Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Jabra BT800 Bluetooth Headset
- Caller ID, make calls from the headset, ease of setup
- Not comfortable, only displays phone numbers not names
Unit's display doesn't compensate for poor comfort and sound quality
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
The Jabra BT800 is a Bluetooth headset with a difference, sporting a small display that can be used to view incoming call details and recently received call lists. This unit is fitted with a surprising number of extra features compared to the BT500 - and only retails for slightly more.
We find the BT800 more aesthetically pleasing than the BT500 - it's smaller, more compact and the microphone is neatly integrated into the headset itself. It took us a little while to figure out the hooking mechanism, but in our opinion, it's also much more comfortable to wear.
As with all Bluetooth headsets, the BT800 must be paired with your phone before you can use it. We strongly recommend you check out the list of compatible phones on the Jabra website before you purchase, as this will determine what special features you can use. To pair the Jabra BT800 you must use the supplied stylus to place the unit in 'pairing mode' - using our Nokia 6230 we paired our phone in a matter of minutes. We can't really understand however, why Jabra has included the stylus as you don't want to be carrying round smaller devices just to pair a headset. To unpair your mobile, you have to turn the unit off and we experienced the same issue with the BT800 that we did with the BT500 - you can't use your mobile normally to receive calls while the headset is paired.
Unlike the BT500, the controls on the BT800 are very easy to use and to identify. There are two separate buttons for Answering or Rejecting a call, making it easier to determine which one you have to press. Additionally, the buttons all have a slightly raised rubber portion so you can feel them easily and the volume control is a jog dial, as opposed to the stiff slider on the older unit. Depending on whether your phone supports it, the Jabra BT800 can be used to make calls using Voice Tags (by pressing the Answer button) or by dialing the last used number (by pressing and holding the Answer button).
Recognizing the difficulties we had with the BT500 picking up background noise, the BT800 has an automatic volume control that adjusts the volume of the call depending on the ambient noise. For the most part this worked well and you can always easily adjust the volume yourself using the jog dial if the call isn't loud enough. There is also a button for muting the call. We found the sound quality of calls on this unit were average and at times we struggled with clarity, especially while indoors.
The major difference between the BT500 and the BT800 is the small screen, which can display information such as the incoming call or a call list. This has dubious value in our opinion, as most of the time you will be wearing the headset so the display won't be used. However, if you do take the headset off, the screen allows access to a small menu which you can use to customize ring tones, set the unit to silent, turn on the screen backlight or view call lists. You can also turn the 'vibrate' mode off and we recommend you do so as it gives your ear quite a buzz when you receive a call. The problem with call lists on the BT800 is that only phone numbers are displayed, not names and there is no way to access the phone book stored on your mobile. Still, there's no denying the screen is a handy addition to the device.
Where this unit loses out to the BT500 is in battery life - the BT800 has only 6 hours of talk time (compared to 8 for the BT500) and its inconvenient to be carrying around a charger and a stylus everywhere you go. The Jabra BT800 needs a little tweaking before we could recommend it, especially in terms of displaying caller ids, but there's certainly a lot more features than the BT500 and it costs only a little more.
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