Since one of the most important parts of any headset, presuming it functions just as well, is its design, Logitech’s Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset wins half the battle.
At 14 grams in weight and 15 mm in length, it sits effortlessly on your ear. If you ignore the plastic ear loop, the Logitech Mobile Traveller looks like a small silver and gray lipstick with its hard, porous plastic mic cover.
A long, thin Answer/End control juts along the length of the earpiece and another button on the ear-loop end acts as the volume up/down control. I had a hard time learning the use of Logitech Mobile Traveller’s ‘simple controls.’
The Answer/End control functions only if you press the top end of the button and I kept pressing the wrong side while trying to answer a call!
Logitech’s headset scores decent points in terms of comfort and can handle conference call, voice-calling, and call-muting duties. For example, if you’re using your computer/laptop for teleconferencing, you can use the Traveller headset for this purpose, too.
The one-button interface makes the pairing process and daily operation quite easy.There’s still a problem with the sound though. The patented Windstop technology suffers from echo problems, though if you keep the volume low, the caller barely gets any echo.
But then you can hardly hear the caller’s voice! At the normal headset volume, the echo is very noticeable and irritating. If its Windstop feature was supposed to allow conversations in windy environments, I can say that it did not work at all.
The headset offers an admirable seven hours of talk time. To pair it with your handset, hold the multi-purpose button (the long thin rectangular button) until the LED begins to flash blue and red (about 10 seconds). Then set your handset to search for the headset.
This second part is different for each handset. I paired the Nokia N70, Samsung D500, which found the headset with no problem. Like most Bluetooth headsets, the Logitech uses 0000 as the PIN number for pairing. The pairing process took less than 30 seconds and throughout the course of my testing, the devices never lost the pairing and were always available to work with one another.
Of course, since the headset’s called ‘Traveller’, Logitech should have provided for charging via USB while on the road instead of lugging another (albeit relatively small) AC adapter. If I had to bring along the wall adapter for the Logitech headset, one for the mobile and another for the laptop, I probably would not travel. On the whole, I think the headset’s is a little way above its worth at Rs 4,495.
On a par with the Mobile Traveller is Logitech’s Mobile Express headset that can sit on either the left or right ear courtesy the adjustable wrap-around earpiece and in-ear speaker. Also, the headset incorporates a call/answer multifunction button on the side and mimics the voice dialling, three-way calling and mute functions of the Mobile Traveller Headset.
According to Logitech, the Mobile Express will offer up to four hours of talk time and up to 110 hours of standby time. The pairing is similar to the Traveller, the usual problems of static and echo are present here as well, and the looks are considerably less. It is priced as an entry-level headset at Rs 2,995, for beginners who don’t really care about the fact that the headset juts out stiffly.
Plantronics M2500 headsets give Logitech a close run for its money. M2500 works with any Bluetooth device that supports the headset or hands-free profile, including most mobile phones, computers, PDAs and smartphones. The headset looks huge and is basically a combination of hard plastic with hard rubber that is used to connect the battery part to the speaker/mic.
Two buttons — a Multi-Function Dial next to the LED and a Call Control Button located on the microphone, are all that manoeuvre the M2500.
The earpiece sits at the tip of the ear canal instead of painfully inside, and the mic stem stretches halfway down the cheek to ensure it gets everything you utter. It’s just a gram heavier than Logitech’s Traveller, but this is not a headset you forget is there since the protruding microphone is sure to draw stares.
Double-clicking the call button initiates last-number redialling — a useful feature. I got just about 5 hours talk time and 5 days of standby from a single charge. Operation of the control buttons was somewhat awkward though and the multifunction Volume/Power button at the top of the earpiece requires firm, often uncomfortable, pressure to activate.
Pairing the M2500 requires you to first power on the Bluetooth headset, then press the volume dial Up and Answer button together for around 2 seconds. The LED will then flash green and red that signifies that the headset is waiting to be paired. Simply punch in four zeros as the PIN on your mobile device and that completes the process.
I was able to immediately answer phone calls through the Nokia 6680, 6600 and LG M4410 handsets. The voice sounded clean and natural, with only intermittent distortion or static. Don’t bother using the Plantronics M2500 in outdoor/windy areas.
The absence of a foam-like encapsulation of the microphone (like in the Traveller headset) that can absorb wind interference makes using it painful in such situations. At around Rs 5,000, it’s a bit too steeply priced.
A word of advice: before buying any Bluetooth headset, make sure that it complies with the Bluetooth 1.1 (1.2 is even better, and 2.0 is on the anvil) specification. Also, it must offer both headset and hands-free profiles.
As long as the headset observes these two requirements, and assuming your phone also has Bluetooth 1.1 or greater, and either of the two profile sets, then you should have no compatibility problems.
Keep in mind that all Bluetooth devices are range bound (within a range of 10 metres or 33 ft). If there is a direct unobstructed view between your headset and your phone, then you’ll probably get the range.