How to Buy a Bluetooth Headset
Updated May 2014
What the best Bluetooth headsets have
- Sound quality is key. Being able to hear
and be heard on your headset, and for your voice to sound natural and
clear, is essential in choosing the right Bluetooth headset for your
- Comfort is just as important
as sound quality. The size, shape and weight of the headset all affect how comfortable
it is and how long you can wear it without "ear fatigue."
- Controls should be simple to
use. If commands or controls aren't easy to
remember and use, many features on a headset become useless.
- Check a store's return policy. When you've considered all the
different factors involved in your headset purchase, make sure you have
the option of returning one that doesn't meet your needs; some
manufacturers offer a 60-day money-back guarantee.
- More expensive isn't necessarily
better. Most Bluetooth headsets cost around $80 and
have similar basic features. Some well-reviewed older models with fewer
features are available for even less.
- Convenient charging. Some Bluetooth
headsets use non-standard USB charging cables, so you'll need to carry
these with you, especially if the headset has a relatively short battery
- Selection of earbuds. Look for headsets
with an assortment of earbuds in different sizes.
Know before you go
- Do you make phone calls in
noisy environments? Sound quality and noise suppression go
hand in hand, so choose a Bluetooth headset that will filter outside noise
if you make a lot of phone calls from noisy places such as the airport or
- Do you want to listen to music
in stereo on your headset? A technology called Advanced Audio
Distribution Profile (A2DP) lets you stream audio from a cellphone,
smartphone or music player to a stereo Bluetooth headset. However, make
sure your phone has this capability -- most new ones do -- before you
select a Bluetooth stereo headset.
- Do you want to look
stylish when using your headset? Some of the best-reviewed
models provide comfort at the expense of appearance. If you want to stay
in line with fashion, look for headsets like those from Jawbone that are
more like jewelry and offer a choice of finishes.
What's to come
There's been a slowdown in technological
advancements in the Bluetooth headset category of wearables technology. The
2014 version of the Aliph Jawbone Era is the most significant new casual-use
headset, while the Plantronics Voyager Legend addresses the professional
market. Offsetting this is the surge in interest in the smartwatches market, an
alternate way to remotely answer your phone as well as monitor your text
messages. Read more in our
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