Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Price, Ease of use, Features List
- Design with paper inserts a little tacky, Volume could be improved in heavy noise environments
The fashion innovation is a gimmick, but the rest of you will appreciate a competitively priced and easy to use unit that performs fairly well.
Price$ 79.00 (AUD)
Here at the GoodGearGuide, we've always had a slight issue with Bluetooth headsets. Don't get us wrong; they're practical and for those who are constantly on the phone, especially while driving a car, they are very useful, but we feel that people usually look quite odd wearing them.
Jabra has released the BT160 in an attempt to combine the world of high fashion with Bluetooth accessories. Perhaps we exaggerate slightly - the selling point of the BT160 is that the look of the unit can be changed by using paper inserts, much like interchangeable covers for your mobile phone. The process is simple and involves clipping off the clear plastic front, removing the paper insert, swapping it then snapping the cover back on again - taking no more than about 15 seconds.
Now, forgive us for our negativity, but we don't feel there are many people out there who want to stand out whilst using a Bluetooth headset. In fact, it's quite the opposite; they should be as inconspicuous as possible. If you feel like us, then the BT160's delve into the fashion sector isn't going to suit your style at all. However, there are those amongst us who will quickly snap up the latest fashion trends, especially in the mobile market.
While not in the same class as the Jabra , the BT160 is still on the small side and, depending on what insert you choose, professional as well (the silver/grey insert is particularly business looking, for example). Jabra has once again delivered excellence in ease of use and functionality; clearly expressed by the minimal amount of buttons on this unit. Only a Answer/End Call button and Volume Up and Down buttons are present and overall, the unit is very simple to operate.
We had no trouble pairing the BT160 with our test handset, the Sony Ericsson W810i. You simply press the Volume Up key and the Answer/End Call button together for a couple of seconds and the unit is placed into 'pairing' mode. Our W810i detected the BT160 with a minimum of fuss and we were soon ready to go. The light on the front of the unit indicates whether the BT120 is connected or in pairing mode and this light is also used to signify a low battery life, active call mode and standby mode.
We used the BT120 both indoors and outdoors and the results were mixed. Inside, the BT120 had no issues with the clarity and the call quality quite clear. In fact, we had to turn down the volume on the headset because it was quite overbearing on our ears. Outside in the busy streets though, the BT120 could have performed a little better. It is adequate and we couldn't find any major faults, but at its highest volume level it is a little lacking in heavy noise environments.
The BT120 has a basic set of features and functions including answering and rejecting calls, making calls, utilising voice dialing and redialing; all of which are activated using the single Answer/End Button. Depending on what feature you are using, you either tap, press, or press and hold the button. For example, redialing the last number you called requires you to press the centre button, whilst simply tapping it answers an incoming call. We also had no complaints with the range, nor the battery life; a pretty spot on 10 metres and up to 8 hours talk time and 110 hours of standby time respectively.
Apart from this somewhat new fashion innovation, the BT160 is an otherwise solid, if not overly outstanding unit. Obviously we aren't going to expect a multitude of features at this extremely competitive price point, but what Jabra has offered is a basic, cut price headset that generally performs at the required level and is extremely easy to use.
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