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
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
Manual, Quick Start Guide and Warranty Card (a 2 year warranty folks!)
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 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.
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.
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.
The V1 works great from the beginning of the call...
...to the end!
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
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