One of the things that I’ve played with over the years has been Bluetooth. In fact, I jumped on the ill fated Sony Ericsson T608 back in 2004 because it was the first Bluetooth (BT) phone on the Sprint network. I’ve had a collection of headsets, adapters and devices that all worked with BT, but I haven’t had that great of an experience using the technology itself.
It’s really been a comedy of errors on all fronts. The T608 was a totally crap phone and the BT headset was more pain than gain. BT HotSyncing with my Palm didn’t make much sense given the fact that if I’m THAT close to the computer, I might as well sync it with the cradle and charge it at the same time. I even tried surfing via BT, but it was just too slow. About the only thing I haven’t tried was using a BT headset with my computer, since my BT adapters on my Windows machines didn’t support the feature. That changed recently though when I purchased my MacBook and began playing with iChat and Skype.
Within the audio settings of each program, you can choose an alternative audio and mic source from the built-in microphone and speakers. So I paired the Jabra 250 that’s been sitting in my desk drawer for months and then changed the settings. Now whenever I use iChat, or Skype, the program automatically routes my voice and the incoming audio to the Jabra 250.
What’s great about this is that the person I’m talking to can now hear me better without the room’s ambient noise. At the same time, I can hear them better as well. My favorite part about doing this on the Mac is that only the Skype/iChat audio is routed to the headset. All other audio plays through the main speakers! Why is that cool? Well, any other sounds, such as music, system sounds, or chat popups and noises don’t interfere with the conversation. It’s a subtle thing, but it’s just another small touch that illustrates why I’m so in love with my new Mac.
Now that I’m having such a positive experience with Bluetooth, I’m now wanting to use it more. My Treo 600 doesn’t support BT, I now have another motivation to upgrade to the Treo 700p, Like I needed a reason. 🙂 Of course I don’t have the money for a new smartphone, but it never hurts to dream.
There is one pet peeve that remains with BT headsets though. I don’t like the microphone design. The headset that I use right now is the Plantronics MX505 and I absolutely love it. It’s by far the best headset I’ve ever tried and believe me I’ve tried ALOT of mobile headsets. What’s so great about the MX505 is that it’s very comfortable (especially if you wear glasses), has great noise reduction and has a voice tube that places the microphone in front of your mouth.
Today’s BT headsets are so small that people can’t tell if you’re talking on a phone, or just talking to yourself like a homeless person. Most of the microphones are back near your ear, so unless your head is turned just right, people can’t see it. With the MX505, the boom mic or voice tube is a dead giveaway that you’re wearing a headset, which I like. The only thing I’m wishing for now is a BT version, which Plantronics doesn’t make, at least in that model. If they ever do though, I know I’m going to jump on it.