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Etymotic EtyBlu review: Etymotic EtyBlu

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MSRP: $129.99

The Good The Etymotic EtyBlu is a great Bluetooth headset with a very secure fit and an extendable boom mic for additional noise cancellation.

The Bad The Etymotic EtyBlu's ear tip fits very deeply in the ear, which can be uncomfortable to some people. Overall sound quality was mixed, with static blips and low outgoing volume.

The Bottom Line Even though we had minor issues with the fit and sound, the Etymotic EtyBlu is an excellent Bluetooth headset overall.

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7.7 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7

Etymotic is an established name in high-performance wired earbuds and is known for its flanged ear tips and "true to the ear" sound. The company made its foray into the wireless market a couple years ago with the Ety8 stereo Bluetooth earbuds, but had yet to debut a monaural Bluetooth headset. In Macworld 2008, however, Etymotic finally debuted the EtyBlu, a premium Bluetooth headset designed to deliver high-quality sound and comfort. Originally marketed at iPhone users, the EtyBlu is compatible with any other Bluetooth device. Its price is a bit on the high end at $129 retail, but we think it's more than worth it.

From the outset, it looks as if Etymotic imitated the Apple Bluetooth headset with its slim black stick design. Measuring 1.8 inches long by 0.5 inch wide by 0.5 inch thick, the EtyBlu has a glossy piano black finish accented with a silver multifunction button on the front. Though it is flush against the surface, the button is still easy enough to find and press because of a slight texture difference. There's also an LED indicator light underneath the button. The volume rocker sits on the right spine while the charger/mic jack is on the bottom.

On the back of the headset is the in-ear style earbud that Etymotic is known for. The EtyBlu comes with two sets of triple-flanged silicone ear tips--two small and two regular--plus a foam insert alternative. The flanged ear tips are made to be worn deep in the ear, and it is important to get a good ear tip seal. The instructions state to carefully insert the ear tip while pulling up and out on the back of the ear while twisting the earpiece in place. For the foam insert, you roll down or compress it to get it in, and then you wait for the foam to expand and create a tight seal. We have to warn you that the ear tip is inserted so deep that it can feel slightly uncomfortable, and it may take time for you to get used to it. We did think it felt a little too deep for comfort, but slowly adjusted to it. You should also take the EtyBlu off when not in use though--it blocks out environmental noise almost too effectively.

Also on the back of the headset is a slot for an optional ear loop. Since the earpiece fits so deep in the ear, the ear loop is unnecessary, but you can still wear it for additional stability.

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