Even though we tend to cover Bluetooth headsets from more established brands like Jabra and Plantronics, we also take the time to cover lesser-known models if they're interesting enough. Wise and Blue, a South Korean company, for example, is a maker of Bluetooth headsets that plans to widen its market to include U.S. consumers. We reviewed one of the company's headsets, the WB120, a while ago, and this time we're taking a look at the WB130. The WB130 has many of the same features that the WB120 has, plus it boasts a "bone conduction speaker" that enhances incoming sound quality by amplifying sound waves through the bones in the skull. This is unlike the Motorola Endeavor HX1, which uses the bone conduction technology for outgoing sound instead. We're pleased with the headset overall, though we're less than impressed by the design. The WB130's pricing is not yet final, but Wise and Blue has said it plans to sell it for around $100, similar to the WB120's price.
The WB130 looks a lot like the WB120, with its blocky and rectangular shape. It won't win any awards with its traditional and uninspired design, but it's still quite compact. It measures 1.9 inches long by 0.7 inch wide by 0.4 inch thick, and it has a smooth glossy black surface instead of the diamond pattern on the WB120. In the middle of the front surface is a round multifunction button with a slight divot in the middle so you can find it easily by feel. On the left spine is the charger jack, while the volume rocker is on the right. The LED indicator is on the bottom.
Like the WB120, the WB130 has a folding earpiece design. It can be folded up for a more streamlined shape, or folded down so that the earpiece can fit in the ear. When it's folded up, the headset is automatically placed on hold so you can't accidentally press a button. When fitted, the earpiece sits just inside the opening of the ear. The WB130 does not come with different earbud covers, which is a disappointment. It fits snugly in the ear but it does feel a bit wobbly at times. For additional security, the headset comes with an optional ear loop attachment. However, the attachment has little plastic handles that scratch the ear occasionally, which is uncomfortable at times.
The features of the WB130 are the same as the WB120. It has all the basics like answering, ending, and rejecting calls, plus last number redial, voice dialing support, call mute, the capability to transfer calls from the headset to the phone and vice versa, and it also automatically reconnects your headset to the phone if both are paired and powered on. The WB130 has A2DP compatibility, which lets you listen to music on your phone, and multipoint, which lets you connect to two phones at the same time.
The WB130 also has a self-tuner, which lets you set an internal optimized EQ for the best sound possible according to your hearing ability. The self-tuner works by playing a series of tones at different pitches, and you're instructed to press the multifunction button whenever you hear a tone. We tried this out a few times, and indeed, we found that the sound quality improved a bit. It's even more noticeable when listening to music.
We paired the WB130 with the Apple iPhone 3G. It automatically goes into pairing mode when you first power it on, but if you want to manually pair it, you can do so by folding down the earpiece. We were impressed with the call quality on the whole. Callers could hear us loud and clear without a lot of static or background noise. This was the same whether we were in a car or a quiet office environment. Still, it didn't block out background noise completely, which was especially evident on a crowded city sidewalk. The WB130 also does not handle wind noise very well; callers could hear us only after we raised our voices.
Incoming sound quality on the WB130 is excellent. Perhaps because of the bone conduction speaker on the WB130, incoming audio sounded deeper and at a slightly lower frequency. This was the same for both calls and music. We heard our callers very clearly, with very little static, and their voices sounded quite natural as well.
The WB130 comes with a clip holder, a tiny holder that you can stick to your car's center console, and a cell phone charm loop. We don't know its rated talk time or standby time as of this writing.