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BlueAnt Q2 Smart Bluetooth Headset review: BlueAnt Q2 Smart Bluetooth Headset

BlueAnt Q2 Smart Bluetooth Headset

Nicole Lee Former Editor
Nicole Lee is a senior associate editor for CNET, covering cell phones, Bluetooth headsets, and all things mobile. She's also a fan of comic books, video games, and of course, shiny gadgets.
Nicole Lee
5 min read

BlueAnt continues to enlarge its voice-controlled headset family with the BlueAnt Q2, which is the successor to the much-lauded Q1 that it introduced last year. The Q2 is dubbed a "smart" headset that is designed to take advantage of most smartphones (specifically iPhones, Android handsets, and BlackBerrys) with its advanced text-to-speech and voice-control features, but it will work with regular phones, too. In many ways, the Q2 features are similar to the T1, but it is far sleeker in appearance. The BlueAnt Q2 will retail for $129.


BlueAnt Q2 Smart Bluetooth Headset

The Good

The BlueAnt Q2 is slim and slender, with an impressive voice control interface that includes text-to-speech and access to Bing-411 services. It also has A2DP streaming, multipoint connectivity, and amazing sound quality.

The Bad

The BlueAnt Q2 has very tiny physical controls, and there are quite a number of commands to remember.

The Bottom Line

The BlueAnt Q2 is yet another BlueAnt winner, with new Bing-411 features and fantastic call quality even in windy situations.

When you place the Q1 and the Q2 side by side, the two headsets don't look too much like each other. Measuring around 2.17 inches long by 0.63 inch wide by 0.27 inch thick, the Q2 does have the same dimensions and slim profile as its predecessor, but that's where the similarities end. Instead of a sleek gunmetal exterior, the Q2 has a large piece of mesh plastic that covers most of the front. As we understand it, this acts as a wind guard that protects the headset's two microphones. Also located underneath the mesh is a tiny LED light that glows when the headset is activated.

On the front is a skinny multifunction button, which is different from the Q1's round logo-adorned one. The skinny volume keys are on the right, and the charger jack is on top of the headset. Though all the buttons are very thin, we thought they jutted out enough so they were still easy to find and press by feel. As for how to turn the headset on and off, there's actually a very small slider switch located just behind the charger jack that acts as the power toggle.

The earpiece on the BlueAnt Q2 is similar to the ones on previous Bluetooth headsets. The Q2 comes with a variety of different silicone earbuds to fit your preference; the ones with the stability ear loop can be worn without the plastic ear hook, whereas the ones that don't have this loop do require the ear hook so the headset won't fall off your ear. You can twist the earbud left or right to fit in either the left or right ear. Like with other BlueAnt headsets, we thought the fit was nice and snug, though it does take a bit of maneuvering before you get it right. The Q2 also has different-size earbuds for a more customized fit.

We paired the BlueAnt Q2 with the Apple iPhone 3G and the Samsung Intercept. Once you pair the headset with your phone, it will automatically attempt to download up to 2,000 of your phone's contacts so it will be able to announce the caller's name whenever you get an incoming call from someone on the list. For example, it will announce "Call from Nicole" if Nicole is in our phone book. We found this feature rather useful, but we did wish the announcement of the caller was a little louder and slower so we could catch it easier.

As with all the BlueAnt headsets, you can control most of the headset's features simply by using your voice. Press the multifunction button, and the Q2 will prompt you to "say a command." You can say "Phone commands" to activate voice command/dialing if your phone supports it, "Answer" to answer calls, "Ignore" to reject them, "Redial" for last number redial, and more. If you need help, you can either say, "What can I say?" or "Teach me" and the headset will run you through a few helpful hints. We should note that the Q2 is not completely hands-free as you do need to press the button prior to saying most of the voice commands.

With the Q2, BlueAnt has partnered with Bing to include a few custom voice commands. You can say "Call information" for a Bing-411 call, and say "Favorites" to access a list of Bing shortcuts. When the headset says, "Which favorite?" you can say eight different voice commands: "Movies" to find showtimes and theater information; "Navigate" to get directions; "News" for the latest news headlines; "Sports" for sports results; "Stock quotes" for market updates; "Traffic" for the latest traffic conditions; "Weather" for the forecast; and "Information" for the main Bing menu. Each of these commands will ask you for additional information (like your city and state or which sports score you're interested in) for more-detailed results. At any time, you can say "Tell me my choices" for a whole list of options. We admit, this is quite a lot of commands to remember, but we're glad to see they're available. We tried this a few times, and we're pleased to say it works as promised.

Call quality is really fabulous. The performance is similar to what we experienced with the BlueAnt T1, especially because of BlueAnt's Wind Armour Technology that promises great audio quality even in wind speeds of up to 22 mph. Though we weren't able to replicate exactly that, we did make a few test calls while positioned in front of a noisy fan, and we were surprised when our callers could still hear us. Callers did report some busy muffled background noise, but our voice still came through above it.

We also made a few calls while in a moving vehicle and in an outdoor cafe. Thanks to the Q2's voice isolation and noise-canceling features, callers could hardly hear us loud and clear, though background noise wasn't eliminated completely. As for us, we could hear them clearly, too, with clean and natural voice quality.

The BlueAnt Q2 also has A2DP streaming so we're able to listen to music and the turn-by-turn navigation directions on the phone. BlueAnt is also keen to point out that it works with Vlingo Safereader, an Android app that will read out incoming text messages and emails to you. That said, this feature isn't unique to the Q2--any headset with A2DP will work--but it's good to know anyway. Other features include multipoint connectivity so you can connect up to two devices simultaneously.

The BlueAnt Q2 comes with a USB cable for charging and future firmware updates, and a small velvet carrying pouch. It has a rated battery life of 5 hours talk time and 4.2 days standby time.


BlueAnt Q2 Smart Bluetooth Headset

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 8Performance 9