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Sound ID 300 review: Sound ID 300

Sound ID 300

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Nicole Lee
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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.

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3 min read

We are usually big fans of the Sound ID headsets, not only because of the superior sound quality, but also their comfort. Sound ID recently released the Sound ID 200, which is a lot more affordable than the previous Sound ID headsets without compromising sound quality. However, it does not have as many features as the previous SM100 or the SoundFlavors headsets. The Sound ID 300, on the other hand, has all the features of the Sound ID 200, plus an additional Personalized Sound feature that lets you have up to three listening levels depending on your preference. The Sound ID 300's MSRP is a little higher at $119.99, but you can get it for $99.99 from AT&T Wireless.

8.0

Sound ID 300

The Good

The Sound ID 300 is a simple headset with good call quality, noise cancellation, and three personal listening modes to better suit your preference. It has a comfortable fit and is reasonably priced.

The Bad

The Sound ID 300 has really small buttons, and we would've liked an additional volume key.

The Bottom Line

The Sound ID 300 is a great Bluetooth headset with good audio quality and ear comfort.

The Sound ID 300 looks exactly like the Sound ID 200, except it comes in a glossy black coating rather than a blue one. It measures 2.1 inches long by 0.6 inch wide by 0.3 inch thick, and has a very sleek and slim appearance, almost like that of the now-defunct Apple Bluetooth headset. It has a lone LED dot on the front as a status indicator.

Like on the Sound ID 200, the Sound ID 300's multifunction call key is on the top, while the volume key is on the left side. Both buttons are skinny and small, though they are raised above the surface so you can find them by feel. The singular volume control is rather bothersome since you have to cycle through all the volume levels until you get to the right one. We understand you won't need the volume key as much thanks to the automatic volume adjustment, but it still would be nice to have a second volume key for more precise control. The volume key also doubles as the Personal Sound key if held down for about 2 seconds to cycle through the three listening modes.

On the back of the headset is the earpiece covered in Sound ID's Real Comfort Ear Loop. The rubbery ear loop is tapered to a narrow point like a spout, which is made to fit snugly in the ear. Attached to this is a round ear loop so that the entire earpiece fits securely within the folds of the ear. The Sound ID 300 comes with three different loop sizes for different sized ears. If you prefer, there's also an over-the-ear hook for additional stability. Indeed, the earpiece fits very comfortably in our ear and we could wear it all day without much discomfort. The earpiece can be swiveled either to the left or right to fit either ear.

Like on the SM100, the Sound ID 300 comes with three Personalized Sound modes to increase speech intelligibility depending on your preference. The three modes are Normal Listening Enhancement, Moderate, and Strong, and you can toggle through these with the aforementioned volume key. If you prefer a more natural sounding voice with not as much difference between the voice and the background, you would opt for Normal mode. If you prefer to really set the speech apart from the surrounding noise, you would opt for the Moderate or Strong Listening Enhancement modes. Do note that you would be sacrificing the "natural" quality of the speech the stronger the mode, resulting in a more machine-like voice.

We paired the Sound ID 300 with the Apple iPhone 3G. Because of the Noise Navigation technology plus the dual microphone noise cancellation, callers could hear us very clearly, even in a busy cafeteria. Call quality didn't fare so well with wind noise, though, with some static and echo at times. Still, we could hear our callers clearly enough, especially with the help of the Personalized Sound modes.

To really tell the significance of the Noise Navigation, we turned it off to compare the call quality with and without it. Indeed, having the noise cancellation on makes a huge difference--there was a lot more background noise without it. The automatic volume adjustment also did a great job in adjusting the incoming volume levels, depending on whether we were in a quiet environment or in a noisier one.

Other features of the Sound ID 300 include answering, ending, and rejecting calls, call-waiting support, voice-dial support, call mute, and a battery life indicator. The Sound ID 300 has a rated talk time of 6 hours and a standby time of 9 days.

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