Bluetooth Headsets Buying Guide

The first few times you saw people talking on Bluetooth headsets, you probably thought they were talking to themselves, but now that they've been around for a few years, the tiny devices have become widespread in their use. Bluetooth headsets hook around your ear and allow you to talk on a cell phone, or use with any other Bluetooth-enabled device, completely hands-free. This will only work if your phone supports Bluetooth wireless technology, but most recent phones do. Additionally, many states now make it a punishable offense to talk on the phone while driving ''without'' using a hands-free technology, and most others have legislation in the works to make it illegal in those states as well. Don't worry about sacrificing comfort or quality--headsets are ergonomically designed and now offer outstanding audio in their tiny packages.

What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth creates a wireless personal area network on a radio frequency of 2.45 Gigahertz (GHz). This standard has been agreed upon by device manufacturers internationally, so all devices with the Bluetooth label will be compatible with this standard; because it creates a small area connection, Bluetooth devices can be synced to multiple other devices simultaneously. Additionally, they only need to be in range of each other and don't need to be aimed at each other (like an infrared TV remote, for example) so you can keep your phone in your pocket (or even another room) and it won't interfere with the signal. If you'd like to know more about how exactly Bluetooth works and even where the term "Bluetooth" even comes from, check out the article at HowStuffWorks.

Headset Features

The variety of features on newer Bluetooth headsets is impressive. Some models have built-in chargers, some can play music if paired to a music phone or Bluetooth-compatible MP3 player, and others have small screens on them that allow you to make calls, change volume, or play tracks without ever having to remove the phone or MP3 player from your pocket. Here are some other things to think about in your search for the right headset: * '''Mono vs. stereo''': Most Bluetooth headsets have a single speaker in one ear, allowing mono sound for simple talking on the phone. Some headsets resemble full headphones or earbuds that go in or over both ears, and others allow you to plug in your own headphones or earbuds, adding the ability to listen to music in stereo. * '''Size''': Most headsets are pretty tiny, but if you want one of the almost-invisibly small headsets, they're available--for a price. * '''Comfort''': Headsets that have flexible rubber earpieces will fit on anyone's ear, while the devices with stiff plastic earpieces may bother people with unusually shaped ears. Make sure you find something that you're not going to mind having on your head for a long period of time during a phone call. * '''Battery''': Bluetooth headsets have rechargeable batteries built in. Depending on how you use your headset (infrequently for driving versus a power business user) you may need a headset with an especially long battery life. You don't want it to run out of power during a call. * '''Controls''': The devices themselves are small, but most feature enough room for a handful of buttons, made for answering calls, hanging up, and changing volume. Make sure that these controls are something that your fingers won't be too large to press. * '''Multipoint Pairing''': Models that feature multipoint pairing are extremely easy to sync to Bluetooth-compatible devices.

Quick Picks

Popular Bluetooth Headset Brands

* Aliph * BlueAnt * Jabra * LG * Motorola * Nokia * Plantronics * Samsung * Sony

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