Plantronics just announced the Explorer 395, an entry-level headset that promises to be easy to use. Even though it doesn't have the noise-canceling performance of its more expensive brethren, the Explorer 395 still boasts good audio quality (with noise and echo reduction) and dedicated buttons for volume, power, and calls. It also features a QuickPair technology that lets you easily pair your headset with your phone. The headset also promises an ergonomic and comfortable fit. The Plantronics Explorer 395 is available for $49.95.
Motorola announced the Motorola H17txt today, and no, it's not an April Fools' joke. The Bluetooth headset has MotoSpeak, Motorola's name for its text-to-speech technology. It is designed to read text messages to you so you never have to take your eyes off the road. Funnily, it also promises to read out acronyms like "lol" and "l8r" as actual words. It will also read out incoming caller/texter ID, plus it comes with a list of autoresponse messages.
Other features include A2DP streaming so you can listen to your podcasts or your phone's … Read more
Attention, all you gamers and Skype users. For this week's giveaway of the week, we've got the slick new Astro A30 headset.
Recently, editor Scott Stein described the A30 in a post on Crave, saying the headset was a more compact version of Astro's professional gaming headset, the A40, and that it's intended for use as a cross-purpose device for mobile music, gaming, and laptop users. "Though the headset is far larger than a set of earbuds, the detachable boom microphone and additional in-line mic with call answer/music pause button let the A30 double … Read more
Along with the Modus 3500 and the HM1000, Samsung also showed us a whole slew of Bluetooth headsets that it hopes to release in the second quarter of 2010. They are the HM1600, the HM1500, the HM3200, the HM3600, and the WEP570.
The HM1600 is sort of like the bigger brother of the HM1000. It also has active pairing and multipoint technology, but it has a much sleeker styling than the HM1000. The HM1600 also has a narrower ear insert that promises better ear stability without the need for an ear hook. The HM1500, on the other hand, isn't … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Samsung released a couple of new Bluetooth headsets here at CTIA 2010, and they are the Samsung Modus 3500 mono-to-stereo headset, plus a simple mono headset called the Samsung HM1000. Both headsets will be available in Q1 of this year.
The Samsung Modus 3500 is Samsung's response to what it says is the popularity of the WEP870, which is one of the company's first mono headsets that could convert into a stereo headset with the addition of a lanyard.
The Modus 3500 is yet another mono-to-stereo convertible headset, but this time all you need to do is … Read more
BlueAnt just upped the ante in the Bluetooth headset wars with the BlueAnt T1, which it announced prior to the start of CTIA 2010. The headset promises a few upgrades over the BlueAnt Q1, like Wind Armour Technology, which promises to deliver clear audio in wind speeds up to 22 miles per hour.
The T1 is also meant to be durable thanks to a special protective case; it can withstand vibration and shock as well as dust and moisture. Like the previous BlueAnt headsets, the T1 can be controlled via voice command; can be easily paired and connected thanks to … Read more
Though it feels like I just got off the plane from Europe and Mobile World Congress--and claimed my broken suitcase, thank you very much, Lufthansa--it's time to board another flight to another cell phone trade show. Next week, the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) holds its spring wireless bash in Las Vegas. It's the larger of the industry association's two annual events and we're expecting to be busy chasing news. Though last year's show--check out this retrospective for a look back--was a bit quiet, a few trends are emerging for 2010. The fun … Read more
Not many people outside of professional gaming have heard of Astro, but it's a design firm with notable clients (Microsoft and Alienware among them) that has focused on gaming audio for the past several years. The Astro A40 headset, a large set of over-the-ear phones used in Major League gaming tournaments, is a solid if pricey solution for PC and console gamers that debuted several years ago.
The A30 headset, now available for sale on Astro's Web site, is a more compact version of the A40 intended for use as a cross-purpose device for mobile music, gaming, and laptop users. Though the headset is far larger than a set of earbuds, the detachable boom microphone and additional in-line mic with call answer/music pause button let the A30 double as a smartphone headset.
For $149, the A30 comes with a pair of white or black headphones and three different cables, one length ideal for music phones, another that's better for TV gaming, and a third with dual jacks for laptops with separate mic and headphone inputs. For seriously hard-core gamers, the A30 headset has removable and customizable magnetic headphone gamer tags, although we don't think we'd ever consider investing in customization.
The A30 is advertised as a headset that works for console gaming, but to use it with a PS3 or Xbox 360 you'll need to buy a separate MixAmp with appropriate input jacks. The MixAmp also decodes 5.1 data into simulated two-channel surround and can custom-mix the levels of headset audio and in-game audio, but it also brings the cost of the headset package to $229, which might be more than many are willing to spend.
We tried out a pair of A30 headphones for a good week and a half, and even without the MixAmp the audio quality was better than expected, and certainly good enough for use with an iPhone or other player. As opposed to the open-backed A40, which let in background noise, the A30 seals off a little more for privacy, although it's not as effective as a good pair of in-ear buds. Astro claims the bass has been boosted a little in the A30 set, as compared with the "level accurate" A40, and to our ears it sounded nice both with music or when playing rich, environmental games. With the MixAmp, the A30 becomes a much more complete set, and we appreciated the variety of MixAmp inputs for Toslink and other audio cables. … Read more
YOKOHAMA, Japan--Most people are probably unaware that Nikon, a brand synonymous with cameras, makes headsets, too. In fact, this UP multimedia headset, which plays back photos, videos, and music, has been around in Japan for more than a year now.
However, unlike most other viewers in the market, the UP--which is being displayed here at the CP+ photo show--comes with onboard Wi-Fi and a built-in Web browser for surfing the Net. The basic UP300 comes with 4GB of built-in storage, while the higher-end UP300x model offers 8GB of memory and A/V input.
The UP300x also features a motion … Read more
If you're a person who hates rebates, you should probably stop reading right here and just skip down to the bonus deals. They're quite good. Yep, there you go, OK, buh-bye.
Now then. Bluetooth headsets may be a little dorky-looking, but they enable you to keep both hands on the wheel while driving--and I'd rather look dorky than plow into a tree.
Adoroma (a photography-gear site, go figure) has the Samsung WEP301 Bluetooth headset for free. Yep, free.