The iPhone is undoubtedly the most talked about gadget of the year, with its innovative touchscreen design and attractive good looks. To match the iPhone's high-end style, Apple has also introduced the Apple iPhone Bluetooth headset to go along with it.
And it certainly does match the iPhone, in elegance, simplicity and style. But like the iPhone itself, it falls short in features. Each iPhone Bluetooth headset goes for £79, a rather steep price.
Shaped like a skinny black stick, the iPhone Bluetooth headset measures close to 50 by 12 by 5mm if you count the earpiece (It's about 3mm thick without the earpiece). The headset is also remarkably light at 6.5g, and we admit that we quite like its metal construction, glossy finish and smooth, clean lines. Certainly, it looks more like art than a simple headset.
The controls are dead simple -- in fact, there's only one button for everything. It's not obvious at first, but the multifunction button is located on top of the device. The button has a slightly curved feel and gives easily to pressure.
On the back of the headset is the earpiece, which is designed to fit inside the ear, much like the old-school iPod earbuds. It fits very nicely in the ear and we found it to be quite comfortable. However, the lack of an ear hook may make some people feel uneasy since it doesn't feel as secure. Also, we really would've liked to have volume controls on the headset itself. If you need to adjust the volume, you'll have to change it with your phone.
Maybe part of the reason why the iPhone Bluetooth headset is so pricey is that it comes with its own iPhone charging dock plus a USB travel charger. The charging dock has two slots -- one for the iPhone, and one for the Bluetooth headset.
Similarly, the USB cable is designed with two slots as well. Pairing the headset with the iPhone couldn't be easier -- simply pop in both the iPhone and the headset into the dock, and voila, they are paired to each other. This is probably the easiest pairing process we've ever experienced.
Another neat advantage to using the charging dock is both the iPhone and the headset's battery status show up on the screen, so you always know how much battery life is left on the headset.
The iPhone Bluetooth headset is simple in design as well as features. You get the regular abilities to answer and end calls, but don't bet on anything like last-number redial or call mute. You can also switch calls back and forth from the headset to the iPhone and vice versa. Also, we should note that you can indeed use the iPhone Bluetooth headset with other phones, but the pairing process won't be as smooth.
Here's another note: though you won't be able to use the iPhone Bluetooth headset for voice dialing with the iPhone (since the iPhone does not support voice commands), you will be able to use it with other phones that do have voice command support. We paired the iPhone Bluetooth headset with the RIM BlackBerry Pearl and used it to voice dial flawlessly.
Call quality was surprisingly good. We had heard numerous tales of questionable performance, but our experience told us otherwise. Yes, there is no noise-reduction technology, and voices didn't sound very natural, but we could still carry on a conversation without any noticeable static or hiss.
We do have to say that the sound quality does not compare to that of the Plantronics Voyager 520 nor the Aliph Jawbone Bluetooth headset, but by normal standards, the iPhone Bluetooth headset sounded just fine. Just don't expect quality sound in an especially noisy or crowded environment since, as we mentioned, the iPhone Bluetooth headset doesn't have any noise-cancellation technology.
The iPhone Bluetooth headset has a rated battery life of 5 hours and 29 minutes of talk time and 3 days of standby time.
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday