SoundID SoundFlavors Bluetooth headset review: SoundID SoundFlavors Bluetooth headset

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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The SoundID SoundFlavors Bluetooth headset has three sound profiles for enhanced audio quality, plus two additional modes for walkie-talkie communication and a hearing aid.

The Bad The SoundID SoundFlavors Bluetooth headset has to be inserted a bit too deeply in the ear and can only be worn on the right ear. It also has a really high price tag.

The Bottom Line With its advanced noise compression technology and various modes to enhance audio quality, the SoundID SoundFlavors Bluetooth headset is a headset primed for those who are hard of hearing or want that extra audio boost in their headsets. However, it feels awkward in the ear, and its price is quite prohibitive.

8.0 Overall

The SoundID Personal Sound System SoundFlavors Bluetooth headset is one of the first (if not the only) Bluetooth headsets to incorporate medical technology in its design. Developed with the knowledge of how the human ear works, this headset's prime feature is its advanced noise compression technology that is smart enough to drown out surrounding noise and enhance the audio quality of conversation. Because of such advanced technology, the SoundID Personal Sound System retails for close to $650, which is really a lot of money for a Bluetooth headset. The sound quality does make it worth the price, but only if you're particularly hard of hearing and need that audio quality boost.

The Bluetooth headset itself is a very tiny and compact device, measuring only 0.8x0.5x1.25 inches and weighing 0.4 ounce. Its shape is unlike that of any headset we've seen, with a tiny boom mic protruding on its right side. On its front is a large multifunction button that's tactile and easy to press, and on the left spine are two rubberized volume buttons that are raised sufficiently above the surface so that they, too, can be easily pressed when worn on the ear. On the back of the headset is the plastic earpiece as well as a rubbery ear loop for additional security. The plastic earpiece has to be inserted deep into the ear, so much so that SoundID actually provides tiny wax guards to be placed on the earpiece tip. The headset itself feels quite snug and comfy, but the deeply inserted earpiece just felt too awkward for our tastes. Another bad point is that the headset can only be worn on the right ear.

The attraction of the SoundID SoundFlavors headset lies in its noise compression technology. It has three "sound flavors" or sound profiles that you can adjust, depending on your preference. Your choices include mild enhancement, mild to moderate enhancement, and moderate enhancement. Moderate enhancement works especially well if you're hard of hearing or if you're in a really noisy environment. It doesn't increase the volume of the headset so much, but it makes the caller sound clearer and crisper and drowns out the surrounding environment noise.

There are also three headset modes. The first is Phone mode and is meant to be used with a Bluetooth-enabled phone. We tested this with the T-Mobile Sidekick 3 and the Sanyo M1, and they both paired successfully with the headset. Audio quality was unparalleled, and we simply loved how great our callers sounded. Our callers reported good call quality as well and couldn't tell we were on our cell phones. The second mode is a One2One mode that's similar to walkie-talkie communication with another SoundID headset, and the third mode is a CommunicationLink mode that requires the use of an optional CommunicationLink microphone. When you pair the headset with the microphone, you can leave the microphone near a sound source and use the headset as a kind of long-distance hearing aid. Unfortunately, we weren't able to test the two other modes because we did not have the extra headset or the microphone in our package.

Other features of the SoundID SoundFlavors Bluetooth headset include the usual ability to answer, end, make, and reject calls; call mute; call waiting; last-number redial; and voice dialing. The SoundID SoundFlavors Bluetooth headset has a rated talk time of up to 4 hours and a rated standby time of 2.9 days.

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