- Review Price: £20.99
There are all manner of uses a Bluetooth headset can be put to. With one of these handy devices plugged into your lughole, you can make and receive phone calls in the car, for instance, without taking a hand of the wheel. You can take notes while on an important business call, or use your computer with both hands.
And, if you happen to be in a dodgy area of town late at night, using a headset saves you from having to whip out your mobile for all to see when you have an important phone call to make. Wearing one might make you look like a bit of pillock and you’re almost certain to draw odd looks when you look like you’re talking to yourself, but I reckon everyone from businessmen to ladies who lunch should own one of these essential bits of kit.
How on earth do you choose from the hundreds of devices on the market, though? One way to do it is to look for extra, innovative features. Take the Aliph Jawbone Assassin that Riyad reviewed recently. It was expensive at £75, but sumptuously designed, and its ingenious jaw movement sensor set it apart from the throng.
With its snappily titled BIZZ headset, Bluetrek is hoping that innovative features will help potential customers choose its product over others, too. It’s not as expensive as the Jawbone 2 – £20 to £30 seems to be about the sweet spot for Bluetooth headsets – yet it offers a feature that most headsets do not. It doubles up as a USB microSD card reader.
Pop off the cap and earpiece assembly, and underneath you’ll find a tongue-style USB connector, and just above this is a slot for a microSD card. Plug it into any nearby USB socket and the BIZZ is transformed from communications device to a quick and convenient data store. For carrying around presentations, spreadsheets and a collection of important office documents, even large amounts of music and video, this is a great idea.
It means if you forget to take a USB cable with you, you can quickly transfer data from a smartphone (most seem to have a microSD slot these days) to a laptop or desktop PC and back again regardless of whether or not that machine has a card reader. It also means you’re not tied to a small amount of built-in data since you can have as much stored in your earpiece as you like – up to a limit of 8GB on SD/SDHC card types (note: no memory is included in the box).
The integrated USB socket, of course, has another function – it charges the headset as it’s connected. It’s not the only headset to do this, but it is convenient and saves on having to remember to take a cable, docking station or charger with you on holidays or business trips. Its integrated battery offers a claimed six hours of talk time, and 10 days standby per charge, so it should outlast the great majority of 3G based smartphones.
It’s also good to see that the lid and body of the headset are permanently linked together by a short plastic tether, which extends neatly from the interior of the BIZZ’s body when you separate the two halves of the headset. Though you may very well lose the headset, you won’t end up with just one half in your pocket, searching for the other.
The BIZZ is not as good looking as the Aliph Jawbone, with its leather ear hook and diamond pattern finish, but it’s far from ugly. I’ve seen people wandering around the local supermarket with things plugged into their ears that make them look like extras from the original Star Trek series – complete with bulky bodies, and blinking lights bright enough to land a 737.
The BIZZ’s black and silver livery is tasteful and its slender and wiry black ear hook that tucks away neatly out of sight is the opposite of this. It’s also very small and light. Instead of extending halfway down your cheek towards your mouth, the body of the headset measures a mere 52mm, front to back, and weighs just 10g.
In general, the headset worked well. The lack of buttons – there’s only one here for pairing, starting and ending calls and redialling – makes it very easy to operate. It’s a little annoying at first not being able to adjust the volume up and down but once you’ve found the right level that’s not too big a problem, and it means there’s no fumbling around trying to figure out which controls do what.
In tests on various phones I was able to make myself understood clearly without having to shout as if I were on holiday in a southern Spanish seaside resort. The headset connected reliably without any interference and you should be able to get a decent fit, too, with four sets of rubbery ear fittings provided.
But it’s not perfect. Sound quality is far from the best I’ve heard. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t completely awful; just that a bit more refinement wouldn’t have gone amiss. Voices were clear enough to be understood, but they had a hard, rasping edge to them at all times that made long calls more tiresome than they should have been. It’s disappointing because, as a Bluetooth 2.0 device, audio quality shouldn’t be limited by the speed or reliability of the wireless connection.
That single button could be more responsive, too: it takes a good hard prod to activate, and while this prevents accidental calls effectively, having to push the headset hard against the side of your head to pick up and end calls is hardly comfortable.
Still, that’s not enough to completely put me off the Bluetrek BIZZ. You may view the microSD card reader as just a gimmick, but I can see it coming in handy for business users of smartphones in particular. The fact that it can be charged without a cable or mains adaptor is a boon, and it’s on sale at a very reasonable price. It’s just a shame about the sound quality issues. If those had been resolved I’d have no hesitation in recommending this clever little headset. As it is, however, it ends up with a reasonable but not outstanding score.
Score in detail
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