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Review of music Bluetooth-headset Jabra BT 325s
I’m most positive that many of you have encountered missed calls at least a dozen of times – regardless of what the reason were (too soft silent alert or quiet ring tones). In noisy rooms or on busy streets anybody might stumble across one or two missed calls; however there are people who keep on getting new entries on their “Missed” list countless times per day. Music lovers or simply those keen on having favorite tunes around every time and everywhere form this group of consumers – they are the ones who cannot avoid missing another call or two. And up until today many manufacturers dealing with wireless headsets haven’t paid attention to this niche or addressed the possibility of coming up with an all-round new device that would add one more audience, which is quite broad indeed, to their pool. But the truth is, there have been corded headsets plugged in to player and handset at the same time, though you could count them on the fingers of one hand
Nowadays some wireless stereo-headphones (not headsets, note this) come included with Bluetooth-adapters made for use together with a player. The adapter should be connected to the player’s 3.5 mm audio jack, so that it will transfer sound to cordless headphones via A2DP profile. Nevertheless the A2DP is far from perfection – its major shortcoming have already been dwelled on numerous times, thus we are just listing them out here.
First, sound quality delivered by Bluetooth-headphones and headsets is quite mediocre – no doubt, it is getting better with every new pack of codecs and upgrades to the A2DP profile itself, yet wireless earphones feel worse than their corded rivals.
Second, wireless headphones put up middling lifetime that is far inferior to that of players, making them less easy to use than standard corded headphones that are not power-hungry at all.
Our today’s gadget works in the same way as the abovementioned wireless headphones, but thanks to its unique features the BT-325s looks much more preferable – I see your hands shaking in excitement, but this is what we have made this review for, so read up.
The 325s’ design perfectly matches an iPod
The headset’s looks and trim were definitely inspired by the design of iPod’s range. The BT-325s itself includes a Bluetooth module with a 3.5 mm cable and corded stereo-headphones, which is quite strange for a wireless headset – you won’t argue, I think. Being an ellipsoidal sphere made of glossy milk-white plastic with rubber side-pads, the Bluetooth-model serves for device management purposes, since it retains volume up/down keys (for handset only). The buttons are easy to grip and on top of that offer nice tactile feelings. The pick up key is mounted in the centre, being a round-shaped classic key with the maker’s logo engraved on it.
One of the sides houses the microphone and a flap-covered charger’s slot – basically, this flap is firmly attached to the casing, so don’t even think you are ever going to lose it. All in all, the module looks quite appealing with its sensitive clicking buttons.
microUSB socket is used for recharging the 325s
The wireless module also boasts an original metal clothing clip, that goes well with shirts and jackets, though it’s not the ultimate solution for all types of cloth – occasionally, you might find yourself at a loss looking for a place to put it on.
It’s not all clear why there is only one trim available – even extra black color scheme would be most welcome. But it seems Apple’s solution impacted the designers’ mindset at the time when they were deciding on white-only device. In the end, though, it turns out to be a quite weighty shortcoming, since white gadgets simply don’t get along with darker cloth, on top of that, white-colored players and handsets aren’t that widely spread in Russia.
Ease of use
Considering how short the cord linking up the module to a player (65 cm) is, and the necessity to position it close to your mouth, looking for a place to attach the device to. I personally had spent a while trying to figure out the best way to wear it, and eventually came to mount in on the collar under my jacket, so that people on the other end would hear my words more or less clearly without being bothered about noises too much. Carrying the Bluetooth module in the breast pockets makes some sense as well, but if that’s the case, you will have to bow down in order to say something, which is not really convenient.
Minor cord’s length places certain limitations on using a stand-alone music player, as if it lacks a remote control and resides in your trousers’ pocket, then the BT-325s readily “moves” it to the breast pocket of your shirt or jacket at best – do consider this point before purchasing this headset.
The clip allows for attaching the module only to a pocket or shirt’s edge
The cable’s plug used for linking up the Bluetooth-module to a player, deserves a special note. Many might have already stumbled upon sharp bend on headphones in the places when they are connected to a player, this holds true especially for players lacking remote controls. However such issues are non-existent with Jabra’s solution, as the wireless module’s plug is quite flexible, being made of the same rubberized material, thus you will have a hard time should you want to break it.
The plug is a dirt magnet, just as the module itself
The only drawback of such design – the rubberized finishing applied on buttons and sides, as well as the cord, gets soiled in an eyeblink. In two or three days all the keys darken, dust fills up all the gaps, and if the former downgrade of the BT-325s looks can be avoided by wiping the buttons, the latter issue will inevitably bring about black dots around the sides. So, this does spoil the headset’s outlook, but on the other hand, you will see it only at a close-up, therefore I can’t say it’s much a problem.
The rubberized details get soiled in no time
While looking through the headset’s spec sheet, you can’t overlook its weight, which makes about 40 grams – undoubtedly, the Bluetooth module is by no means a lightweight, and it’s not the most portable gadget either. And it’s somewhat obscure why they would need to use such bulky design (Bluetooth-adapters for PCs measure nearly a thumb-nail in size nowadays), but it surely affects the BT-325s’s ease of use and clip’s utility.
Having said all this, the Jabra’s offspring gets “average” or “slightly below average” mark – I’m not calling in question the fact that its Jabra’s first attempt to create something like this, and its target audience is likely to cope with its shortcomings, since they get seamlessly outweighed by incredible level of convenience when it comes to managing a music player, but to squeeze most out of it you will have to get used to used flawed clip.
Managing the device is really simple: there are two buttons for adjusting volume and one central multifunction key for picking up, voice dialing, pairing and turning the headset on/off.
The status indicated in embedded in the multifunction key, at that it glows with red when the BT-325s is being recharged, with light-green when the recharging is complete and with blue when it is in standby mode.
The device is being recharged
Recharging is complete
The Bluetooth-module makes use of a built-in nonremovable battery, whose specifications are concealed, but as the manufacturer claims it can power the headset for up to 240 hours in standby mode and provide nearly 8 hours of talk time.
The BT-325s can be charged via an EPU carrying microUSB socket onboard, which can be found on most of the company’s solutions, even though such type of charging device is quite rare.
How it works
Jabra BT 325s works in a very unique way – one might even say that this is what the entire device is about.
Jabra BT 325s in itself is not a Bluetooth-headset – it is rather a wireless module supporting the respective audio profile. The truth is, this gadget is the only one of its kind so far, so let us have a closer look on how it actually works.
First, you plug the Bluetooth-module in your player’s audio jack, while the module itself works with any 3.5 mm headphones. The default earphones provided by Jabra are meant rather for show of what the headset is capable of, than day-to-day use, as they act and sound like all other headphones found in boxes. After linking up the headphones, the wireless mode and a handset get paired up via Bluetooth. In other words…
You own a player and a handset, with your favorite headphones being linked up to the player via Jabra’s module, which is, in its turn, connected to your phone via Bluetooth. On incoming call the headset automatically pauses playback and transfers the call directly into the headphones – once the conversation has ended, in 4-5 seconds the player unpauses music playback.
Default Jabra’s headphones
You just cannot overestimate the convenience this gadget brings when used with “handset-and-player” duo – incoming calls simply take over music playback and then let it go again.
Nice and simple.
If you are the happy owner of a music player and a handset, then JabraBT 325s might make you forget about missed calls.
Connectivity. Sound quality
The wireless module can be switched in pairing mode by tapping and holding the pick/hang up button while the gadget is off for about 7-8 seconds. The BT-325s was given test-drive with Nokia 6600, Motorola KRZR K1 and HTC TyTN – Motorola’s handset managed to power all the headset’s features, whereas Nokia and HTC refused to accept re-dial.
Wireless module in operation
On incoming call, Nokia’s phone played back the ring tone, assigned to the particular contact, while Motorola and HTC went for a standard headset’s tune; nevertheless it’s all up to handsets.
Speaking about sound quality, it entirely depends on the given model and its audio profile prowess, but generally, Jabra’s offspring puts up quite awesome performance by providing only a hint of noises, which don’t frustrate at all, though.
The other end will get a clear and penetrating voice of yours, as well as, however, all unwanted sounds - regrettably, microphone’s sensitivity boost has led to an expected result, everything happening around you within a range of a few meters will butt in.
As follows from the survey that involved a couple of men, asked to rate the sound quality, your interlocutor will hear you well, even better than if you talked via the handset itself, level of extraneous noises is also on a par with that caused by a normal handset, but overall the voice transfer quality is somewhat inferior to mono Bluetooth-headsets.
And as regards sound coming out from your player, it’s not worth mentioning, really – the Bluetooth-module acts as an adapter in this case, so that sound quality doesn’t change at all, which is more than sufficient in this case.
Jabra BT 325s proves to be fetching not as a standalone product, but a concept trying to make a breakthrough in what we have seen in Bluetooth to date.
But the final impression is twofold: on the one hand, the very idea, materialized in the BT-325s is truly interesting and demanded nowadays, but if you look at it at a different angle, it’s nothing more but a niche-aimed solution, being a mix of a Bluetooth-adapted, supporting only an audio profile alone, and corded headphones, that might appeal only to a narrow audience, who will still think of it as one of the best buys ever
Other handsets manufacturers might want to get involved in this niche, but there is just one snag – most leading makers have contracts with top manufacturers of mobile terminal. For example Jabra develops Bluetooth-accessories for Motorola, while Akono does the same for Sony Ericsson and Nokia.
Taking account of how rapidly the handsets boasting a music player onboard are spreading on the market and the fact that it’s more about multimedia devices today, rather than unsophisticated mobile phones, the market’s best companies are out of interest in such products. Don’t expect this concept to produce “boom-effect” either – if similar solutions are going to make it to the market, I doubt there will be more than a couple of them.
The BT-325s is retailed for about 75, which is reasonable, especially when you think of its uniqueness.
Published 8 December 2006
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