Review posted April 2007 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
Gennum, a Canadian based company that has over thirty years of experience in chipset manufacturing, launched its first generation Bluetooth headsets, the nXZEN series in late 2005. The series featured a powerful DSP technology and a comfortable design. Gennum will soon release a new Bluetooth headset product, the nX6000. The headset stands out with its ultra-small size, powerful DSP technology and good voice quality. The nX6000 features Bluetooth 2.0, basic and advanced phone features support, and it scores a modern sleek look. The headset is very comfortable to wear thanks to its in-ear design and it’s extremely light in weight.
The Gennum nX6000 is one of the smallest Bluetooth headsets we’ve seen. At 1.5” long and 1” wide, the nX6000 is shorter than the Nextlink Bluespoon AX. The headset has a black plastic casing with curved front and an ear tip on the back that ensures the headset stays in your ear. You will find two mic holes on the front plate, a charging port and LED light on top of the headset, the volume up and down buttons on headset’s sides and the multi-function button on the left side. The nX6000 comes with three ear tip covers in different sizes and two ear loops. When you put on the ear tip cover, the Bluetooth headset should stay in your ear securely. Try different ear tip covers until you find the one that fits best. If you need it to be more secure while jogging or doing other active tasks, you can use the ear hook for extra security. The headset is very light and comfy to wear. You can certainly wear it throughout the day without any discomfort.
Pairing and Features
The Gennum nX6000 Bluetooth headset has Bluetooth 2.0 and supports both Hands-free and Headset Profiles. We paired the headset with a variety of phones and the nX6000 paired with all easily. The very first time you turn on the nX6000, the headset will be in pairing mode. You can search for it and pair with it using the default pass code “0000”. If you need to pair it with more phones, you will need to first turn off the headset, then hold the multi-function button until the LED turn solid blue (it will cycle through a couple of flashes before turning solid blue), and then pair it with your phone. The nX6000 can store up to 3 pairing partners, but can only connect to one at a time. Some phones will connect with the nX6000 automatically; others will require that you ask to connect. Press the multi-function button briefly after you’ve paired the headset with your phone to request a connection. The nX6000 connected to all phones in our tests smoothly. When the headset goes out of the range, it disconnects from the phone automatically with audible notifications. And when it comes back into range, it will reconnect with the phone automatically.
The Gennum nX6000 supports common features including answering/ending calls, rejecting calls, last number redial, voice dialing/voice command and mute/un-mute calls. It also supports some advanced features such as 3-way conference calling and call waiting if your phone and services have support for these features. You will perform most of them using the multi-function button, so make sure that you learn the controls before placing important calls.
Voice Quality and Range
The voice quality of the Gennum nX6000 was good with all the phones in our test aresenal, but not as clear as the Plantronics Discovery 640 series. The nX6000 performed the best in both incoming and outgoing voice quality when working with the Samsung BlackJack smartphone on Cingular. Gennum implements its own DSP technology that’s been tested in super noisy environments such as a steel factory floor and construction sites. The DSP does indeed feel powerful in more moderately noisy places like coffee houses, stores and cars traveling on both highways and city streets. The nX6000 also has the dual-mic design that was first implemented on the nXZEN Plus headsets. This design powered by Gennum’s software helps isolate the user’s voice from ambient noise in extreme noisy environments. In our tests, the outgoing voice was good in a variety of locations, especially when there’s background noise. The Bluetooth range between the nX6000 and the phones we’ve tested it with varies from 10 to 20 feet depending which phone we used in the test. Here are the details on each device:
When working with the Treo 700p on Sprint (Bluetooth v1.2)
The incoming voice is good and very loud when the Treo and headset are in reasonably close proximity to each other. We couldn’t hear any road noise when our caller was driving with the radio playing in car. The outgoing voice is also good. Gennum has put a lot of energy into building a powerful noise canceling DSP that performs well. The Treo 700p has given many Bluetooth headsets trouble when it comes to range. The nX6000 is no exception. The range between the Treo and the nX6000 reaches 10 feet at best. You will start to hear crackling sounds or breakup in both incoming and outgoing voice beyond 10 feet.
When working with the LG VX9400 on Verizon (Bluetooth v1.2)
The nX6000 performed well for both incoming and outgoing voice. Incoming voice is clearer than the Treo and very loud in volume. You should be able to hear calls even in noisy environments like a Starbucks store or driving on the highway. The outgoing voice in very noisy environments is very good thanks to the strong DSP technology, though scrambled background noise cuts through occasionally (and sometimes scrambles outgoing voice a bit). The nX6000’s range with the LG is a bit better than with the Treo 700p and reached about 10-15 feet. Voice dialing using the included voice command on the LG works like a charm via the nX6000 Bluetooth headset.
When working with the Samsung u620 on Verizon (Bluetooth v1.2)
Incoming voice via the Samsung has noticeable digital processing effects compared to other phones. But it’s clear enough and has loud volume. The outgoing voice is a bit lower compared to other phones as well but clear enough for phone calls. The DSP works very well in noisy environments. The range between the Samsung and nX6000 is worse than the LG VX9400 and about the same as the Treo 700p. The headset can go up to 10 feet from the phone before breaking up and creating artificial noise. Voice dialing via the nX6000 works very well.
When working with the Samsung BlackJack on Cingular (Bluetooth v2.0)
The BlackJack has Bluetooth 2.0 and we expected better performance with the nX6000. The voice clarity is noticeably better with the BlackJack and voice sounds more natural compared to the other phones in our test. Incoming voice quality is excellent, even better than the outgoing voice. Volume is very high on both ends. The range between the nX6000 and the BlackJack reached 20 feet which is the best range we’ve seen for the nX6000.
The Gennum nX6000 has a Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and you can charge it using either the AC charger or the mini-USB cable both of which are included with the headset. When you are charging the headset, the LED light turns red and when the headset is fully charged the LED will turn blue. The nX6000 offers audible alerts when the battery runs low. The claimed talk time for the headset is 6 hours and standby time is 90 hours. That’s respectable battery life for Bluetooth headsets; it’s shorter than the Cardo Scala-700 but longer than the Plantronics Discovery 655. In our test, the talk time reached over 5 hours and standby reached 2 and a half days.
If you are looking for a small Bluetooth headset, you won’t find many smaller than the Gennum nX6000. The headset has nice design and is very comfortable to wear. The DSP technology suits those who frequently talk in noisy environments and the high volume helps the incoming voice. The voice quality isn’t pristine but should be good enough for most mobile users. The headset supports some advanced features such as call waiting, voice command and conference call. The battery life is good on talk time but short on standby.
Package contains: headset, AC charger, mini-USB cable, 2 ear hooks and three ear tips in different sizes, a printed user’s manual.
-Profiles supported: Hands-free and Headset Profiles
-Claimed talk time: Up to 6 hours on a charge
-Claimed standby time: Up to 90 hours
-Size: 1.5” long and 1” wide
-Battery: Lithium Ion Polymer Rechargeable
-AC adapter: 100-240v