Bluetooth Headset Comparison : 11/12/2004
By: Carlos E.
Headsets Purchased from: USTronics.com
The Candidates for the Throne:
1) Plantronics M3000 (Defending Champion)
2) Motorola HS-810
3) Sony Ericsson HBH-300
4) Bluetrek G2
Phones Utilized for tests:
1) Motorola V3 Razr
2) Motorola V600
Criteria for Initial Selection:
1) Had to support both Headset and Handsfree profiles
2) Had to have an advertised battery life exceeding 5 hours
3) Could not exceed $110 dollars
4) Had to fit over the ear without additional wires
5) Had to not have features exclusive only to one manufacturer
B) Boot up time and Association Speed
C) Clarity of Voice
D) Distance reached before breakup
F) Complexity of use
G) Construction Quality
H) Susceptibility to external noise (wind)
I) Ease of use during call
J) Available functionality (Redial, Voice Dial, etc)
K) Battery Life
A) Aesthetics- Face it, looks are important.
1) Bluetrek G2- Designed by Xavier Haou Designs in Paris, France, it is cool.
2) Motorola HS-810- The size of the HS810 makes it unobtrusively cool.
3) Sony Ericsson HBH-300- The HBH-300 looks cool in a Borg sorta way.
4) Plantronics M3000 – The M3000 looks like a wart coming out of my ear.
B) Boot up time- The headsets are ranked from fastest to slowest in this test. How fast a headset associates with phone is crucial for having Bluetooth be a convenience and not an annoyance.
1) Motorola HS-810- With the foldable boom, the HS-810 is brutally fast.
2) Bluetrek G2 – The Bluetrek takes 3 seconds to turn on, but once on, it found my phones and associated to them relatively quickly.
3) Plantronics M3000 – The M3000 also took 3 seconds to turn on, but needed coercion (pushing the call button) for the pairing to begin.
4) Sony Ericsson HBH-300 – The HBH-300 wasn’t significantly slower than the other two but slow enough in the whole process to come in last place.
C) Clarity of Voice- Ranked from best to worst
1) Plantronics M3000- Overall best sound, just not outside where wind kills it.
2) Motorola HS-8100 Fuller, but muddier, muted, but not as much as the G2 below.
3) Sony Ericsson- Clear but 'thin' sounding, without much richness. Would start echoing easily depending on where you are relative to the phone.
4) Bluetrek G2-Slightly muddy and muted.
D) Distance reached before breakup- Ranked from furthest to shortest
1) Plantronics M3000- Go baby go. This thing doesn’t quit.
2) Motorola HS-810- Very close second place.
3) Bluetrek G2- Not bad at all, but starts breaking up.
4) Sony Ericsson HBH-300 – breaks up the most of the bunch, although still good.
E) Comfort – From most comfortable to least comfortable
1) Bluetrek G2- Lightweight, can barely feel it, but feels like it'll fall off easily, which stressed me out a bit.
2) Sony Ericsson HBH-300- Although heavy(er), it is well balanced.
3) Motorola HS-810- Small in size, but because of this sits funny on my Vulcan-sized ears.
4) Plantronics M3000- Painful around the ear after more than 30 minutes.
F) Complexity of use – From easy to difficult
1) Bluetrek G2- Opposable volume buttons are sign of a good design, and control button is easy to find.
2) Motorola HS-810 Good sized control button, but volume buttons are harder to find than those of the G2.
3) Plantronics M3000 - Large Button, but requires pairing when turned on and thus you can sometimes wonder why a call isn’t answered.
4) Sony Ericsson HBH-300 – Same as the Plantronics, but with smaller buttons making the whole ordeal much more difficult without taking off your headset to look at it.
G) Construction Quality – From most solid to most cheap-feeling
1) Sony Ericsson HBH-300 – BMW might have well built this thing. Feels great!
2) Plantronics M3000- Solid, but earpiece is a little weak feeling.
3) Motorola HS-810 Mine was defective, came with poor shielding, thus causing a buzz that needed to be sent back to Motorola for repair. Thus although it feels solid I have to dock it for poor quality control.
4) Bluetrek G2- Looks good but feels cheaply made.
H) Susceptibility to external noise such as wind- From most susceptible to least.
1) Plantronics M3000 – Indoors (cars are “indoors”, unless you drive a convertible) this one rocks, outdoors, its worthless.
2) Sony Ericsson HBH-300 (tied for second) – Not bad.
2) Bluetrek G2 (tied for second) – Not Bad.
3) Motorola HS-810 – Might as well have a stamp that says ‘windproof’ on it.
I) Ease of use during call – From Easiest to most difficult to use.
1) Plantronics M3000- With the largest control button of the lot, you’d have to be a klutz to not be able to use it.
2) Bluetrek G2- Packed with features and the contours give away where you need to press.
2) Motorola HS-810- Tied with the G2 for easy access to the relevant functions.
3) Sony Ericsson HBH-300- Again, hard to figure out where to raise volume and the like. The buttons are just too small.
J) Available functionality (Redial, Voice Dial, etc) – From best to worst.
1) Bluetrek G2- Both the G2 and the HS-810 are packed with all of the features that the latest headsets can do, such as redial and voice dial, and both of them are easy to figure out and have appropriate tones to indicate what’s going on.
1) Motorola HS-810 – See above.
2) Plantronics M3000 – Doesn’t have some additional features that the G2 and the HS-810 have, but for all practical purposes it’s pretty good.
3) Sony Ericsson-There is no redial, only voice dial. I looked through the manual and couldn't find it either! I don’t get it, why not have redial?
K) Battery Life (subjective and per specification, as in, I did not sit and talk for 10 hours straight) - From longest to shortest.
1) Sony Ericsson HBH-300- Advertised at 10 hours talk time
2) Bluetrek G2- Advertised at 9 hours talk time
3) Plantronics M3000- Advertised at 8 hours talk time
4) Motorola HS-810 – Advertised at 5 hours talk time
L) Price – From cheapest to most expensive
1) Bluetrek G2 (As low as $50)
2) Plantronics M3000 (As low as $60)
3) Motorola HS-810 (As low as $90)
4) Sony Ericsson HBH-300 (As low as $110)
All of these headsets are good, but they are good for different uses and for different people. For example, I see the HBH-300 being good for a traveling salesman who needs to be on the phone a lot while in the car. Its long battery life and close mouthpiece will guarantee comfort and clarity even if the incoming sound isn’t as full as the others. I see the G2 being excellent for anyone that pairs their headset to their computer to do voice/video chats for hours on end. It’s comfortable so that you don’t feel it, and it’s cheap enough for anyone that likes to get a good bang for the buck. The HS-810 is the most fashionable one of the lot, and is best for the ‘executive’ that perhaps needs to take a call here and there on his headset. The M3000 would be for someone that needed to make sure that everything he said was clear, such as a dispatcher who is indoors and whose voice needs to be clear.
So which one did I keep for now?
The HS-810 offered a perfect complement to my MOTO V3 Razr and fit my lifestyle the best, but I realize that it may not be for everyone. Define your needs based on the criteria that I listed above and another one may be a better fit for you.
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