Jabra BT800: whisper sweet nothings in my ear

I got a new Bluetooth toy today (I love the idea of a world without wires) – a Jabra BT800 headset. It’s very shiny !

Even though it looks a little strange it’s surprisingly comfortable and easy to use on the ear, and the built-in LCD which can show callerID or be used to configure the earpiece is very cool (in fact goes a long way to answering my critisisms of most BT headsets that you don’t actually know what’s going on !)

Even though I hate wires I’ve resisted the whole headset idea, not because I hate the thought of looking like a cyberman (I’m a geek after all !) because most of the previous headsets I’ve tried have had very avarage quality (the same applied to most of the wired ones as well, leaving aside the fact that I usually managed to snag and break the cable within weeks of getting it )

As well as a mains charger the BT800 comes with a USB connector for charging (as, we still dream of SplashPower). Of course because it’s yet another variant on the mini-USB connector it means yet another cable to carry. According to the manual the BT800 is capable of firmware upgrades so hopefully the cable supports that as well (even though Bluetooth would be the logical connection !)… we’ll see if a firmware upgrade ever eventuates (mine is currently V0021). The very fact that the firmware is apparently upgradable and the device doesn’t require an expensive custom cable does fill me with hope though. Update (Dev 2005): New firmware available – they’re as goods as their word

The BT800 pairs just fine with my aging SE T610 although the phone itself needs a firmware upgrade (something SE seem to make hard, but maybe TOTAL MultiServer can resolve for me) – although, like the Nokia bluetooth headset I had before this one the phone tends to drop the connection and isn’t always clever about transfering incoming calls to the headset.

The BT800 pairs like a charm to my Powerbook (running OSX 10.4) and I was able to use the headphone both with Skype flawlessly as well as listen to iTunes (admittedly in only one ear) as I wandered about.

Under WinXP on my Vaio it’s however a different matter. The WinXP SP2 Bluetooth drivers while nice and stable are not exactly feature rich. They let you connect a to a cellphone to use it as a modem but don’t seem to support any audio/headset profiles. I can only hope that will be improved before Vista rolls around.

All in all, first impressions of the BT800 are very positive. Hopefully it’s a sign of a new breed of slicker Bluetooth products starting to come to market. Who knows, maybe one day an interoperable wireless world may be a reality.

But I still think implanting the things so you don’t look like a Blade Runner renegade is the way of the future !

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