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Old 07-09-2008, 02:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default VXI Blueparrot B250 headset review!

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Yup, most people have never heard of them because their products aren't marketed to consumers. See v x i corp.com for more about the company and product line.

Anyway, I just wanted to pass along my thoughts on using their newest Roadwarrior model, the B250 with my Verizon 8330:

On the suggestion of a truck driver friend I ordered one from VXI. It's big and ugly but it freakin' WORKS man, it's the best sounding headset (bluetooth OR wired) I've ever used before by far, and I've tried most of the best, including the Plantronics 925, BlueAnt and Jawbone 1 (haven't tried the JB2), which are all known for working well in noisy places.

The first thing that surprised me is that both the incoming and outgoing audio quality are BETTER than my 8330's handset, which is amazing enough (well not really, Blackberry's have never been known for great audio).

The best part is the noise canceling microphone and high quality, very loud speaker. Nothing harsh or tinny about it, incoming callers sound warm and clear and my voice sounds better to callers than the mic in the 8830.

I was an audio engineer for 20 years and still have friends in the industry. I called one earlier today from my quiet home office for a baseline and he said I sounded better than just using the phone. Cool. Then I called him back later and said "how do I sound now?" He said I sounded exactly the same.

Interesting, because I was jamming down a Los Angeles freeway at 70MPH in my small car with it's loud motor, A/C at full speed, radio on just a bit, and both windows down, and traffic all around me! He couldn't even tell I was in a car! How awesome is that??

Called another engineer friend and he said the same thing. Right as I was talking to him a Harley with an open exhaust ripped past me in the next lane. He couldn't even hear it and he's got an ear for everything (he mixes sound effects for major motion pictures).

Then I did another test: a carpenter was here at my house fitting a door to the frame with a skill saw. While he was cutting I was leaving a message on my answering machine - from 20 feet away the saw was inaudible, and just barely so from 5 feet away. I was talking very quietly specifically to check the signal to noise ratio. Simply amazing.

Point being, there is NO better bluetooth headset for noisy environments than this one! Not even close. It's SO nice to finally be able to talk in a normal quiet voice even in a very noisy environment and be heard without problems. Oh, and the range is great, about twice what I got from other BT earpieces.

The only practical downside is that when you turn off the headset then turn it back on, you have to tell the phone to connect to it. My 8330 just finds other headsets except this one. Minor inconvenience though. Other functions work as expected though, one touch voice activation, answer and end calls, and volume up/down are pretty conventional (did I mention that at full volume it's loud enough to be painful?). Oh, and it's an over the head headset so if you have long, styled hair it'll mess it up. But if you're the kind of person who really needs the performance it offers, that's not likely to be a problem.

In terms of everyday use - if you want something glued to your ear all day while being in public places, well this definitely isn't for you. If you wanna be "that guy" get something else. I have a couple friends who are "that guy" and 90% of the time I ask them to shut it off and call be back on the phone because I can't hear them for donkey dung among all the background noise and horrid sound quality. That includes a friend with a Jawbone, which indeed cancels noise well, but also makes him sound like he's calling me from the moon in 1967 when all the electronic noise cancellation kicks in. The B250 uses ages old but well refined analog cancellation: a directional microphone with a foam windscreen; no magic there, they just implement it very well.

Other than that - pure awesomeness, if you don't mind looking like you're launching the Space Shuttle while driving (or mowing your lawn or cutting lumber while trying to use your cell phone), there just isn't anything better. It's very comfortable to wear for extended periods, has excellent battery life if you follow the instructions, has tremendous range, and is built to last.

If you need or want the ultimate BT headset to use in noisy environments there just isn't anything better on the market for any price. If you need to hear and, most importantly, BE heard, the B250 is simply the best.
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Old 07-09-2008, 10:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I just checked with their marketing department to see if they might have a model with a stereo headset - nope - and not coming any time soon, alas.
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Old 07-09-2008, 10:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Yes, no stereo version, but stereo headphones are illegal to drive with in most states anyway.
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Old 07-09-2008, 03:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwsmithphoto View Post
Yes, no stereo version, but stereo headphones are illegal to drive with in most states anyway.
I'd be interested in specifics on that.
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Old 07-10-2008, 06:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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It's always been illegal in CA but I'm assuming other states as well. The idea is so you can hear emergency vehicles because one ear is open. Check your own state's VC but it's been the law here in CA for as long as I can remember. For good reason, IMO.

FWIW, my car's A/C compressor just broke (dammit) so I have no choice but to drive with windows down and a loud fan moving hot air around the car since inner LA is in a heat wave. No problems, still the best BT headset for noisy conditions by far.
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Wow, that thing is huge but the review sounds very promising. I've decided to just not take calls in my car (a convertible) but if I change my mind I might have to check this out.
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Old 07-24-2008, 04:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Yep it's big, bulky, and a bit heavy, it would be great if they worked on that. A Li-On battery would help but oh well.

It's absolutely perfect for using in a convertible. My fiancee has one and I can carry on a conversation in a tone of voice she can't even hear but the person I'm talking to doesn't even know I'm in a car!

Now that the CA law is in effect I'm getting a LOT more calls from people with BT earbud's. Virtually all of them talk really loud if they're driving. I just turn the volume button down on the handset or headset and talk back in my usual calm, quiet voice and they can still hear me just fine, unless they turned their headset down too much, which newbies don't have a handle on just yet.

The default incoming volume on most BT headsets is set very low to save battery power. The default on the B250 is halfway, which is more than enough in most situations. Very rarely do I have to turn it up but the power is there if you need it. And the sound is warm enough to help tame some of the screechy, cheap earbuds that people are using now.

And BTW, I figured out how to connect it to the phone without using the phone. It's in the instructions I just didn't see it. Basically, if it's in standby mode instead of off, you just tap the MFB and it connects. If it's off you have to hold the MFB until you hear a "boop beep" rising tone, then wait a few seconds for the phone to connect. Once connected, the same quick tap brings up voice dialing, connect/disconnect, etc. that other headsets do.
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