2. Design and Operation, Conclusion
It is hard to appreciate just how small this thing is until you hold it in your hands. Next to the Aliph Jawbone, it looks minute. The headset really has a very sleek look. With all this technology, I expected many more buttons to have to learn. I was pleasantly surprised to see just how simple and user friendly the design was.
The multi-function button which is used for answering and disconnecting calls, initiating voice dialing and pairing is on the main face of the headset. A stylish "Blue" Ant is emblazoned on the button. On the top of the headset are very easy to use and large volume up and volume down buttons.
On the back of the Z9 is where the clear ear loop clicks in and where the earpiece is located. Finally, on the front of the device is a small button which controls the "Voice Isolation" technology - the standard setting is fine most most situations. For particularly noisy environments, the "Max" setting isolates the voices and virtually eliminates all background noises.
Two microphones pick up the nuances in your voice for clear transmission to the end user.
Many Bluetooth headsets are just not comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The Z9 is incredibly lightweight and very comfortable for wearing over extended periods of time. It was so light that I really did barely notice that I was wearing it. When I wasn't wearing it on my ear, the built in lapel clip made it easy to clip to my shirt or jacket - a very nice feature.
Ease of Use:
All this technology is worthless if it is too difficult for the typical user to master. Fortunately, the Z9 could not be easier to use. Pairing was a snap - just put into pairing mode and have your phone search for it and then put in the pass code. A nice feature is that the headset can switch on the fly between multiple devices - a nice feature for road warriors. It was also easy to set different ring tones in the headset for known and unknown contacts.
As always, the make or break issue for Bluetooth headsets is the quality of the sound. With those headsets using DSP technology we have to look at the sound on both ends of the call. The BlueAnt Z9 rivaled the best Bluetooth headsets for overall sound quality and noise isolation.
From the headset itself, callers sounded very clear and loud - I had to turn the volume down several times when wearing this which is not the norm for Bluetooth headsets.
I am always amazed that with headsets this small, which are nowhere near my mouth, my voice can come across loud and clear. I had my wife use this headset in several noisy environments and I was truly amazed by how clear her voice was and how little noise was present.
I did ask her to switch to "Max" isolation and the DSP technology was so powerful that it picked up every nuance of her voice and if other people were in the car - their voices were picked up as well. The voice of the caller is certainly isolated and made crystal clear. In short, this little baby does just about everything as advertised.
For $100.00 you will be hard pressed to find a better Bluetooth headset. You might be hard pressed to find one for double that cost. The proprietary "Voice Isolation" technology is remarkable and truly isolates the callers voice. The built in "clip" to attach the headset to your clothes when not in use was also a very nice touch. This headset is stylish, packed with technological innovations and very comfortable.
- Super small
- Great DSP technology
- Clear call quality
- Good value
- None to speak of
The BlueAnt Z9 sells for US$99.00.
For a list of available retailers, please refer to: www.myblueant.com/wheretobuy_online.htm