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Review of Bluetrek Carbon Bluetooth Headset
In the box:
Carbon is a very popular material. Some people are ready to use it in cars or even inside their houses, but we have to know the measure to achieve harmony. Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte is a good example of nice combination of materials. On the other hand some gadgets use carbon not to their advantage. Let's look at Bluetrek Carbon to understand if it was sensible to introduce the model or it will merely gather dust on shelves.
Design and Construction
I have never seen such a cheerful package. After all we still judge the book by its cover and the package of the model looks tasty. You feel like playing with it. We get a transparent blister together with the soft base for parts. The tone is set just right. At the same time Bluetrek cannot rival Jawbone.
The impression is spoiled by a pouch made of some snake like material. My initial intention was to throw it away with the headset still inside and unpacked. I could tolerate a soft pouch or its absence, but here we get some kind of a coffin. Rest in peace.
Everything else is standard - headband, short USB cable predominantly catering to laptop users. Unfortunately there is no network or card adaptor. Despite this weird pouch the headset makes you happy. Round jack is made of carbon, the body is finished with velvet plastic and buttons look impressive with the grilled front and speaker. MicroUSB jack is at the back. Luckily we are not offered adaptors or other useless elements, so you can charge the gadget with the standard cable. Carbon jack looks beautiful and cannot be easily disfigured. The weight is merely 6 g. In your ear the headset looks appropriately without unnecessary futurism. I liked the long jack and the microphone was close enough to the mouth, which ensures good speech reproduction.
The clip from the box helps to attach the gadget to the shirt's pocket. I have some reservations as to the practicality of this solution, but hopefully you will enjoy it. Pay attention that symbols on the button replicate the Home button of iPhone and it is not the only connection between Carbon and Apple products. When I connected the headset to iPhone 4 the battery indicator immediately appeared on the screen. It is a good addition indeed. The dimensions of the headset are 74 х 19 х 20 mm.
Convenience of Carrying It Around
You can carry the headset with or without headband and I prefer the first variant more. Silicon tips are large enough, soft and comfortable. You can easily use the headset in a gym without the risk of losing them.
At the back you find an activation button, which gives you a clue when the device is on. The light indicator at the front is too conspicuous and I think a tinier dot would have been more appropriate. The multifunctional key is located in the centre near the indicator and offers standard capabilities – accept or decline calls, switch between lines, call the latest number and activate voice calling. Among juicier features I can mention an opportunity to disable the microphone by pressing and holding the volume control button. Buttons are too hard to push though.
Bluetooth 3.0 is supported at the expense of A2DP and the latter should be added in future firmware. The headset can be quickly connected to a phone, which I tried with Blackberry 9780 and iPhone 4. You can disable multipoint, but the most important fact is its availability. The way to pair the second phone is thoroughly described in the User Guide and I advise to follow these recommendations. There are voice alerts for events, but I do not understand why you need a signal, that the charging has come to an end. At the time you are unlikely to have a headset on.
The company claims up to 4.5 hours of talktime and 5 days on the standby. If you talk a lot during the day be ready to charge Carbon a lot, as the battery is not enough for the purpose. Charging via the USB cable takes around two hours.
Phone Connection and Sound Quality
Generally I tested the gadget with iPhone 4. The headset conveys speech well, but I was not carried away. For example, Jawbone Era does its work so well that you only have to enjoy the sound quality, but Carbon is not so trouble free. The sound is great in a quiet room, but in a mildly noisy environment interlocutors will hear ambient sounds all too well. Overall quality can be graded as four stars and a half. Operation range is limited to four meters. I tested it in an office. If you move further alien sounds appear, you stop hearing all the words and so on.
This headset is not yet easy to find in retail and the price is around $100. I liked the looks and good controls. It is convenient to carry, sound reproduction is nice in an office or inside a car with closed windows. On the downside we should mention a coffin like pouch, the absence of a network adaptor and the operation time leaves much to be desired.
I can easily recommend the headset to fans of nice looking gadgets. It would also serve as an excellent gift. With every coming year the company offers better products. Now they just have to pay attention to small details. In general we have an interesting product, albeit slightly undermined by minor trifles.
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Published — 15 June 2011
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