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Uniden BTHS800 review: Uniden BTHS800

The Uniden BTHS800 delivers decent in-call audio, but lacks designer flair and carries a hefty ticket price.

Joseph Hanlon Special to CNET News
Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies.
Joseph Hanlon
3 min read

Design and features

Designing a Bluetooth headset must be a very difficult task indeed. Trying to fit a speaker in the ear and a microphone as close to the mouth as possible, while making the entire package small enough so as to not be seen, but as stylish as possible in case it is seen, is a balancing act of responsibilities we don't envy. So we hope that whoever designed the BTHS800 doesn't hold it against us when we now go on to bemoan how boring this unit looks and feels.

6.2

Uniden BTHS800

The Good

Clear earpiece audio. Multipoint connectivity. Comfortable fit.

The Bad

Muffled audio through microphone. Terrible music playback. Proprietary charger. Expensive.

The Bottom Line

The Uniden BTHS800 delivers decent in-call audio, but lacks designer flair and carries a hefty ticket price.

A combination of two shades of grey plastic, the BTHS800 looks like every other Bluetooth headset we've every seen. In fact, if you walked up to just about anyone on the street and asked them to draw a generic Bluetooth headset, our money is on them drawing something very similar to this. On the top side of this unit is a faux-metal speaker grille with an inconspicuous LED under the surface and on the underside is the earphone. The volume rocker is either on the right side of the unit and is easy to reach during a call, and the power switch is at the top. Interestingly, the BTHS800 features independent volume control from the phone we tested it with. Typically, the volume rocker on a headset will adjust the call volume on a phone, but on the BTHS800 it only controls the headset itself, leaving you to adjust the phone's in-call volume if needed.

For users of multiple Bluetooth compatible devices, the BTHS800 can connect to two separate devices simultaneously using a feature called Multipoint. This means you can connect your phone to the headset and then connect a Bluetooth MP3 player as well.

If you've bought a phone in the last six months or so then you're probably using a micro-USB connection to charge the phone. Most Bluetooth headsets also use micro USB for charging, meaning you could share travel adapters. This, however, is not the case if you choose the Uniden. For some reason Uniden has chosen to use a smaller, proprietary charging connection, meaning you'll need to use this unit's unique travel pack.

Performance

On the box the BTHS800 makes the same promises as most of the top-tier Bluetooth headsets: noise reduction, echo cancellation and digital signal processing. Uniden uses a dual-mic set-up to achieve the clarity of audio you'll hear, and the results are pretty good. During calls we made during tests the audio was loud and clear, though certain elements of background noise did seem more distinct than you might expect on a mobile phone call.

The people we spoke to were not as happy with the audio captured through the headset's microphone. Though it was audible, our listeners complained of a muffled and distant sound. This is fairly typical for a Bluetooth headset, but it was reported to be more pronounced on the BTHS800 than with other headsets. We also wouldn't recommend the BTHS800 for music playback. Though it's capable of stereo audio streaming, music sounds appalling through the headset, more like a wall of sound than a melody.

Overall

Deciding between different Bluetooth headsets isn't tremendously difficult. While some people may want advanced functionality, most users simply need a device to connect to their phone and to make calls on. The BTHS800 provides this service reasonably well, but not enough to justify its AU$110 price tag. This sort of money will buy you a headset with the same features and stylish design — something the BTHS800 is sorely lacking.