Review: Jabra BT800 Bluetooth Caller ID Headset
Jabra BT800 Bluetooth Caller ID Headset
Link: Jabra Product Information Link for BT800
Link to Original Review
There have been many reviews online about the Jabra BT800 but none of them clearly describe how it interacts with a BlackBerry. I will try to focus on how well this headset works with newer BlackBerry devices. I have tested this headset with a 7100, 8100,8700, and 8800 BlackBerry device and it performs more or less the same with all of them. The only caveat is that with the newer BlackBerry software versions over 4.1 the headset has improved echo control.
So now for the review. The main reason a person would fork over hard earned cash for such a large headset is the Backlit caller ID screen on this headset. It also includes DSP technology to reduce background noise and improve call quality.
Please keep in mind that this review is based on the BT800 with the latest firmware update available from the Jabra website here. (They have updated the firmware twice since I purchased the headset) Click on the software update link to download the Zip file with the required update.
For an overall review of the headset compared to other I would say this headset has average audio quality. The speaker volume is higher than most so you can easily hear callers in all but the noisest environments. The DSP technology seems to work very well in my practical test of using the device while walking down midtown Manhattan. Callers reported that sounded clear and I had no complaints of sounding drowned out like I had with Motorola and Nokia headsets.
Interface, Connectivity, and Backlit Caller ID LCD screen:
The LCD screen on the headset is 21 x 64 pixels and has an ice blue backlight. The text is easy to read and can be seen easily in the dark. The menu of the headset is a bit clunky but it does the job. You have to go through 3 different sub menu clicks to get to the headset into pairing mode. You can even dial any of the last 30 numbers that are stored in the caller ID from the headset. The headset can be paired with up to 8 Bluetooth devices but not at the same time. It defaults to the first it was ever paired with if you have more than one of the devices on at the same time.
The major drawback of the caller ID on this headset is that it only shows you the phone numbers of the caller on the screen when you get the call. This seems to be a limitation imposed by BlackBerry where the headset cannot get to the address book through OBEX. I did try the headset with my wife's p910 and it gave the caller ID name and number on the headset. I find that the caller ID number is enough for me to tell if I want to answer the call or not.
The BT800 has decent range. I managed to use it from over 25 feet away in my crowded Manhattan apartment. The feature I like is that I can turn on the headset during a call and the Blackberry will automatically revert the audio to the headset. It will also transfer the audio back to the BlackBerry when you turn the headset off during a call. The only complaint I have is that my old bt250 used to turn on when I unplugged it from the charger. This device must be manually turned on once you unplug it from the charger.
The last two issues I had with the headset were resolved with the last firmware update. It used to be you had to hold the power button for 10 seconds to shut the headset off. They have reduced it to 5 which is still a tad long. There also used to be a 5 second delay from when you answered the call until it was picked up on the headset. This was actually a feature to give you time to put your headset on your ear but has been lowered to less than 2 seconds in the latest update.
The BT800 has a vibrating alert which is extremely useful to me. There is also the option to use one of Jabra's ringtones when calls come into the headset. They thankfully also enabled you to hear your own ringtone instead through the headset if you wish. (Unlike Nokia's horrible standard headset ringtone) The headset allows you to have vibrate, ring, or vibrate+ring as your notification options. The other nice thing is that the LCD screen automatically lights up when a call comes in.
The headset is the heaviest I have ever used which made it bounce around a bit on my ear when I was walking quickly. The odd thing about this headset is that even with its weight it is one of the most comfortable to wear for long periods due to its highly flexible earclip and speaker housing.
The buttons are conveniently placed on the bottom of the headset which allows you to push the button without pushing in on your ear. There is also a jog wheel placed flush against the back of the device which allows you to scroll through options. Last but not least there is a button as you can see in the picture below which mutes calls and lights up blue when the headset is on.
Battery life on this headset is not what I expected. Usually Jabra headsets last forever on standby. This headset will require recharging every night or two if you leave it on standby. I personally had to plug it in every night to keep it running.
A nice feature of this headset is that it allows you to charge it through a provided USB cable. The only downside is that this is not the standard miniUSB adaptor that charges your BlackBerry rather it is a microUSB charger. You can get converters online to allow you to use one cable for both and make this more BlackBerry friendly. The package also comes with an AC charger but I found that charging the headset with this adaptor caused it to emit a high pitched whine which was extremely annoying and caused me to stop using it.
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