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Noise-Reduction Bluetooth Headsets: Wrap-up

The bottom line from our mini-series on Bluetooth headsets is that noise-reduction technology is the real deal, pulling your outgoing voice from the surrounding ambient noise without significant distortion. The technology has improved, typically with dual microphones, dampening of wind noise, and also boosting the incoming voice as well.

But as these four models show, your choice is not just about noise reduction. Looks are at least somewhat important, and these have very different designs for different kinds of users, and different types of uses. And comfort is a big issue, especially for long-term wear. Today's headsets have moved away from rooting the earpiece in your ear canal, and typically avoid the need for over-ear earloops except for particularly active use. Instead, they add a hollow loop to the earpiece, so the loop can nest into the ear's folds to stabilize the earpiece just inside the ear.

The result is a wide array of options to fit your style and comfort:

- The Plantronics Voyager PRO has an almost-retro utilitarian over-ear design with a boom mic and behind-the-ear pod. It has great voice quality and is good for long-term comfort resting on the ear, albeit not for active use.

It's priced at around $99, or around $84 street price. (See the Plantronics Voyager PRO on Amazon)



- The Aliph Jawbone Prime has a snazzy design with vivid colors. It's particularly good for heavy users on the go who can mind-meld with its "invisible" button interface (and don't mind the custom charging cable).

It's priced at $129, or around $100 street price. (See the Aliph Jawbone Prime on Amazon)


- The Plantronics Discovery 975 has an understated design with blocky base and small boom extension. It's good for extended use, since it comes with a small charging / carrying case that can recharge the headset for triple the talk time.

It's priced at around $129 with the case. (See the Plantronics Discovery 975 on Amazon)

- The Jabra BT530 has a compact and functional design, with dedicated single-use buttons. It's particularly helpful for occasional use, since it's so straightforward to turn on and use, albeit with somewhat less effective noise reduction.

It's priced under the others at $79, with lower street prices. (See the Jabra BT530 headset on Amazon)

That's four clearly differentiated options for your listening and speaking pleasure.

See my Audio Accessories Gallery for details and related products.

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This entry posted on October 20, 2009.

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