Bluetooth has been around long enough to have witnessed a remarkable shift in the way we live. Cable cords have been replaced with piconets and firewalls, and land lines have given way to cellphones. Through it all, Bluetooth devices have managed to make a little something for everyone.
Because of the wide range of Bluetooth devices currently available, many consumers who have never owned any Bluetooth devices are curious as to what they should be looking for. This is a guide to locating the right product by asking about four things:
- Your needs
- Your knowledge of electronics
- Your aesthetic preferences
- And finally, your price range
How Often Will You Use It?
This is always the first question that you should ask yourself when exploring personal Bluetooth devices, as it narrows your options down.
Corporate travelers will usually look for headsets that provide pristine clarity and an all day battery life, but they also want comfort. This is because corporate travelers generally do more business on the road and on the phone than they do in person.
Foremen who work on busy construction sites may also have a need for power efficiency and clarity, but they may be able to forgo the comfort factor if they only use it for a few minutes at a time. Those that that use it infrequently are looking for something that is quick to put on and answer.
Seek first what best serves your needs. Will you be using and wearing it consistently, or will it be occasional use?
There are two basic styles of personal Bluetooth devices. Some are held in place by a loop, which goes over the ear — these are generally more comfortable, but may be less secure. Many prefer these for both the comfort and the ease of use. The other device style is those that are held in place by being physically jammed into your ear — many find these to be highly uncomfortable. The advantage to the in-ear devices is that they tend to be more secure.
If you are in the car a lot, there is also a variation that lets your GPS unit act as your phone in the same way that many vehicles have it. It allows you to make and receive hands-free calls. The disadvantage is that this is not as portable as a personal unit.
Some Bluetooth devices are so complex that users uncomfortable with technology may be overwhelmed by the operations and the user manual. These more complex all the bells and whistles that go along with voice recognition, Text-to-Speech and pairing with numerous devices simultaneously. The more basic units provide comfort, clarity and power efficiency with a simple on/off configuration and no additional features. A happy medium are basic units that include on/off, volume, and mute controls.
It is important to remember that technology is meant to make your life easier, not more complicated. If you are familiar with data networking and technical terminology, it is likely that the more complex devices will not only be helpful but possibly even required to make your career flow more smoothly. If you find yourself struggling to understand what ‘configuration’ means, and are terrorized by the thought of setting your VCR clock, then you probably won’t need all the bells and whistles.
Head Set Fit
Once you’ve narrowed your search margin, the next step is finding a unit that will work for you. Because no two heads are exactly the same size and shape, each headset will fit each user differently. Some headsets are bulky and not as comfortable, but offer superior sound quality. Others are small and discreet, comfortable and sophisticated, but lack the latest technology in the elimination of background noise (for this particular feature, look into the Jawbone headsets). Some Bluetooth headsets are specially designed for those who wear glasses.
It can be a long search to find Bluetooth devices that fit comfortably, so keep looking until you find a headset that fits both your shape and your needs.
Other Important Features
Once you have found one that fits and meets your basic requirements, look at other versions within the same line. Your ideal model should may turn out to be a base fit with base features. Look into structurally identical models and branch out as desired until you find a headset that serves both your primary initiative and your aesthetic taste.
We’ve put together a list of those of the other basics you need to keep in mind when shopping for Bluetooth devices:
- How easy and quick is it to remove and replace?
- Can you easily use the controls?
- Can it be used on either ear?
- How do you carry it when not using it?
- Can you adjust the volume?
- What is the battery life for talk and standby time?
- Can the battery be replaced?
- Does it have noise canceling?
- Can it support hands-free commands, and which ones?
Ultimately, the choice is yours. Whatever you may need Bluetooth devices for, you can be certain that it will make your life easier.