There is a blot around Bluetooth headsets – it is still difficult to shake the feeling that the man is a jerk. And of course, if you are speaking in your headset, no one thinks you are a mad man and around you realises at first. Now though, advancements in design and battery life make them suitable and comfortable to make use of, and there are lots of choices, starting from entry level alternatives all the way to high-end products.
With our cellphones getting bigger and bigger, you do not want to have to pull them out of your pocket for every single call, and but when we determined to take the plunge and buy a headset, the number of different choices available were overwhelming. To figure out what to buy, we started reading what other reviews were saying and looking at customer reviews of the different products on sites like Amazon and Flipkart. This was followed up by a lot more than two weeks of listening to as many different headsets as possible, to discover what the best bet was.
We have rounded up some mid-range devices starting from Rs. 1,000 upwards; midrange headsets that are priced around Rs. 5,000; and some high-end sets that are around Rs. . 10,000 As a bonus, we have also listed a high-end model that costs around Rs. So, 20,000 you will find something that suits your budget under.
In the event you’re seeking to spend significantly less than Rs. Quite a few headsets tried . 700 price range, but found audio quality, battery life and comfort to be around the exact same level, with little ups and downs. Across the board, just stick to a brand you’re familiar with (so that you know where to go if there are any difficulties) and decide any headset. Then we’ve got some great ideas below, if your budget goes above this though.
LG Tone+ HBS 730
The Tone+ is not the most discreet headset you’re going to find, but it is comfortable, has great battery life, and its design lets you keep stow the earbuds conveniently without having to keep it in your ears all the time, making it a good all-day option.
The neckband looks bulky but is very light, and we quickly forgot that we were wearing it. The earbuds are attached to the ends of the neckband, and held in place with magnets, which is a pretty convenient design. The battery life is pretty good too – LG claims 17 hours of talktime – we charged it every three days or so.
While we liked the comfort of using the headset, it looks pretty bad, and the audio quality isn’t great either. It is clear enough for calls, but people on the other end say the voice is a little faint, and on our end, there’s a slight metallic note to the audio. It’s fine for calls, but it’s not ideal for listening to music or movies.
The headset has an MRP of Rs. 4,999 but we’ve seen the price drop several times to Rs. 1,299; it is currently available online for Rs. 1,499, which is a pretty good price for this headset.
Nokia BH 505
The Nokia BH 505 is also a neckband, but unlike the LG Tone+, it has a rigid body design, and the earpiece doesn’t detach from the main body. The design means that the fit is firmer than that of the LG Tone+, and if you’re looking for something you can wear while you jog, this might be a better option – the Tone+ can bounce around even when running down the stairs. Its battery life is pretty reasonable – Nokia claims a 10 hour battery life – and the audio quality for calls and other media was good.
The audio quality is good but not great – it’s sounds clear, if a little limited in terms of range, and performed well when watching a movie, and on calls. On the other hand, the rigid body design can be just a little uncomfortable, and you’re always aware of the neckband. For the price (currently available at Rs. 2,899) this headset is a good option, and both this and the LG Tone+ are more comfortable than mono-headsets in the same price band.
There are some really good options close to the Rs. 5,000 mark – the audio quality is noticeably higher than the cheaper headsets, and some of the options here are also incredibly comfortable to wear.
Plantronics Backbeat Go 2
If you’re looking for superb comfort and great audio quality, then the Backbeat Go is a safe bet. The headset is essentially just two earbuds, connected with a flat, tanglefree strap. It’s extremely lightweight, the audio quality is good, and you can easily store it in your pocket when it’s not in use. Battery life is pretty low though – we got at most four hours of playback with this particular set, and you’ll end up charging it at least every morning, if not more often. The MRP is Rs. 4,790, but it’s currently available online at Rs. 3,900, which is a pretty good deal.
The JBL 46BT is very similar to the Backbeat Go 2, in terms of both design and function. It’s a little bit more expensive, but has much clearer bass. It’s good for listening to music and movies, but the mic on the headset is a little awkwardly placed and people say that the voice seems to be coming from far away. Another issue with both these headsets is that the fit isn’t as tight as it could be – we’ve seen many reviews from joggers who confirm that the headset does not stay in when running.
Bose Soundlink OE
While some audiophiles sneer at Bose, the company’s different headsets are amongst the most comfortable, lightweight and good looking headsets on the market. The Soundlink OE is no exception, and it was the most comfortable one-the-ear headset we tried. The cups are also well cushioned, and we were able to use it for several hours at a stretch without discomfort.
The headset has a detachable 3.5mm jack as well, so you can pair it to your phone and tablet and stream audio from both sources, and then wire the headphone to your laptop to listen to music in office.
Playback quality was also the best on this list, although the Bluetooth playback has a little bit of lag. It’s very slight, but noticeable if you’re paying attention. Of course, in terms of wired playback for music or movies, you can easily find a number of better alternatives, but most of those lack a built in microphone. The Soundlink OE can be used for calls as well, and call quality was good, with no complaints from the people we spoke with.
While the experience with this headset was pretty positive, it is definitely a luxury item and not a very practical buy. If you’re looking for something to listen to music, watch movies or play games, then you’re probably better off with dedicated headphones. But if you have the money to spare, then you will certainly enjoy using this set.