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Review of Nokia BH-217 Bluetooth Headset

In the box:

  • Headset
  • Charger
  • Clip
  • Replaceable earloops
  • Car holder
  • User guide

I have to mention that Nokia once again inflates its lineup of Bluetooth headsets with numerous similar offerings, which boast only a slightly different design or minor additions. The company ignores the crisis days when such models were not in demand. Moreover, the lifecycle of headsets is much shorter than that of smartphones and phones. You can still buy models manufactured 3 or 4 years ago. Even big players like Nokia can prosper only with 4-5 current models, while it has almost 10 similar headsets on offer. Today I will tell you about the headset, which comes with the clip in the box. What do you think of it?

Design and Construction

The box is traditionally dark blue. Inside you find a clip to connect to clothes. The headset fits this cradle well. At the bottom there is a charger slot. Another clip can be used to fix the headset in the car. It also has a hole for the charger. Frankly speaking I didnt enjoy carrying the clip around. It takes time to get BH-217 out of it. I would rather do something else, but some may like it.

Interestingly, the holder is not so simple. For example, when you insert the headset it switches off automatically. Take it out and BH-217 is ready to work. The same applies to the car holder. Apparently, Nokia hoped to offer additional features, but it would be better just to leave the on/off button on the body.

The headset is thin and compact (50.5 x 17 x 6.2 mm). Its weight is 7.6 g. Two colors are offered: dark grey and light. The headset is not much visible in the ear. The front has contact area to work with the holder, microphone and a jack for the charger. The speaker podium is small and has a classical dark blue line. The built and materials are good to offer impressive user experience. There are no extra details here. The speaker is covered with the metal grill, while the multifunction key, or rather the call symbol, is silver.

User Friendliness

In the box you have two earloops and tips. You will find the appropriate ones easily. The headset can be carried with or without the earloop. It is well fixed and can even accompany you on visits to the gym.

Controls

The front panel hosts a multifunctional key responsible for answering and ending calls together with switching the call to the phone. There are voice tips for selected events, but this option can be turned off if you wish. In general the controls are simple and logical. The on/off button should have been left where it was. It is inconvenient especially if you do not use the holder.

Power

The manufacturer claims up to 5 hours of talktime and our tests proved that. This parameter is not impressive though. Why engineers did not insert a battery into the holder similarly to Plantronics or Samsung. The plastic toy would have been justified then.

Multipoint

The headset can be connected to a couple of phones at a time. You have to connect the first model, then disconnect it, connect the second and the first again. I tested this feature with BlackBerry 9105 and BlackBerry 9780. Everything worked well.

Phone connection and sound quality

I predominantly tested the headset with iPhone 4 via Bluetooth 2.1. The operation distance in the office is around 4 meters without artefacts. As always this Nokia headset ensures high sound quality even without the possibility of adjustment. Automatic controls work well. There is DSP and you can communicate successfully in a noisy room, though an interlocutor will hear all the noise. It is a joy to use in the car. The headset remembers up to eight connected devices and automatic connection works fine.

Conclusions

The retail price of the headset is around $57 and without the redundant holder it could be considered a budget solution. Comparable models often cost less. I liked the design, built and controls. On the downside the on/off button was axed. Operation time is not the best, but if you like the holder thing pay attention to this model. Otherwise feel free to look elsewhere. For a lower price you can purchase an excellent Nokia BH-606 or something from Jabra, lets say, Arrow.

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Sergei Kuzmin (skuzmin@mobile-review.com)
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Translated by Maxim Antonenko (maxantonenko@ukr.net)

Published 24 October 2010

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