Fund this: Dot is the world's smallest Bluetooth headset

Already a Kickstarter success story, this impossibly tiny earbud can be used alone or paired with a second Dot for stereo listening. And it's surprisingly inexpensive.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
3 min read

Dot is one small headset. So Special Labs

Children, as the saying goes, should be seen but not heard. But Bluetooth headsets? Just the opposite.

Of course, most headsets are all too visible, hanging off or out of your ear like some clunky Borg implant. Thankfully, a company called So Special Labs aims to change that with the Dot, a Bluetooth headset that claims to be the world's smallest.

Update, July 14, 2015: On July 10, Kickstarter suspended the campaign for the Dot. Although no official reason was given on the campaign page, many backers pointed to an identical product that was already available and likely reported this violation to Kickstarter.

Indeed, if you read the backer comments, you'll find a lot of scathing accusations directed at So Special Labs founder Ivan Kan. You'll also find Kan's response (which appeared yesterday), in which he refers to his company as "an idea incubator" and his intention to use Kickstarter to help bring the product to the US market. "Basically, crowd funding allowed So Special Labs to identify its target audience, raise capital and conduct market research to turn an idea into a viable product," Kan wrote.

This is not uncommon, and in fact I've seen established companies do likewise for items already in production or even already for sale. I don't know if So Special Labs strictly violated Kickstarter's terms, but I do know the Dot campaign has moved to Indiegogo. It's already fully funded, but far shy of the nearly $300,000 it raised in just over 36 hours on Kickstarter.

It certainly appears to be. The Dot weighs a mere 3.5 grams and measures just 0.83 inch long and 0.54 inch across. All that's visible in your ear is, well, a half-inch dot.

So Special Labs

If that design sounds a little familiar, you may be thinking of the Motorola Hint , which made its debut last November. But the Dot is both smaller and lighter, and it can be paired with a second Dot for stereo audio -- a big plus for music fans.

Developer Ivan Kan does admit, however, that there are other similarities between the Dot and Hint -- though they're all good ones. Both products feature a noise-cancelling microphone and a slick wireless-charging case.

As for other specs, the Dot promises 9 hours of call time from a single charge, or six hours of music listening. On standby it should last for 80 hours, or roughly three days. The Hint is rated for just 3.3 hours of talk time and 33 hours on standby.

Then there's price. The Dot blasted past its $30,000 Kickstarter fundraising goal in its first day and has currently amassed around $225,000. Even so, early backers still have the opportunity to get a single Dot for $59 or a pair for $89. (The expected retail price for a single Dot is $99.) The Motorola Hint, meanwhile, currently sells for $150.

Needless to say, on paper the Dot appears to beat the Motorola Hint in every important way -- except availability. You can buy a Hint now; the Dot is not expected to ship until December, and it's the rare Kickstarter project that hits its estimated ship date.

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