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Bluetooth Headset and Carkit Reviews

Cardo Systems allways Bluetooth Headset

Review posted April 8, 2004 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor

The Cardo Systems allways Bluetooth headset is built on the CSR (Cambridge Silicon Radio) chipset and has a unique design that combines two types of headset designs into one: the headset disk is large enough to cover your ear and block the ambient noise and the ear bud piece extends into your ear to provide better sound quality. Another feature that makes the allways headset stand out is that it comes with a clip for wearing with eyeglasses.

The allways Bluetooth headset has a rather large disk compared to some of the Bluetooth headsets we've seen, such as Motorola HS810 or Bluespoon Chameleon. The front of the disk is actually a multi-function button that will turn on/off the headset and pairing mode as well as perform various functions when you are on a call. For those fashion-conscious mobile users, you will be happy to know that the cover panel of the disk is user-changeable. The allways package includes two covers (blue and copper) in addition to the silver cover that comes with the headset. The short boom extends out about 1 in. from the disk. At the top of the back of the disk, you will find an ear bud style speaker that has a very smooth rubber cover. At the base of the ear bud where it meets the disk, you will find an A/C connector that's hidden under a rubber cover. When you charge the headset, lift the rubber cover and plug in the included A/C adapter.

The allways headset has one LED that's on the side of the disk. The LED provides you with the visual status such as power on/off, pairing mode and charging. On the other side of the disk, you will find volume up and down rocker and a mute button. These buttons are easy to reach during a call. Below the ear bud on the back, you will find a duct where you can slide the ear hook in for either the right or left ear. The ear hook is large and comfortable to wear. If the ear hook is in your way when wearing eyeglasses or sunglasses, you can simple switch to the included eyeglass clip that will clip the headset to the arm of your glasses. The headset feels quite comfortable when it's attached to the eyeglass clip. However the clip did have trouble staying on eyeglasses with very thin wire arms. Regardless of which method you are using to wear the headset, the 0.6 oz. weight makes it easy to wear it for a long period of time. The allways package also includes a hard plastic case with belt clip, and the case is big enough for the headset, the clips and multiple covers.

allways Bluetooth headset

 

 

 

The allways headset supports both headset and hands-free profiles. Pairing the allways with Bluetooth cell phones is quite easy. We tested it with the Nokia 3650, Sony Ericsson P800 and the Orange SPV E200, and all paired without a glitch. We also tested the headset with the iPAQ 5555, which has a headset profile. The voice quality is quite good when connecting to both cell phones and landlines. We did not however get the claimed 10-meter (30 feet) range. Voice quality suffered when we put some distance between the phone and the headset (high noise levels and voice breakup). So keep your phone on your belt, in your pocket or purse if you want the best voice quality. The allways headset supports voice activation and redial functions.

If you don't have a Bluetooth enabled cell phone but wish to use the headset, Cardo Systems sells a Bluetooth adapter that can turn your handset into a Bluetooth enabled phone. If you have a Bluetooth adapter for your laptop or desktop computer that supports these profiles, you can even use the allways headset for Voice over IP, voice recording or MP3 playback (not stereo).

The allways headset has a Li-Polymer battery. The claimed 200-hour standby time seems to be on target, our headset made just about 200 hours. The talk time was about 5 hours in our test. The allways headset comes with a dual voltage (110V and 220V) charger and it takes about 2-3 hours to fully charge a drained headset. The LED will turn from red to blue when the headset is charged.

Conclusion

The allways headset scores high with its design that combines a large ear-cover disk and an ear bud to provide maximum noise blocking. The headset is easy to pair and supports dual profiles. The voice quality is very good when keeping the headset within several feet of the handset. Battery life is very good compared to other Bluetooth headsets except the Logitech Bluetooth headset which is the champ. The eyeglass clip design is innovative and makes the headset quite comfortable to wear. The allways is light at 0.6 oz. The only fault we found in our tests is the limited range: it didn't come close to 30 feet, but 5 feet was fine.

The package includes the allways headset, wall charger, ear-loop, and eyeglass/sunglass clip, carry case with belt clip, 3 designer covers and a User Manual in 4 languages as well as a Quick-Start Guide.

Price: $99.99, www.allways1.com

 

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