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Review of music Bluetooth-headset Jabra BT 325s

Sales package:

  • Bluetooth-module
  • Corded stereo-headphones
  • Charger
  • User Guide

Im 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 havent 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 players 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 todays 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

Design

The headsets looks and trim were definitely inspired by the design of iPods 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 wont 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 makers logo engraved on it.

Bluetooth-module

One of the sides houses the microphone and a flap-covered chargers slot basically, this flap is firmly attached to the casing, so dont 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 its 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.

Its not all clear why there is only one trim available even extra black color scheme would be most welcome. But it seems Apples 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 dont get along with darker cloth, on top of that, white-colored players and handsets arent 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 thats the case, you will have to bow down in order to say something, which is not really convenient.

Minor cords 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 shirts edge

The cables 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 Jabras solution, as the wireless modules 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 headsets outlook, but on the other hand, you will see it only at a close-up, therefore I cant say its much a problem.

The rubberized details get soiled in no time

While looking through the headsets spec sheet, you cant overlook its weight, which makes about 40 grams undoubtedly, the Bluetooth module is by no means a lightweight, and its not the most portable gadget either. And its 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-325ss ease of use and clips utility.

Having said all this, the Jabras offspring gets average or slightly below average mark Im not calling in question the fact that its Jabras 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.

Controls

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

Battery life

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 companys solutions, even though such type of charging device is quite rare.

Portable charger

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 players 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 Jabras 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 Jabras 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 Motorolas handset managed to power all the headsets features, whereas Nokia and HTC refused to accept re-dial.

Wireless module in operation

On incoming call, Nokias phone played back the ring tone, assigned to the particular contact, while Motorola and HTC went for a standard headsets tune; nevertheless its all up to handsets.

Speaking about sound quality, it entirely depends on the given model and its audio profile prowess, but generally, Jabras offspring puts up quite awesome performance by providing only a hint of noises, which dont frustrate at all, though.

The other end will get a clear and penetrating voice of yours, as well as, however, all unwanted sounds - regrettably, microphones 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, its not worth mentioning, really the Bluetooth-module acts as an adapter in this case, so that sound quality doesnt change at all, which is more than sufficient in this case.

Conclusion

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, its 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 its more about multimedia devices today, rather than unsophisticated mobile phones, the markets best companies are out of interest in such products. Dont 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.

Specifications

  • Weight: less than 48 grams (with Jabra headphoens)
  • Battery life (talk time): up to 8 hours
  • Battery life (standby): up to 240 hours
  • Charging time: about 2 hours
  • Bluetooth version: 1.2
  • Supported profiles: Handsfree, Headset 

Artem Lutfullin (skuzmin@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Oleg Kononosov (oleg.kononosov@mobile-review.com)

Published — 8 December 2006

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