Review: BlueAnt V1 Bluetooth Headset

By Ryan Blundell on 3 Dec 2008 01:58 pm EST
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BlueAnt V1 Bluetooth Headset

My biggest pet peeve involves people who talk on the phone while driving. Yes, I’m talking to you! Cell phone use while driving is being banned in more and more places, so what are you going to do now?! Even though I would prefer to see you cry, I would suggest that you look into getting into a BlueTooth Headset. If you search through CrackBerry.com, you will find countless reviews and member testimonials for various headsets of all shapes and sizes.

You can look at this as either the light at the end of the tunnel…or another headache added to your BlueTooth confusion.

BlueAnt’s V1 Bluetooth headset is the first of its kind. Powered by BlueGenie™ voice interface, the V1 is the world’s first voice-controlled headset. Though I have seen quite a few headsets in my day, this little guy intrigued me. With the V1 talking to me, and I to the V1, I was hoping that we wouldn’t engage in a battle of wits….as I am unarmed.

With features like voice isolation technology, dual microphones and quick access to GOOG-411 (Google’s free 411 service), this may keep your hands off of your BlackBerry and back on the wheel.

Yakety Yak, Don’t Talk Back

The ant in its ant farm
The ant in its ant farm

The Hardware

Quite the elaborate package for the BlueAnt V1, no? They’ve put the V1 up on a pedestal already, I can’t wait to see if it’ll stay up there. I took a lot of care in opening the package, the glue was quite strong and I didn’t want to bend the metal lid and bottom too much. After what turned out to be a careful, yet successful extraction, here’s what I found;

  • BlueAnt V1 BlueTooth Headset
  • Metal & Rubber Ear Hook
  • Translucent Ear Hook (not as comfy, but looks really cool!)
  • Small and Large rubber ear gels
  • Small and Large Comply™ Foam Tips
  • Gooseneck USB Cable
  • USB Adapter
  • Car Charger
  • AC Adapter
  • Manual, Quick Start Guide and Warranty Card (a 2 year warranty folks!)
The Ant's Picnic
The Ant’s Picnic

Whew, that’s a lot. The V1 is moderately sized, the dimensions being 41mm long x 17.5mm wide x 11.2mm thick. It weighs 10g without an ear hook and 11g with. On one side of the headset, you’ll find the aptly sized volume up and down buttons. On the other, there are two microphones. Its face sports a multi-function button, dubbed the BAB (BlueAnt Button). The BAB is adorned with the BlueAnt logo of course.  The gel ear tips, that come with the V1, sit further into your ear than the BlueAnt Z9 headset, these were a little uncomfortable for me, so I switched to the Comply™ foam tips, which also help block surrounding noise. Having a look at the V1’s under belly, there’s quite the set up. Next to the ear piece, there’s a metal clip used to secure the V1 to your shirt, jacket or pants pocket when not in use. The ear hook swivel sits on the clip and allows for the ear hook to rotate 360 degrees for easy switching between the left and right ear. 

The ear loop swivels easily
The ear loop swivels easily

Front view
Front view!

The V1 averages a talk time of 5 hours and a standby time of 200 hours.  From what the manual stated and what I experienced; the charge time for the V1 is 2- 2 ½ hours. A quick call to test out their level of Customer Service revealed prompt connection to a knowledgeable and courteous representative – Thanks Dave.

The Technology

Combining the high quality BlueAnt Voice Isolation Technology and the dual microphones, you get clear, crisp sound. With this DSP (Digital Signal Processor) software, you’ll experience an amazing reduction of background noise. Your callers will hear your isolated voice, and echo cancellation so they can be heard. The Standard and Max Voice Isolation settings seen on the Z9 are also found on the V1. During the call, press the BAB to switch between the two settings. Typically, the Standard setting is used in “normal everyday environments”, without compromising your natural voice. The Max setting is used in areas of high noise. Despite being told that my voice sounded a bit more metallic, I could still be heard clearly. While in the car, the Max setting is required.

The most important feature is the BlueGenie™ Voice interface. Not only are most of the V1’s functions controllable by voice, but the headset will talk back you as well! Even if you need help, tips or tricks, just ask and the headset will verbally assist you. The V1 has a masculine voice and even though it’s still fairly new, it’s already past puberty.  Don’t tell my wife this, but I wish that the gender of the voice could be changed.

It’s always best to read the manual before you begin to tinker with your new toy. Then again, the V1 will help you set up and pair up by vocal instruction.  You’ll hear a vast number of phrases from Mr. Voice.  If you receive a call, the V1 will announce the number from the Caller ID, you’ll hear “Call from [phone number]. Answer or Ignore.” Then say either command, depending if want to take the call or not. 

BlueAnt CommandsCommands you can use
The list of commands you can use 

The interface is very intuitive, as there is even a mode where it will help you say the commands properly. Pressing the BAB brings you to the voice command mode. The voice command allows for speed dial calls, quick calls to home, work or your favourite number. Saying GOOG-411 connects you to Google’s free 411. If you would rather have the voice turned off, then a simple beep sound will take its place.

The V1 can also mute a call, transfer it from itself to the phone and back again. Up to 8 phones can be supported by the V1. The pairing information stored on the phone can be erased by resetting the V1. 

BlueAnt V1 works great from the beginning of the call
The V1 works great from the beginning of the call...
 
To the end!
...to the end!

Final Thoughts

The BlueAnt V1 offers true hands off call control. Being able to verbally dial, answer or reject calls is much better than taking your hand off of the wheel. Not all functions can be accessed by a voice command - such as switching the voice isolation settings. The call quality is fantastic, in my opinion, it’s easily on par with the Plantronics headsets I’ve reviewed. Those new to the Bluetooth world will appreciate the vocal commands and assistance. The BlueAnt V1 is available at the CrackBerry Store for $89.95.

BlueAnt Bluetooth with BlueGenie™. Say that too many times and you’ll go blue in the
face.


Summary: BlueAnt V1 Bluetooth Headset

Pros:

  • Intuitive call command a assistance
  • Lightweight design
  • Supports GOOG-411
Cons:
  • no multi-language support
  • no selection for voice

Ratings:

  • Design & Function: 5/5
  • Sound Quality: 4.5/5
  • Aesthetics: 5/5
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Comfort: 4.5/5

Purchase

Reader comments

Review: BlueAnt V1 Bluetooth Headset

37 Comments

I LOVE MY JAWBONE 2 even though speaker broke after 4 months, i replaced it at bestbuy. with STORM it works great!!!

I just got the z9i this weekend and its a great headset so I too am curious as to how it compares to this one. Correct me if im wrong, but dont our Blackberry's voice software already do everything this one does except for the call ID of course. With the z9i all you do is just tap the button and the voice software prompts on my Curve, is this one way better?

I own the Z9i and have loved it since it hit the market. I spend a great deal of time on the road and here in Washington State it is illegal to hang on to your cell phone. I can't imagine an improvement with the V1 over the perfect Z9i but if so then it must absolutely rock.

I know that with the law changing in Canada I will need one. I do NOT drive while talking/texting/emailing! I pull over on the side of the road. If i miss a call oh well. my point is I have to lovely kids and want to be as safe as possible but I also want the best handsfree out there. so please comment so i can see what others think. I am muslim and cover my head with a hijab so i need something that will not be muffeled! thanks

Sarah

"With the V1 talking to me, and I to the V1, I was hoping that we wouldn’t engage in a battle of wits….as I am unarmed."

---Hi-Lar-ious! Hahahahahahaha! I stupid too!

I've had this headset for a while and one thing I don't like is that I can't get it to seat in my ear securely. Also, when it announces the number, you have to wait for it to read the ENTIRE number (about 2-3) rings before you can answer it. I am unsure whether you can get the device to read the name from your address book so you only know whos calling if you remember the numbers.

yes and when saying phone commands will go o your phone operation ie call mom bypassing the limit of the 9 speed dials in the device

I have had Many (about 15) different headsets since the arrival of bluetooth. I hooked up with blueant with the intro of the z9 and have stuck with them ever since. The V1 is absolutely the BEST headset out there. No question. I would reccommend this to everyone!!!! I can't say anymore.

I tried this headset out for 10 days. I ended up returning it. Mine might have been a bad unit, but there was a lot of static when I was talking. Also, answering a phone call didn't work so well (when a call came in I said answer and nothing happened, then I tried to push the button and it said "say a command"). Oh well, no big deal, I switched to the MotoPure H12 and haven't had any problems.

The Best Buy salesguy only had two "associates" reviews to go by on this headset (both very positive), so he asked me to Email him my thoughts... cutting and pasting my Email last night to him:

It didn't take me long to love and want to give you a review of this Blue Ant V1. That's especially cool since I wasn't digging the Jawbone at all--even when it did work right.

The Blue Ant kicks the hell out to the Jawbone, in my opinion. The voice commands make this thing amazing. Not only can I use the 10 speed dials in the device (including free Google Directory Assistance by simply saying "Goog-411") set up with the device, I can simply say Phone Commands and then access the Storm's (my) contact database. But one HUGE plus is that the Blue Ant announces the number of the caller in my ear, so I don't even have to look at the Blackberry to see who is calling. And then it asks me: "Answer or ignore?" I say what I want to do, and that's it. There's more on the voice control, including the fact that you don't have to memorize the cryptic commands of the Jawbone, but just some of the features mentioned above are enough to give it a major advantage over any other headset available now.

Pairing was more than easy with the voice commands. It practically did the whole thing automatically.

The Blue Ant has a higher quality feel than the Jawbone II (and is smaller--the original Jawbone looked better in my opinion), including the way you connect it to the charger, and it includes the car adapter. It's also more comfortable. The reviews I read indicated the Blue Ant comes close to the Jawbone in sound quality (and I made a few calls tonight and everyone sounded fine, and said I sounded great), but its battery lasts longer. (Today I called someone from the shoulder of a road with cars whizzing by at 40mph and he didn't hear one of them).

And my only gripe was the flashing blue LED ant logo while in standby mode, and lo and behold, there's a voice command "LED LIGHT OFF".... perfect!

NO CONTEST. I love this thing,, and it makes me not hate the idea of having that thing in my ear walking around, since it's so practical. I hope I love the second one I'll have to get when I lose this one.

I have to agree with the comments regarding expensive shipping to Canada. I have considered purchasing several items from the CB store, but the shipping prices are brutal.

If the CB store wants Canadian customers, you need to hook up with USPS for shipping. The only time it makes sense to ship with UPS or Fedex is for expensive items (over $200) as they have services that include brokerage fees.

When items are shipped USPS, Canada Post arranges for collection of taxes and customs fees so it is all around a better service in most cases.

- Owen

I've had a V1 for a month now and love it. It takes some getting used to at first but it has quickly become a great business tool for me. I wrote a review as well on my blog and recommended it to others. I've talked with BlueAnt and the next firmware update should be ready for download within a few weeks.

http://www.coffeedharma.com/review/blueant-v1/

"My biggest pet peeve involves people who talk on the phone while driving."

My biggest pet peeve is people who whine about people who talk on a cell phone while driving. How in the sam hell does an earpiece make any difference? I really dont think it does. Just my personal opinion.

"My biggest pet peeve is people who whine about people who talk on a cell phone while driving. How in the sam hell does an earpiece make any difference? I really dont think it does. Just my personal opinion."

Um, Hands Free. As I drive a lot, I see sloppy, careless, rude, and inconsiderate drivers talking while holding their cell phone everyday! Describing buffoons is not whining! Get a headset- it really makes a difference on how you drive.

With all that great voice activation technology and headset smarts, I wish the voice genie .. knew how to handle call waiting!
From what i've read the z9i can handle call waiting but my V1 cant... i've tried it, only to hang up on the first caller.

I've also read somewhere (and can't remember where) that there is a setting on the Pearl 8130 that is best suited for the V1 so as to give clear crisp sound, instead of the tunnel echo-ish sounds i give the person calling me. Oh well .. i really bought it to use with my Storm .. and yes it does work well with the Storm.

The V1 does work with the Storm. I've been using mine for a few days and have had no troubles at all. If the shipping charge is an issue, Amazon has it for the same price with free shipping in the US (sorry Crackberry). I'm not sure if that applies to Canada or not but just a FYI.

At first, I tried the Jawbone II but had a horrible time getting it to fit right. With that unit, if the fit isn't right it won't work the way it is intended. I hear people had luck with a different brand of ear gels but I tried the V1 instead. So far I really like the V1, the fit isn't perfect for me but much better than the Jawbone II. It's true that you have to wait for the caller ID to finish to answer via voice command, but if it really bothers you, the BAB (Blue Ant Button) can be used to manually answer the call. Overall, I think the V1 is the best bluetooth headset I've used by a longshot.

From the reviews I've read on Amazon, most people are annoyed that the v1 doesn't allow you to say "Call Joe Schmo", but have to assign it to one of 9 speed dial listings. I use the BB Curve, and it has Voice Dialing, so my question is, can you do that through the v1, or are you tied to it's own limitations while placing a call?

You can still use your Blackberry's normal voice commands. You just say "phone commands" and it connects you to the standard voice commands on your phone.

Definitely a winner in my book, I've found something else to add to my Christmas list! Thanks for the review!

I really like this earpiece. I have problems finding one that fits my small ear opening. The earbud choices are great. Jawbone did not fit me. Voice Quality is very good.

The voice commands are great. Eay to re-pair, check battery & Call Home, etc. No need to use phone voise dialing.

ATTENTION TREO USERS. It works!! Thus, now you can have voice dialing!!!

WARNING: Can only really be used in the RIGHT ear. The microphones are only on one side (bottom) & thus must be used in the Right ear. Otherwise person you are talking to cannot hear you well.

Looks no bigger than the Motorola one I'm using currently.. I think with the OT I'm putting in at work it's time for an upgrade or a new main Bluetooth unit and keep my Motorola one as a backup.

I like the Blue Ant products. I use the Blue Ant ST-3 bluetooth speakerphone in my car with my Curve 8300 and it works great. Even works with speech recognition if you talk real deliberately...

I've had the V1 for about 2 months now and here is my conclusion:

I had a Gen 1 and a Gen 2 Jawbone, as well as my trusty Moto H300 backup, and I have to say this is the best BT headset I have ever owned. It's super easy to set up and use. The commands are intuitive yet can be turned off to suit your needs and preferences. It works flawlessly with my Curve. The 'Phone Commands' work great with the BB's built in voice commands.

The only drawback or peeve I have with it is the 'line of sight' issue. If you wear the headset on the left side and your phone on your right side, your call might drop, the sound quality is terrible and an incoming call might just go straight to voicemail without even ringing.

I would strongly suggest wearing the headset on the same side you carry your phone on and you should have no problems. Other than that, this is by far the best headset I've owned to date.

For the posters who were wondering about the difference between the Z9i and the V1 - aside from the voice controls (pretty good, but not really that essential) is the fit. The V1 is made to go deeper in the ear with several different ear pieces. I think that the fit is much better than the Z9i. In addition to the earpieces that are included in the package, you can use Shure replacement earbuds.

As far as the comparision to the Jawbone II, my wife has one so I was able to do a little side by side comparison. I think the comparisons boil down to a mix of objective and subjective.

While I have no gauge other than my own hearing and perception, I did a couple of voice tests by leaving a pretty long voicemail (read the same paragraph out of a book inside and outdoors) at my home phone using both headsets (JBII and V1) and the various sound isolation options for each headset. I personally thought that the V1 sounded the best, but the JBII was certainly clear as well. At the maximum sound isolation setting, I thought that the V1 sounded a little more 'tinny' and not as good as the JBII.

The subjective part that won't apply universally is the fit and individual preferences surrounding fit. For example - I personally like a really snug, in-the-ear fit, but understand that sometimes the sound quality gets a bit muffled as a result. Having said that, both headsets fit pretty well, but I personally prefer the V1.

I tried the BlueAnt headset and found the volume was inadequate when used with my Pearl. Contacted BlueAnt support who replied there has been issues with some Blackberry handsets. Didn't work out for me, thought it was a pretty good except I could not hear the call in noisy places. Oh, and you can't run the volume up/down from the Blackberry - the BlueAnt disables the volume controls on the BB by design.

For about every 3-4 calls the call does not connect to the V1. Their tech support asked me to do all kinds of checks for them. In the end they blame it on my phone. That same phone works just fine with the Jawbone. Somehow its still
my problem. Go figure. I cracked 2 Jawbones in 1/2 by
accident. I have two boys and each took a crack on it sorta
speak. I called them both times and told them exactly what
happened. They replaced it on the spot!

Am I the only one with this issue?

IMO after using the JBII is is a step above. I say at the noise shield max the noise reduction beats the JB almost
hands down. As far as comfort no comparison.
5hrs talk time as opposed to 4 with the JBII.
Only con; if you use the voice activated dialing
of the V1 it only has presets for speed dials.
But that can be overidden by your phones voice command.
My phone is the Storm.
Oh and lastly u don't have to worry about having
this one touch your cheek.

I was thrilled with the headset for about 1 month.....then the noise cancellation stopped working! I tried every troubleshooting tip offered...resetting, upgrading firmware, etc. Finally, I contacted tech support. They are useless! Kept giving me generic instructions on things I had already tried. End result....I bought a Jawbone 2 and tossed the worthless Blueant V1 in the trash!!!

The speed dial for 8310 is alpha characters and the V1 is numeric. How do I get them to work together and recognize when using the voice dialing?
Right now I say call home and instead it dials my boss. LOL but not really funny.
Boss is in the "G" on speed dial BB and it dials position 2 in V!