Which Bluetooth headset?

The need for being able to use your mobile phone without permanently holding it up to your ear, is as old as the mobile phone itself. Unfortunately, few capable solutions have appeared so far. Loudspeaker solutions have generally been haunted by poor sound quality and weak speakers, while cable-based handsfree sets simply have been too much of a mess for most people.

All of these problems were solved when the Bluetooth technology was released some years ago, and one finally could get rid of the cables which so far had been a requirement for handsfree solutions. Finally one could develop wireless handsfree sets which featured both the looks, weight and dimensions most people required, and which operated seamlessy towards every single phone equipped with the proper support.

For each new generation of headsets, the products have grown both lighter and cheaper than their predecessors, and the headsets available on the market today are both much more mature and raffined than the early models of the 90s. Take for instance Sony Ericsson, which has been able to bring no less than seven different headset models to the market these last three years, and therefore stands as a brilliant example of the rapid development pace the industry has gone through.

Unfortunately, as an ever increasing number of manufacturers have begun offering headsets under their own brands, it has become increasingly difficult to choose the right product. While consumers can compare the raw numbers of features like battery life and weight, it is hard to tell how headsets compare in everyday usage until you've tried them over a certain period of time.

Bearing this in mind, we have done a thorough roundup of seven of the most popular headsets available and compared their performance on features like design and ergonomics, as well as sound quality and operating range. The different headsets have been used together with Sony Ericsson's T610 and Nokia's 3650, which are among the best selling Bluetooth-phones available now.

We would like to thank Motorola, Nextlink, Nokia, Plantronics, Siemens and Sony Ericsson for providing us with samples of their products. We would also like to thank MPX, who have come up with the phones used in our roundup.

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