Saturday, December 30, 2006

i feel like uhura

Actually, wouldn't it be cool if there was a bluetooth earpiece that looked like the silver thing Uhura used on the old Star Trek Series? OK so it would look like a metal thumb sticking in your ear the whole time, but on a certain geekified level it would be cool! But from the google searches there was a cell phone in 2005 that was designed to look like something from out of Star Trek. Then there was a hack of what looked to be a garage remote that was fitted with a bluetooth device so you could use it like the old series communicators.

I had been looking to get a bluetooth headset for some time now, since I often can't hear my phone when it's in my bag. But for a while the devices didn't have very good sound quality and were pricey, like $80-$90. But this winter the prices have been falling and considering the new law in California that will require one when driving, the competition for devices is increasing giving consumers a wider variety of products to choose from.

I came across the BlueAnt x3 Bluetooth headset in one of the emailed ads, on sale for $36. After some research, it looked like something I'd like: small, comfortable, long battery life. On top of that it came with power connections for the wall, computer, and car lighter so I could recharge the thing everywhere. Just plug the USB connector to the different adaptors. It also came with a bit of a leash so you don't lose it.

I charged it for 4 hours and will be trying it out the next few days. After pairing it and restarting my phone, I manage to use it for outgoing and incoming calls. I can set my phone to automatically pick up when I'm using the headset while driving. It blinks constantly, to inform you of its various states, but the lights can be turned off, so you don't look like some Borg drone. You can also pair it to up to 3 different devices. Why? I'm not sure.

Now I don't have to rummage through my bag to answer the phone. But please shoot me if I become one of those folks that wears their bluetooth device everywhere including social gatherings. Although the x3 is comfortable, I can't see any bluetooth device being so comfortable that you NEVER take it off. And because this one is quite small (2"x1"), not including the optional plastic hook to go around the earlobe which isn't required to hold the piece in your ear, it can be fairly discretely hidden under your hair, but certainly not an accessory to go with 3 inch pumps and a sleeveless dress. But if you don't want to be discrete and want to show off your cool bluetooth device to show the world that you are constantly tethered to your phone, then you can also buy it in red, bronze, "cool" white, and hot pink.

The x3 says it has about 180 hrs of standby time so it can go a long while without charging, but your phone may drain faster with bluetooth constantly on. I left a message on my voicemail while speaking through it and it was quite clear with a decent volume. We'll see how it sounds while I'm driving or outside on a decently noisy street.

So far, so good. I'm happy.

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