One-minute review: Apple iPhone Bluetooth Headset sounds better second time around

In my quest to find the perfect Bluetooth headset I recently tried the Jawbone 2 but was less than satisfied with the results. Remembering the things I liked about Apple’s iPhone Bluetooth Headset that I owned (and promptly lost), I decided to buy another one. What I like most is how integrated the headset is – both the hardware and the user experience. Unfortunately the welcome price drop from $129 to $99 means Apple also dropped the bundled dual-purpose charging dock that accomodated both the iPhone and the headset. I still own my original dual dock, however the new 3G’s thicker base prevents it from fitting into the dock (though I managed to “fix” my old dual dock with a little chisel handiwork).

The Apple iPhone Bluetooth Headset still comes with the handy Travel Cable, which has a small recepticle for plugging in the magnetized headset contacts to charge both the iPhone and headset at the same time.

Like the original the headset automatically pairs with the iPhone the first time you connect them together, and the headset’s battery level appears in both locked mode and in the upper right status bar beside the battery meter. A very nice touch.

As with the original there’s no ear loop, so it’s one-size-fits-all or nothing if the headset won’t stay in your ear. It fits fine in mine, and this time around I’ll be sure to always cover the rubber ring around the earpiece to protect it from deteriorating the way my original headset did after just a few weeks of use.

And like the original there’s still only one button for turning the headset on and off and handling calls.

But unlike the original there’s one very important improvement that makes it possible for me to see past the headset’s weaknesses: It sounds great.

The louder, clearer sounds probably owes itself more to the iPhone 3G’s improved audio quality than the headset itself, but whatever the reason, I’m pleased with the improvement over my first one.

All told, I’ll take the all-in-one charging solution, tiny form-factor and ear loop-less design over any of the other headsets I’ve recently tried. Now if only the iPhone 3G’s battery life lasted longer would I’d actually care whether the iPhone Bluetooth Headset really offers the estimated 5.5 hoursof talk time Apple says it does.


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