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Home > Hardware Reviews > Mobiles

Monday, April 02, 2007
Two Great Headsets from BlueAnt Wireless

1. Introduction - T8 micro Bluetooth headset

Two Great Headsets from BlueAnt Wireless

logoIt seems like there were only a handful of Bluetooth headsets two years ago that really worked well. The technology was emergent and spotty. In the last year or so, new companies have popped up delivering high quality, affordable Bluetooth technology. As a result, you can't really go anywhere without seeing someone wearing the latest Bluetooth headset while driving, shopping or at work.

One of the companies I have been most impressed with is BlueAnt Wireless from Australia. They are not resting on their laurels as they have released two more headsets to join their award winning lineup. In this review I will take a look at both the T8 micro and the V12 LCD Bluetooth headset. One of these could be right for your Bluetooth needs.

As one who questioned whether Bluetooth would really catch on, I am pleased to see such a proliferation of options for the Bluetooth user. There is really no excuse anymore for someone driving and holding their cell phone. Bluetooth is easy to set up, reliable and many of the headsets offer outstanding sound quality.

One of the great new Bluetooth Wireless companies comes from Australia - BlueAnt Wireless. I use their x5 Bluetooth Stereo Headset to stream Satellite radio without wires and my wife regularly uses the Supertooth II hands free car kit - both of which have received many great reviews.

BlueAnt now brings two very affordable Bluetooth solutions to the market - one, the T8 is small, really small. The other, the V12 offers an LCS screen with lots of information - from caller ID to battery life.

I very much like the philosophy of BlueAnt - a philosophy which is reflected in their self-description found on their web site:

A market leader in the Australian Bluetooth industry, BlueAnt Wireless provides the ultimate in Bluetooth communication and audio streaming solutions.

Our success to date has been rapid yet our approach is simple: to deliver a customer centric solution through the creation of close relationships with all of our partners – from our distributors to our dealers, through to the people buying our products.

We only offer services that we can deliver. We only launch products that we can support.

BlueAnt is the Bluetooth brand which an increasing number of dealers are adding to their range. We recognize that we need to be different. We recognize that we need to be more than just another Bluetooth brand.

First up, the T8 micro

The first thing you notice about the T8 micro is its size - it is really very small. Here is the official line from the company web site:

T8 micro Bluetooth Headset

The BlueAnt T8 micro is an affordable, lightweight and ergonomic Bluetooth
headset that delivers comfort, excellent battery life and clear audio quality.
The T8 micro is designed using the latest Bluetooth 2.0 technology
which can enhance a faster connection between devices and
runs on extremely low power consumption.

The T8 micro stores the pairing information of up to 8 Bluetooth devices and comes with a wall charger as standard.

  • Small ergonomic design (only 2” long)
  • Excellent talk time and standby time
  • Pairs with 8 Bluetooth devices
  • Lightweight (less than one half ounce)
  • 2 year warranty

T8 Micro specification

Bluetooth Version v2.0
Supported Bluetooth Profiles Headset and Handsfree
Number of devices Stores information for 8
different devices
Frequency Band 2.4GHz ~ 2.4835
(frequency Hopping)
Certification Approvals CE, FCC, BQB, C-Tick
Security 128 bit Digital Encryption
Talk Time 9 Hours
Standby Time 250 Hours
Battery Rechargeable 120mAh Li-Polymer
Charger 110v – 240v Switch Mode Charger
Operating range Up to 30 feet (10 meters)
Weight Half an ounce (13 grams)
Dimensions 2" x 1" x 1" ( 52 x 26 x 28 mm)
Indicator Lights Blue, Red and Purple
(LED’s can be turned off)
Compatibility Windows, Mac, Mobile Phones,
Pda’s and VOIP applications

What's in the package?

1 x T8 micro Bluetooth Headset
2 x Gel speaker covers
1 x Foam speaker cover
1 x Ear Hook
1 x User Manual
1 x Wall AC adapter
1 x 2 Year Warranty Card

Design:

The T8 micro is a very small, relatively simple headset. The T8 has one larger multi-function button in the center which has a very nice, positive touch kind of feel to it. There are volume up and volume down buttons which were quite easy to access while in use.

The T8 has a few ear-bud options in order to provide the user with a solid, comfortable fit. It can be worn either with or without one of the included ear loops.

The T8 is a bluetooth 2.0 device - that usually translates into a quicker connection and longer battery life. The T8 uses what BlueAnt calls "Ambient Noise Reduction." If I understand this correctly, because this little guy pugs up your ear so nicely - you can't really hear what is going on around you. This is not DSP technology - but for a standard headset it did a very good job of sound isolation.

One of the nice, thoughtful touches to this headset is that the flashing blue LED's can be turned off for nighttime driving.

Ease of Use:

The T8 could not be easier to use. Put your phone into pairing mode and turn on the T8. The first time you use the T8 it automatically goes into pairing mode. After that, the T8 picked up calls automatically from whichever phone it was connected to at the time. Some phones require a manual push of the MFB to take calls - but I found this not to be necessary on a Treo, Windows Mobile Smartphone and a BlackBerry.

Voice Command was easy to initiate from the headset - just a push of the MFB and most voice commands were picked up beautifully.

Sound Quality:

I was initially skeptical of the T8 because of its small size and the distance away from my mouth. I was also skeptical since this is essentially a "budget" headset. I should have known better from my prior experience with BlueAnt. Sound quality was very good. When I was talking on the headset, it was plenty loud and I could hear fine. Calls sounded clear and I could speak in a natural voice and carry on my conversations with ease.

On the other end, callers sometimes said that the sound was not as clear as speaking directly on the headset, but no one had difficulty understanding me at all. I can safely say that this was by far the best sounding budget headset I have tested.

Over all Conclusions:

With the BlueAnt T8, they are following nicely on the heels of the X3 micro - which was one of the best low cost headsets available. The size is great - about half an ounce in weight - you really don't notice the headset. Sound quality was good and battery life was tremendous. I can absolutely recommend this headset to just about anyone who needs a basic headset that just works well.

Pros:

  • Great size and weight
  • great battery life
  • low cost

Cons:

  • Ear loop was a little uncomfortable for users who wear glasses

The BlueAnt T8 is available for US$49.00 from www.myblueant.com and from many third party vendors




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