Review: Nokia BH-601 Headphones

By David Boyd on 9 Jan 2008 02:23 pm EST
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Nokia BH-601 Headphones
Stereo Sound with no wires!

If you want to enjoy music on the move with your BlackBerry device, then the Nokia BH-601 Stereo Bluetooth Headset is for you. This sleek headset offers you wireless music, and the ability to seamlessly transfer to a phone call as needed. These comfortable headphones provide excellent sound quality for even the most finicky audiophile.

Headphone Features and Design

The BH-601 is compatible with all devices supporting A2DP Bluetooth technology for stereo audio. In the BlackBerry realm, the BlackBerry Curves (8300, 8310, 8320), BlackBerry 8820 and 8830 and new BlackBerry Pearls (8130, 8120, 8110). It also seems likely that the upcoming release of OSv4.3.1 may enable stereo Bluetooth on older devices (Pearl 8100 and 8800). Easy to use controls are integrated right into the headset. The color scheme is a sleek silver and black mix, with a behind the neck connecting band.

Features include:

  • Controls for MP3 player and phone calls integrated into the headset: volume, forward, back and multi-function key for switching between music and phone calls.
  • Large comfortable headphones. 
  • Up to 8 hours of talk or music listening time and up to 180 hours of standby.
Stylish headphones for the audiophile in you
Stylish Headphones for the Audiophile in you

Unboxing

The BH-601’s came is standard plastic packaging you would come to expect from most cellular phone accessories. The front window of the box shows you a good view of how the headphones look. The rest of the accessories included are hidden behind the packing.

Included in Sales Package:

Nokia Bluetooth Headset BH-601 and User Guide.

  • Nokia Wireless Audio Adapter AD-47W and User Guide.
  • Nokia Compact Charger AC-4U.
  • Spare pair of earphone pads.
The BH-601 in the box
The Nokia BH-601 In the Box
 
The Nokia BH-601 Unboxed
The Nokia BH-601 Unboxed
 

Pairing with my Blackberry Curve 8320

Pairing the BH-601 with my BlackBerry Curve 8320 was very simple. Simply holding down the multifunction button on the headset for approximately 10 seconds put the device into pairing mode. I then had my Curve search for Bluetooth devices, and it found the BH-601. I entered in the standard passcode of 0000, and it was a done deal. I now had blue flashing LED’s on both my Curve and the BH-601’s.

Putting the BH-601 to use

The Nokia BH-601 is my first Bluetooth stereo headset. I was skeptical at first about just how good the sound quality would be, but boy was I wrong. I have never been a big fan of portable MP3 players, and have never owned a stand alone unit. When BlackBerry started to come out with consumer devices that could handle music and movies, I started to move into the digital media arena. I still don’t have a bunch of MP3’s on my Curve, but I do have some. I started off using the BH-601’s with my limited selection of music.

I was amazed at how well the sound was. It was crisp and clear, with no static. I moved around the room, while leaving my Curve in a stationary location. The clarity never faltered, and the signal was always strong. I tried out the integrated control buttons, and found that they all responded just like they should. I could raise and lower the volume as needed, and skip around to different tracks as desired. Now that music listening had been tried and tested, it was time to move on to a movie.

I am a much bigger movie buff, and had a plethora of movies on my microSD card. I first pull up 300 and was ready to start the viewing experience. The movie was playing just as it should, but the audio was coming from the device speaker, and not the BH-601. I thought maybe there was a setting I needed to adjust in the menu, but after looking, there was no option to change. I tried another movie, and received the same results. I was confused with why this was not working, and there was nothing mentioned in the instruction manual on what I needed to do. I called a friend of mine who has a Motorola Bluetooth stereo headphone, and told him of my troubles. He informed me that he has the same issue with his, and believed that it was just a limitation of the headphones. I did some searching around the internet, and low and behold… The headphones are good for music listening only. This was a big disappointment for me. However, to be fair, the packaging does not advertise that it will work for anything other than music and calls.

So now I will see how the BH-601 handles calls. I’ve used plenty of Bluetooth headsets for calls in the past, but none have been stereo headphones. My Curve has voice dialing, and the BH-601 supports that feature. I pressed the multi-function button and a volume button at the same time to initiate voice dialing. I said who I wanted to call, and it did not pick it up, and gave me commands again to say a name. This time I spoke a little louder, and it worked like it was supposed to. Before you knew it, I was speaking with my wife and interrupting her in a meeting. Oops. I tested the volume control, and it worked, and I could also disconnect the call when ended. The one thing that I found very odd was that the sound for the call only came out the left side of the headphones. I was thinking that since it was a stereo headphone, that I would get sound out of both sides. I was wrong. The call was loud and clear, but I am just used to always having my Bluetooth headset on my right ear. It was just different for me. The microphone is on the right side of the headphone, on the back side. I’m not sure why it’s located there, but it did not appear to cause any issues with how well my callers could hear me. Overall, phone call quality was good.

One last little feature that I used with the BH-601 is the included Nokia Wireless Audio Adapter. With this little device, you can use the BH-601’s to listen to music on other devices that don’t have Bluetooth connectivity such as other PDA’s or laptops. Following the instructions, I placed the BH-601 in pairing mode, and then plugged in the adapter into my laptop. The two devices found each other, and paired together. I went to my music files on the computer, and found once again, that the sound quality was exemplary with the BH-601’s. Volume control worked as expected, but the forward and reverse buttons did nothing. That was the only negative thing I found with using the adapter.

I wore the BH601 for well over an hour and it caused me no discomfort. I’m sure that like any other headset long term use will start to cause some irritation; however I never experienced this since I only wore them for an hour at a time.

Side View of the Nokia BH-601
A Sideview of the Nokia BH-601
 
The BH-601 Adapter
The Nokia Wireless Audio Adapter

What to do with the headphones when not in use

The BH-601’s do not come with a storage case. They also do not fold up into a more compact size. They can hang around your neck when you need to temporarily take them off, but for long term storage, they can be bulky. I’d like to see some future improvement from Nokia that gives them the ability to fold up when not in use.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I found the Nokia Bluetooth Headset BH-601 to be a high quality headset. The sound quality was loud and clear, and the music sounded just as full as you’d expect to hear it on a regular set of speakers. For true audiophiles out there, the BH-601 is a great investment. The battery time is great, and the benefit of being able to handle phone calls as well is just icing on the cake.

Nokia BH-601 Headphones Review Summary:
Nokia BH-601 Headphones
Nokia BH-601 Ratings

Pros:

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Easy to use and setup
  • Integrated controls

Cons:

  • Does not function with movies
  • Headset controls did not work with adapter
Buy Now:
Purchase the Nokia BH-601 Headphones in the CrackBerry.com Store

Reader comments

Review: Nokia BH-601 Headphones

1 Comment

They look very like the Motorola ones that I have. Shame that they dont look like they charge from the USB as the moto ones do. Another charger to bring around for the BlackBerry traveller. Then again, even my dog has a Nokia charger to spare at this stage!