What's hot:Voice guidance is excellent for pairing process, great audio quality.
What's not:Caller ID uses a robotic voice that doesn’t sound as clear as human voice.
Review posted December 2010 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
BlueAnt has been improving their Bluetooth headsets in terms of both design and voice quality. The BlueAnt T1 rugged Bluetooth headset is one of their new headsets that feature Bluetooth v2.1, BlueAnt’s wind cancellation technology and embedded voice instruction. The headset has excellent voice quality with most of the phones we tested, including the iPhone 4 and the BlackBerry Torch, On top of that, it’s comfortable to wear. The headset comes with dual mic noise cancelation and a strong DSP that eliminate most of the road noise.
BlueAnt makes several Bluetooth headset models, and adds a bit more protection for the T1, which they call rugged. The BlueAnt T1 comes with two silicone covers in white and black to protect the headset from dirt and moisture. The headset looks well built in sturdy plastic and its buttons are large for easier control. The BlueAnt T1 is a bit shorter than the Jawbone 2 Bluetooth headset but a bit wider, measuring 1.97 x 0.6 x 0.9 inches. It’s also lightweight at 0.35 oz. and comfortable for all day wearing. The BlueAnt T1 comes with ear gels in different sizes and 2 clear flexible ear hooks. The headset feels secure once you find the ear gel that fits your size, but if you go jogging with the headset on, the ear hook provides added security.
The BlueAnt T1 has three control buttons and a power on/off switch on the back. The multi-function button (for pairing, answering calls, voice dialing and a lot more) is the only control that lives on the front of the headset, just above the LED light behind a mesh grille. For noise cancelling, the BlueAnt T1 has two mics that also live under the mesh grill. The volume buttons are on the side, but the top one is volume down while the bottom one is the volume up button. Strange!
Pairing and Features
The BlueAnt T1 has Bluetooth v2.1 and can pair and connect with 2 devices simultaneously. We tested the BlueAnt T1 with several phones and it paired with all easily. The Bluetooth headset has a very user-friendly feature: voice guidance for pairing and headset controls. The BlueAnt T1 will tell you when the headset is in pairing mode and walk you through the pairing process with your phone. There is a caveat in pairing: the headset has only two slots on its pairing list, if you change one of your two paired phones to a third one, you will need to reset the headset to clear the paired list. To reset the headset, you will need first to disconnect it from all paired phones, and then press the multi-function button and the two volume buttons together. The headset will tell you when that process is done and it will put itself into pairing mode again. This means you will need to re-pair it with the two devices you want to use the headset with.
Once the BlueAnt T1 has successfully paired with your phone, it will automatically download your contacts from the phonebook. It does this so that when someone from your phonebook calls, the headset can announce the caller ID, and you can say Answer or Ignore. The BlueAnt T1 in fact can store up to 2000 contacts for each paired device. The integration with the phonebooks is a much more elegant way of doing call ID than just reading incoming numbers via Text-To-Speech as with the Atomic9 Bluetooth Wristband speaker. The BlueAnt T1 will actually say “John Smith” instead of reading out his phone number. Depending on the phone you are using, you can even tell the headset which groups of contacts you want to transfer; useful if you are using a smartphone that offers more granular control in this area. The caller ID voice however isn’t the same excellent technology used for the voice guidance for pairing or voice dialing and voice command. It’s a very robotic text-to-speech voice that isn’t as easy to understand as a human voice.
The BlueAnt T1 supports lots of call management features such as call waiting, 3-way calling, last number redialing, rejecting calls and mute/unmute during a call. The Bluetooth headset also has excellent built-in voice dialing and voice command software. Voice dialing works perfectly using the headset, and you can also check the battery status on the BlueAnt T1 and issue other voice commands depending on the phone you are using. Since the headset supports A2DP, all system and application sounds your phone makes will go through the BlueAnt T1 as well. This includes music playback, GPS voice turn-by-turn directions, gaming sound and video playback.
Voice Quality and Range
The BlueAnt T1 has great voice quality on most phones we tested it with. Audio sounded clear and full, and volume was good. It even sounded good for gaming and music playback, though not in stereo. The DSP was very effective when working with most phones, filtering out road noise and the Wind Armor Technology was effective against wind noise. The range was universally good, reaching about 20 feet without voice quality degradation. We tested the BlueAnt T1 with an array of devices and below are reports on a few of them.
When working with the iPhone 4:
The BlueAnt T1 sounded excellent for both incoming and outgoing voice on the iPhone 4. Audio was very clear and background noise was minimal. The DSP was strong, filtering out road noise and wind noise. Volume was quite loud on both ends as well.
When working with the Motorola i1 Android Nextel phone:
The BlueAnt T1 once again sounded great, but the incoming voice sounded superior to the outgoing voice. The incoming audio was super clear and loud, but outgoing audio had some digital distortion. The DSP was a little less effective on the Motorola i1 compared to the iPhone 4 and on the Droid X; some car passing noise did get through, but it was by no means interrupting or very loud.
When working with the Droid X by Motorola:
The BlueAnt T1 sounded very good again on both incoming and outgoing ends. Audio was clear and loud, and the DSP was very effective. The DSP and Wind Armor kept both road noise and wind noise to a minimum.
The BlueAnt T1 with the rugged black casing.
The BlueAnt T1 rugged Bluetooth headset has a built-in rechargeable battery that has long talk time and decent standby time. The claimed talk time is 6 hours, and in our battery tests the headset lasted for at least 5 hours for talk time. The claimed standby is 5 days; we only got a little over 4 days of standby time.
With strong DSP and wind reduction, the BlueAnt T1 is a great headset for making calls outdoors or while driving. The lightweight and comfortable form allow you to wear it all day. We like the user-friendly voice instruction feature and the excellent built-in voice dialing and voice command. The phonebook integration is a big plus, but caller ID uses robotic text-to-speech voice which is hard to understand. If you are looking for a Bluetooth headset with great voice quality and strong DSP, the BlueAnt T1 is worth a look.
Pro: Voice guidance is excellent for pairing process, great audio quality.
Con: Caller ID uses robotic technology that doesn’t sound as clear as human voice, the pairing list only has two slots.
Package contains: the BlueAnt T1 headset, AC adapter, USB cable, two ear hooks with 2 ear gels, 3 additional ear gels for wearing without the hooks, and printed menus.
Technical Specs: -Bluetooth v2.1
-Profiles supported: Headset, Hands-Free and A2DP
-Claimed talk time: 6 hours
-Claimed standby time: 5 days
-Headset size: 1.97 x 0.6 x 0.9 inches
-Headset weight: 0.35 oz.
-Battery: Lithium Ion battery
-AC adapter: 100-240V.