLUS version), stereo playback of handset music files, ALL GOOD!

Also, love my BlueAnt S-4 visor mount BT, 100% handsfree for in the car - say "BlueAnt, speak to me" and it activates with "Say a command" then simply say "phone commands" and you have your BB at your service. GREAT with Vlingo too - just not 100% hands free : hold the phone in my hand and without looking away from road hold down the convenience key and control it all~!