Recently, Ive come to appreciate many dedicated buttons on my wireless headsets. I recently reviewed the SonyEricsson HBH DS 970 which has a dedicated power button, separate track and volume controls, and a call control button. The LCD also helps sort out operation. The Motorola Sound Pilot has an LCD menu and joystick to perform various functions, even tuning the radio that unit includes. The Com One offering has one, count it, one button. It is also about half the price. Ive come to the conclusion that less is less and I appreciate the full featured headsets. But lets see what the Com One can deliver for this price.
The Com One does have some things going for it. The first of which is a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack. Although headphones are included, it is excellent to have the option to use your own. Next to the headphone jack on the top of the unit is a standard miniUSB jack. This means it can charge off any computer port and the included USB to miniUSB cable can handle the chores. Surprisingly, the unit does NOT ship with an AC adapter. Here, the folks at Com One are treading the line between being skinflints and minimalism. However, I think it an excellent choice considering the nature of the market they are reaching for. Of course the downside is that your computer has to be on to charge the headset. On the upside again, it charges quickly enough.
The pendent, as some have noted, is about the size of your thumb and has a built in metal clip on the back. By taking out a small screw, you can remove the clip. The clip is low profile and easily slides on your shirt. The pendent contains all of the electronics for the unit but this only means chips that support Bluetooth 1.2 and A2DP (more on that later). The Micro Clip is rated for 5 hours of talk time. Most of the unit is glossy black plastic, though the front is a bit duller. On one side of the unit is a pinhole labelled mic. When you clip this to your shirt, especially on a collared shirt, the mic will point up towards your mouth. On the other side of the unit is the all in one, do it all, single multifunction button.
So heres why I wouldnt get this headset. One button simply cannot do it all. Yes, this button can power on the unit, initiate pairing, and of course answer, hang up, last number redial and the rest. However it CANNOT offer proper track or volume control over your music. This headset supports A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) but not Audio Video Remote Control (AVRCP). This is the first headset Ive found that omits this functionality. All music functions are controlled from your device. From Pause, Play, Track Skip, and volume control. Of course, when a call comes in, the music stops and the call begins.
The folks at Com One have come up with a cheap solution to the lack of volume control. There is an old fashioned volume slider of the headset cord itself. It seems to work fine, though I think it much better to change the volume correctly on the device. As for the headset, its a very simple earbud affair. In keeping with the no frills theme, no foam ear cushions are included, though honestly, I didnt miss them. The problem comes of course if you swap out the earbuds for your own headphones. Then you lose all control over your music. Considering the variable levels modern music delivers, (much of it is mixed much too hot, diminishing dynamic range, but thats another story) it is important to be able to change volume from song to song. The slider switch is simply too imprecise.
Of course, it all comes down to sound quality which is, not surprisingly, fair. Call quality is fuzzy and music lacks richness, if not a bit worse with lack of dynamism. To be fair, incoming callers sounded okay, but callers reported real problems. I could live with the limitation of the device, maybe even come to appreciate them if sound quality managed to be superior.
Obviously, Id steer away from this headset. It is too expensive and doesnt do enough. Its a shame really, because theres something to be said for a stripped down model that includes standard ports. I could even see some appreciating the lack of track control because it gets rid of button clutter and if you have easy access to your device, AVRCP isnt needed.
No track control