What's hot:Good voice quality, strong DSP and good battery life.
What's not:Single LED color can be confusing.
Review posted July 2009 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
Cobra Electronics, a company known for automotive security systems and radar detectors, has been making and marketing mobile accessories for years. Their products include in-vehicle mobile phone chargers, carrying cases and in-car navigation systems. In January of 2009, Cobra announced two Bluetooth headsets made by its licensee Aries Manufacturing: the Cobra Premium Bluetooth headset and the Cobra Deluxe Bluetooth with T5 Sonance Noise Cancellation Technology. The Cobra Premium Bluetooth headset is the smaller of the two headsets, and has very good voice quality, a strong DSP that works well with most phones, and the headset is comfortable to wear. The Cobra headset has Bluetooth v2.0 and supports headset and hands-free Bluetooth profiles.
The Cobra Premium Bluetooth headset has a clean but functional design. The headset is about the same size as the Jawbone II and the Plantronics Voyager 835, and it weighs 0.33 ounces. The headset has a shiny black plastic cover on the front that houses the call/multi-function button and small LED light. The back of the headset has a raised ear tip with rubber cover and an ear hook that fits either ear. The raised ear tip doesn’t extend deeply into the ear canal but the headset feels secure nonetheless with the help of the ear hook. The volume buttons are on the left side and the mic lives on the bottom of the headset. The tiny USB port for charging the headset lives on the right side of the headset. The Cobra Premium Bluetooth headset feels light even after wearing it throughout a day.
Pairing and Features
The Cobra Premium Bluetooth headset paired easily with all the phones we tested. To pair the headset, press and hold the call button with the headset off until the LED flashes rapid blue, then use your phone to search for the headset and pair with it using the default pass code “0000”. The process is easy, but one thing can be a bit confusing: the LED flashes only blue even when the headset is in pairing mode, instead of alternating blue and red.
The Cobra Premium Bluetooth headset supports Hands-free profile features including last number redialing, call waiting, voice dialing and mute during a call. The single-button control works well with most of the call management features with the help of the LED feedback and audio prompts. We tested voice dialing and other call features, and all worked well.
Voice Quality and Range
We tested the Cobra Premium Bluetooth headset with several mobile phones currently on the market and found the voice quality very good, especially the outgoing voice and DSP. The range between the phones and the headset was about 20 feet on average. Here are the test details on some of the cell phones we tested with the Cobra Premium Bluetooth headset:
When working with the iPhone 3G: The outgoing voice quality was very good when working with the Apple iPhone 3G, and the DSP seemed very effective against road noise and even some wind noise. The incoming voice was good but not as clear and sharp as the outgoing voice. Volume on both calling ends was good, and the headset adjusted incoming call volume automatically. The range between the Cobra Premium Bluetooth headset and the iPhone 3G reached 20 feet before we started hearing audio distortion.
When working with the Samsung Trance: The voice quality was similar on the Samsung Trance as with the iPhone 3G. The outgoing voice quality was very good: clear, sharp and loud. The incoming voice was less impressive, and it sounded a little muffled. The DSP worked effectively on the Samsung Trance, and the range between the phone and the headset was about 17 feet.
When working with the HTC Diamond for Verizon: The voice quality wasn’t bad via the HTC Diamond for Verizon, but call recipients heard artificial white background noise on the outgoing end and we heard some audio distortion on the incoming end. The white noise didn’t come from the environment as we tested it in quiet surroundings. The range was about 15 feet.
When working with the Samsung Impression: The Cobra Premium Bluetooth headset had the best voice quality with the Samsung Impression, incoming and outgoing. The voice was clear and loud. The DSP however wasn’t as strong on the Samsung as it was on other phones: sounds like birds chirping were louder than the caller at times. The range was about 20-25 feet between the Samsung Impression and the Cobra Premium Bluetooth headset.
The Cobra Premium Bluetooth headset has a built-in 3.7V Li-Polymer battery that takes 2.5-3 hours to charge. The headset package includes both AC and in-vehicle adapter via USB cable. The claimed talk time is 7 hours and claimed standby is 6.5 days. Our tests showed that the talk time was at least 6 hours and the standby was about a week.
The Cobra Premium Bluetooth headset didn’t exactly come out of the left field but did surprise us with good voice quality and a strong DSP. The headset worked well with most phones in our tests and range was good compared to many Bluetooth headsets on the market. The headset has a clean design and is comfortable to wear. The single color LED can be confusing at times, but once you’ve read the manual and practiced a bit it’s not that hard to remember. The price is good for the voice quality and battery life you get from this headset.
Pro: Comfy form, good voice quality, strong DSP and good battery life.
Con: Single LED color can be confusing. No different sized ear tip covers.
Package contains: The Cobra Premium Bluetooth headset, AC charger, car charger, USB cable and a printed guide.
-Profiles supported: Headset and Hands-Free Profiles
-Claimed talk time: up to 7 hours
-Claimed standby time: up to 6.5 days
-Headset weight: 0.33 ounces
-Battery: Lithium Ion, takes about 3 hours to charge
-AC adapter: 100-240V