First things first, let’s address some basic questions. What exactly is a Bluetooth wireless stereo headset? Why might you want one? Is there any difference between a Bluetooth headset and Bluetooth headphones or are they pretty much the same thing? What devices do these headsets work with? What are some of the popular makes & models? Etc, etc.
What is a Bluetooth Stereo Headset?
It is a wireless headset that combines a pair of high-fidelity stereo headphones with a microphone, and which connects to either an audio device (e.g. a hi-fi or MP3 player) or a smartphone (e.g. an iPhone) via Bluetooth technology. Bluetooth itself is a wireless protocol that enables data to be exchanged over short distances between two or more devices.
So that’s the techie stuff out of the way then. What’s the point of them?
Why Might You Want One?
Think about it. If you’re a music lover who has ever listened to music on a personal stereo or via a pair of headphones, you will know that there are many instances where you want to shut out the world and listen to your favourite tracks. But sometimes having a wire coming out of your ears connecting your head to another device somewhere on your body or elsewhere in the room is not particularly convenient. My wife, for example, likes to listen to music while she’s vacuum cleaning, but the wire always gets in her way. With Bluetooth headphones, her problem magically disappears!
So is There Any Difference Between a Bluetooth Headset and Bluetooth Headphones?
In theory, yes. But in practice, no. Let me explain. In theory, a pair of Bluetooth stereo headphones would not have a microphone, so you would be able to listen to music, but you wouldn’t be able to make calls on your smartphone. In practice, nobody makes such devices. Pretty much every manufacturer includes a microphone on the instrument so you can use it as a headset, not just as headphones.
What Devices do Bluetooth Stereo Headsets Work With?
At the risk of stating the obvious, Bluetooth headsets work with any audio device or smartphone that is Bluetooth-enabled! These days, most modern smartphones and MP3 players are enabled for the Bluetooth protocol.
Ah yes, I hear you ask, but what if your audio unit (your home hi-fi or TV for example) is not Bluetooth enabled? Not to worry, you can buy a small Bluetooth transmission device that connects to the audio output (e.g. the headphone mini jack socket) of your player, converts the signal and transmits it to your headset via the Bluetooth protocol! Clever, eh?
Popular Makes and Models
At the time of writing (autumn 2009), some of the more popular models out there include the Motorola S9, Samsung SBH500, Motorola HT820, BlueAnt X5 and Jaybird JB200. But if you want the last word (and you’ve got the cash to spend!) many would argue that the best Bluetooth stereo headset currently on the market is the Nokia BH-905 Noise Cancelling Headset. Luxury and technology combined! If you are looking for the smallest Bluetooth headset, check out some of the models from Motorola, they are small but perfectly formed