The two plastic ear clips attach directly below the silicone fittings and rotate forward and backward so you can achieve a secure fit while you're actively listening. The extra slack on the 31.5-inch cable connecting the two earpieces has a tendency to gather and pull on the earpieces, making the clips that much more crucial to the design. We thought the stiff cord would eventually loosen up with prolonged use, but it hasn't changed over our three-week evaluation period and we're hoping the next version will come with a shorter connection.
In addition to the Mini-USB port, the right earpiece features a large multifunction button in the center that puts the headset in pairing mode, and OT provides easy instructions on how to pair the Tags with any device that has an A2DP profile. Coupling is easy enough: just hold down the multifunction button until the LED alternately flashes green and red, then select the Tags in your music player's Bluetooth setup menu.
Once you have a connection, you can use the side-mounted buttons to control volume, music navigation, and voice dialing. Whereas most smartphone remotes instruct you to quickly double-tap a button to skip tracks, the Tags are a little different and ask you to hold down the "volume down" button to advance, which can be irritating if you're using them for sports.
It makes sense to pair Bluetooth headphones with smartphones since most handsets already come Bluetooth-ready, but all Bluetooth-powered audio accessories suffer from the same drawback: they can send only unidirectional audio signals from the source to the device, which means you lose serious stereo quality in the audio compression process.
The OT Bluetooth Tags are no different. The output sound has more static than a hardwired headphone connection, but while audio engineers and hard-core audiophiles will certainly be able to tell the difference, most consumers will still recognize a boost in fidelity from the stock earbuds that come with modern smartphones.
Still, the compressed audio files lock your music into a defined sound stage that makes it difficult to separate individual instruments and harmonies, and music through the earbuds seems to get trapped between your ears. Sound reproduction across all genres skews toward the muddier end of the spectrum, and every song seems to take on a gritty edge that takes away from its intended production.
We're willing to trade the convenience of a wireless headset for the slight degradation in fidelity you get when transferring a Bluetooth signal. The OT Bluetooth Tags' $80 price tag makes them much more affordable than the $250 over-ear AKG K 830 BT headphones, and we recommend the OT Bluetooth Tags to any music lover tired of fiddling with tangled wires.