‘Round and ‘Round it goes, where it stops, nobody knows!
A strange circular object has been seen hovering around CrackBerry.com and it has many in a frenzy. What is this mysterious, round mobile technology that is allowing communication to go far beyond a handset (well 33 feet anyway)? Lock up your children! Head to your cellar! The invasion has begun!!!
Oh..wait, it’s Samsung’s WEP 500 Bluetooth Headset. Another of Samsung’s leading Bluetooth Accessories, the WEP 500 sports a unique circular design. The simplistic controls add to its futuristic shape and with its advanced audio technology, it seems to make this halo of communication one of the best inventions since ... well, the wheel (maybe not but it’s still quite impressive). The WEP 500 has an MSRP of $119.95 (available for $69.95 at ShopCrackBerry.com) which is well within the competitive range of today's high-tech Bluetooth headsets.
It’s been a while since I’ve used a Samsung headset, I own the WEP 200. I must say there have been a few enhancements since the WEP 200 which we will roll into right about... now!
I don’t think we’ll need a bigger box.
In my opinion, out of all the manufacturers Samsung’s packaging seems the most attractive. You could almost call it sexy. Not that Samsung needs sexy packing – its one of the few companies out there that can actually stand to let their products speak for themselves.
The contents of this lovely package are as follows:
- WEP 500 Bluetooth Headset
- Headset Cradle
- Travel Adapter
- User Manual / Quick Start Guide
- 4 ear buds
Giving the Once-Over
The headset itself is encased in a sleek black & silver shell which matches its headset cradle. Although it is quite a bit smaller than most headsets on the market, you will not sacrifice power for size. Talk and Standby times are 3 ½ hours and 80 hours respectively. I put the 500 beside my 200 to compare the sizes. It was like watching Danny DeVito and the Governator in Twins. Taking in this curvy headset’s dimensions, it measures about 2.87 cm long by 2.49 cm wide and 0.76 cm thick. It weighs in at only 8.9 grams which is 0.1 grams lighter than the WEP 200, so it’s not fat… it is actually big-boned!
As mentioned, the controls are quite simplistic, which is ideal for a headset of its stature. The WEP 500 has a multi-functional button on the very top and volume controls on the side. I would suggest that you take care when trying to find the perfect fit with this headset. I’ve pressed the multi-functional button a couple of times while getting it into place, and ended up calling my wife a few times ( for that baby, I am so sorry). Other than that, it’s an ideal position, allowing for easy access while driving.
I think that headset cradles are a great idea. Not only does the cradle double as a carrying case, but it reduces the risk of damage dealt to the charging contacts by plugging directly into the headset. I only wish that it had some sort of clip to connect it to a belt or bag.
Not only does it come with 4 ear buds, but there are actually 2 different types. There are 3 loops of various sizes and one with a protruding tip, for those who want the earbud to be placed deeper into the ear. I prefer the earloop-bud and found myself wearing the smallest one. Hmm… I wonder if that’s the reason why my wife says I don’t listen to her… :-)
The indicator light is located opposite to the multi-functional button, indicating battery strength, charging, incoming calls and functionality. You can turn the light off by pressing and holding the volume button up or down. Definitely a nice feature!
One thing I have personally never seen on a headset before was a secondary microphone, perhaps to accompany the advanced audio software. It was that or a back up to the primary microphone just in case a loud talker got a hold of the WEP 500.
Wow, looks great but how does it work?
I’m glad you asked that. Samsung’s WEP 500 covers pretty much all of the usual functions of today’s Bluetooth headsets. This would include answering, ending, and rejecting calls, redialing the last number dialed, voice dialing, muting, call waiting, placing calls on hold, and transferring calls from the BlackBerry to the headset.
Answering and ending calls is quite simple, just press the multi-functional button. When a call comes in, a tone will sound in the headset. If you’re not wearing it, the indicator light flashes blue twice. To reject you have to press and hold the multi-function button. You can mute the call by pressing either the volume up or down button. I rather like this feature because you don’t have to fumble with pressing both at the same time like with other headsets. If you happen to answer the call with your Berry, you can transfer it to the WEP 500 by tapping the Multi-function button.
When you are charging the Headset, you have to close the lid on the cradle. The WEP 500’s indicator light is visible from the outside. It will shine red until it is fully charged, at which point it will turn blue. It will only take about 2 hours for a full charge. If you aren’t sure if the battery is low the indicator light will blink red then stays a solid red, this is a sign of less than 10 % power.
It’s been stated a few times now; the WEP 500 comes equipped with advanced audio technology. Basically, it sports automatic volume control, much like my previously reviewed Plantronics 665 Bluetooth headset. The volume of the incoming sound will increase or decrease based on the noise level around you. It actually works just as well as the Plantronics 665. It also has noise-cancellation and echo reduction technologies. All this adds up to one amazing calling experience, unless you are one the line with your Great Uncle Angus who is a little hard of hearing and little low on memory.
Sounds impressive but does it sound impressive??
Why yes…yes it does. The quality of sound has increased by leaps and bounds from its predecessor the WEP 200. This is due to the above mentioned improvements made to its audio technology. Now this is my wife’s favorite part of the review, the testing of the call quality. This is because I would call her many times. The quality was near crystal when in another part of the house or at work. There was little background noise on either end so both parties were heard just fine. This past weekend I took it out to the Baby & Family Fair in Vancouver to test it out in both the car and in a hall with hundreds of people.
The WEP 500 functioned quite well on the way out. The typical car noises were present, but they were at such a low volume that they remained in the background, not interrupting the conversation (which was good seeing how I was lost and trying to get directions).
I was surprised by the performance during the fair, as I could still be heard with reasonable clarity on the other end. I had to adjust my volume higher and almost cup my other ear to hear the incoming audio. I assumed I wouldn’t be able to use it at all.
The bottom line
In the land of David and Goliath Bluetooth headsets, I’m just waiting for the WEP 500 to pull out its sling. Samsung’s WEP 500 Bluetooth headset is an impressive addition to Samsung’s line up. A fraction of the size of most headsets, it can go toe-to-toe with the best of them. With astounding audio quality and sexy curves it’s a no-brainer to pick it up for only $69.95 at your local CrackBerry Store.
Please take care not to lose the headset cradle or you’ll find yourself without power until you pick up a new one.
The button layout was almost perfect; I kept hitting the multi-functional button while putting it in. Perhaps it’s my ears but I didn’t find the headset all that comfortable, it only fit once I either used the smallest earbud or nothing at all.
Luckily I didn’t mistake the WEP500 for a UFO, though I must admit it’s out of this world.
Remember, the Blue-truth is out there…
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