Bluetake i-Phono BT420EX Bluetooth Stereo Headset
Posted Feb. 2005 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
Long have we been waiting for a pair of Bluetooth wireless stereo
headsets that will let us listen to music on our mobile devices.
You can hear the music with just about any Bluetooth wireless headset,
but not in stereo with CD quality music. Salvation is here and it’s
called the Bluetake i-Phono. Billed as an entertainment and communication
combo headset, the i-Phono BT420EX Bluetooth stereo headset works
as a dual mono headset when you are talking on the phone and stereo
headphones when you’re listening to music or watching movies.
The headset has a built-in Bluetooth radio that will work with any
Bluetooth enable cell phone, PDA and laptop. If your device doesn’t
have Bluetooth capability (like many MP3 players) or doesn’t
support the audio gateway profile, the i-Phono comes with a Bluetooth
adapter that can turn your audio device into a Bluetooth enabled
device instantly and send the stereo signal to the headset. Very
The Bluetake i-Phono has a
hip back-of-the-head design that allows you to hook the headphones
on your ears from the back and not mess up your perfectly
sculpted and gelled hair. The collapsible band behind your
neck is flexible and it can be folded when the headset is
in storage. The headphones are large enough to comfortably
cover your ears and block some ambient noise, though it could
be a little tighter to give a better seal. On the bottom
of the left headphone, you will find a power on/off button,
DC jack and an LED light indicating charging status. The
right headphone has a foldable mic that can sit flush with
the cover when not in use and open up toward your mouth when
you are using it on a call. You will also find three large
buttons on the right headphone for initiating or ending calls
as well as turning the volume up and down. There is a long
LED below these three buttons and it indicates Bluetooth
and pairing status. For those who like to show their sense
of style, the i-Phono comes with 5 color face plates.
As mentioned, the Bluetake i-Phono comes
with a Bluetooth Hi-Fi audio dongle that's armed with the
Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) Bluetooth profile.
It will give any non-Bluetooth device the capability to
work with the headset and enables your audio device to
transfer the stereo audio signal cordlessly to the Bluetake
i-Phono BT420 Bluetooth headphones. The Bluetooth Hi-Fi
audio dongle is a 2" x 2" x 0.5" square
block with a 3.5mm audio jack at the end of a short cord
that can be plugged into your mobile devices or MP3 player.
The i-Phono package includes a piece of adhesive Velcro so
that you can wrap the audio dongle around your MP3 player.
For those who jog or bike with their audio and mobile gear,
Bluetake also offers an i-Phono pouch that's big enough to
store your device and the headset.
Pairing the headset to cell phones and
to the audio dongle is a breeze. The i-Phono supports both
Hands-Free and Headset profiles. We paired the headset
with several mobile devices including the HP
the Dell Axim X50v, the Audiovox
SMT5600 and the Nokia
3650, and a desktop PC running Windows XP. The headset
paired with all devices smoothly. Hold down the call button
on the headset until the LED flashes red and blue; discover
it from your mobile device and use "0000" as
the pass key. You can initiate the pairing from either the
audio dongle or the headset when you are pairing the two.
Once the headset is paired with your mobile device, it will
ring at the when an incoming call rings on your phone. You
can take a call from your headset directly even when you
are playing music. The sound transfer between mobile devices
and the headset has been very smooth and reliable.
The dual mono voice quality through the headset during phone
calls has been on par with other Bluetooth headsets we've
tested. The headset is on the quiet side for both incoming
and outgoing calls. The volume doesn't go too high when playing
music on phones or PDAs. However when playing music on a
MP3 player, the volume on the headset is pretty high. The
sound quality through the headset is definitely better if
you play music on an MP3 player compared to a phone or a
PDA, when using the same test MP3 files on all devices. A
high quality stereo ear bud headset can play fuller sound
than the i-Phono when we tested both with a very nicely recorded
Martin Simpson fingerstyle guitar piece. But when comparing
the i-Phono with a low end ear bud headset, you really can't
tell the difference in sound quality when playing the same
song on a Pocket PC. Playing MP3 songs on a Samsung Yepp
MP3 player, the i-Phono showed more range and depth in sound.
Playing music, movie and games on desktop sounded great via
the headset. The i-Phono did not work with the Microsoft
Bluetooth driver on Windows XP, but Widcomm drivers (commonly
included with many PC Bluetooth adapters) worked perfectly.
The voice quality on the desktop won't make this headset
a replacement for your good quality wired headset as we experienced
some static noise while playing games.
The range of the headset is decent. You shouldn't experience
voice and sound degradation unless you exceed the 20-25 foot
range. Having walls and floor between your wireless headset
and your mobile and audio devices will reduce the range and
household appliances like microwave ovens will interfere
with the Bluetooth frequency greatly.
Above: the headset and included face plates.
Below: a Samsung yepp MP3 player and the i-Phono adapter
Deals and Shopping!
Both the i-Phono headset and the Hi-Fi audio
dongle come with rechargeable batteries. They can be charged at
the same time or separately using the included AC adapter and charging
accessories. There is also a USB charging cable in the package
so you can charge the headset or the audio dongle using your computer.
Since there are power on and off switches on both, you can conserve
the batteries by turning them off when not using them. The i-Phono
headset has about 3-4 hours talk/music time in our tests and the
audio dongle lasts much longer per charge.
The package includes the BT420 Bluetooth Hi-Fi
Sports Headphone, BT430 Bluetooth Hi-Fi Audio Dongle, extra face
plates in 4 colors, Velcro band and adhesive tape, Y cable for
charging the headset and dongle at the same time, a USB charging
cable, AC/DC charger, a printed User's Manual and a printed i-Phone
Exercise Outfitting Guide.
Pro: Now you can use the same wireless headset for your cell phone,
PDA, computer and MP3 player, which is very appealing. The convenience
and wireless features are compelling. The Bluetake i-Phono has a
lot of style. Solid Bluetooth software that works well with a variety
of devices. The headset has pretty good range for a Bluetooth peripheral.
Good audio quality on MP3 players and desktop/laptop and does decent
job on cell phones and PDAs.
Con: Volume on phones and PDAs needs to be louder and sound quality
needs to be higher on mobile devices to make this headset perfect.
Battery could use longer run time per charge.