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Cheap Bluetooth Headsets
Cheap Bluetooth Headsets Buying Guide
With more and more laws requiring drivers to use hands-free devices when speaking on cell phones, cheap Bluetooth headsets are in demand. They use low-frequency radio waves to let users talk or listen to music remotely.
The Motorola HX550 (starting at $39, Amazon) and the LG Tone HBS700 (starting at $45, Amazon) top our list of cheap Bluetooth headsets for their excellent sound quality and comfortable design. Winning "good" ratings are the ultra-long Jabra Wave (starting at $47, Amazon), which is feather-light and plenty loud, and the Jawbone Icon (starting at $43, Amazon), which looks almost like a piece of jewelry. It connects almost instantly to a phone, transmits clearly, and cancels out noise effectively, although some people take exception to the fit.
The Motorola Finiti (starting at $45, Amazon) has three mikes, but users still have problems hearing and being heard on this cheap Bluetooth headset. Others have had issues in pairing it with their phones and say the text-to-speech option leaves a lot to be desired. You get just about what you'd expect for the price of the Samsung WEP460 (starting at $17, Amazon). Even admirers admit it's not an outstanding piece of equipment, with no noise reduction and fairly low volume. It drops calls when used with some phone brands, consumers report, and the fit is uncomfortable.
Cheap Bluetooth headsets are either monaural (with one earpiece) or stereo (with two). The microphone on a mono headset sits close to the user's mouth, while the microphone on a stereo headset is somewhat farther back. Most cheap Bluetooth headsets attach to your ear with an earbud, an over-the-ear hook, or both. Many come with a selection of earbuds so you can choose one that fits your ear well. Because Bluetooth headsets perform a variety of functions, they have several recessed or raised buttons users can press by feel. These days, most cheap Bluetooth headsets also respond to voice commands, removing the need to tap buttons.
When buying a cheap Bluetooth headset, make sure it's compatible with your phone. Most headsets are backward-compatible with older versions of Bluetooth software -- that is, they will support older technology in your phone. But if the Bluetooth software on your phone is a newer version than your headset uses, you won't be able to do some of the cool stuff your new phone would be able to do with a newer headset.
Pricey headsets such as the Bose Series 2 (starting at $150, Amazon) offer extremely effective noise cancellation that blocks out surrounding noises when you make a call; superior fit that stays in your ear if you run for a train or bus and feels comfortable if you have to wear the thing for hours; voice commands that really work; and good enough range that your phone doesn't have to be right on top of you when you're calling. The Bose Bluetooth headset also features automatic output adjustment that tweaks the volume to fit the sound level of the surrounding environment. The price, however, is so over-the-top that even a reviewer for New Delhi's NDTV who was impressed by the Bose Bluetooth headset says you can find many similar features for a lot less money.
Best Cheap Bluetooth Headsets
Motorola HX550This headset has a long battery life and noise canceling that really works, reviewers say. It comes with both earbuds and an over-ear hook, so you can choose the most comfortable option. It's easy to use, with a flip-on, flip-off format that saves power, and if you have an Android phone, you can hear text messages. Read more »
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Good Cheap Bluetooth Headsets
Jabra WaveThe design of this device screams "Bluetooth headset." It's large and wraps around the ear, but its length places the boom mike closer to your mouth than most headsets. Some users have a hard time fitting it to their ears but praise the sound quality and noise reduction. Read more »
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Jawbone IconIn addition to excellent sound quality and noise canceling abilities, the Jawbone Icon has a design that makes it almost a fashion accessory. It's also highly customizable, with a built-in operating system, although users say you can't manually control the volume because the device is supposed to do that automatically. Read more »
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Don't Bother Cheap Bluetooth Headsets
Some consumers like the Finiti's noise cancellation technology, but others find it an average headset. It has many controls, good battery life, and a comfortable fit, reviews say, but call quality isn't what it should be. Consumers report that this headset drops calls, locks inadvertently, and is generally buggy. Read more »
Motorola Finiti Review
Samsung WEP460 Review
Jabra Wave Review
Jawbone Icon Review
Motorola HX550 Review
LG Tone HBS-700 Review
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