Review posted March 2006 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
Anycom makes many Bluetooth peripherals and accessories. We reviewed the Anycom HS700 Bluetooth headset in 2004. Now Anycom offers the HS-790 Bluetooth headset with an updated Bluetooth chipset, longer battery life and a more ergonomic design while keeping the list price the same.
The HS-790 is a long headset compared to many Bluetooth headsets we’ve reviewed. It comes in at 3.1 x 1 x 0.78 inches and weighs 29 grams. It has a different form factor than the HS700: The boom is longer which helps move your outgoing voice closer to the mic. The headset has a long, smooth line, a departure from the curves the HS700 model saw. It’s about the same size as the Plantronic M3500 albeit thinner and longer than the Motorola HF820 and the Bluetrek G2 headsets which have similar form factors.
The design of the headset looks very clean yet very functional. The Anycom has a gray casing with a silver plate covering the center. The only thing that’s in the front is the LED light that will blink in green when standby and green and red alternately when in pairing mode. When the LED flashes red, you know it needs to be charged. You will find the volume up and down buttons on the sides nears the tip of the headset and a call answer/end/redial button above the volume up button on the left of the headset. The charging port is above the call answer button. The headset has a large earhook that can be switched to fit either ear. The hook is reasonably tight so that the earpiece is nicely tucked next to your ear hole opening. Even though the headset weighs 29 grams (a little over 1 ounce), heavier than the HS700, the headset is actually quite comfortable to wear for a long period of time.
The Anycom HS-790 has a Bluetooth 1.1 chipset and supports both Headset and Hands-free profiles. We tested the headset with variety of cell phones and PDAs including the Palm Treo 650, the i-Mate JAM, the Nokia N-Gage QD and the Dell Axim X30. The HS-790 headset paired with all devices easily. To pair, first turn off the headset; then hold the call button until the LED flashes green and red alternately. Search for the headset from your phone or PDA and use “0000” as the pass code to establish the connection.
The voice quality through the Anycom HS-790 varies more than other headsets. Using the Anycom with the Treo 650 and the i-Mate JAM, the voice quality is good, though not the best we’ve experienced on a wireless headset. The voice quality on the Nokia Symbian Series 60 phones suffered greatly. Through both Nokia 3650 and N-Gage QD, we heard background white noise, crackling and voice alteration effects via the Anycom headset. Calls into land line phones had the best voice quality. The headset volume is quite loud and it can be the saving grace for Treo 650 GSM users whose phone earpiece is rather quiet. Using the HS-790 with the Dell Axim X30 Pocket PC for the systems sound is more than adequate as the volume is high and sound is clear.
As with the voice quality, the range between the headset and mobile phones varied in our tests as well. The Treo 650, famous for short Bluetooth range on headset, got less than 10 feet distance before the incoming and outgoing voice starts to crackle. The i-Mate JAM however can go 30 feet away from the headset and still provide clean voice. The range on the Nokia Series 60 phones was not particularly good either.
The Anycom HS-790 supports most of the phone features such as voice dialing, call waiting, last number redialed, call transferring, mute mic and more. Note: to take advantage of all the features you will need to have the handset and service that support them.
The Anycom wireless headset comes with a 33 mAh rechargeable N-MH battery. You can charge the headset using the included AC charger. The headset has an automatic power saver mode and it will turn on if the headset has no connection to a phone for about 2 minutes. When the battery is running low, the LED light will flash red instead of green to let you know that the headset needs charging. The battery runtimes are very good. The claim talk time is 12 hours and we got about 10 hours of talk time. Our standby tests results came close to be 170 hours though that included the processes of pairing with several devices.
Pro:A sleek industrial look makes this headset a great choice for business users. The headset is compatible with most of the phone on the market and easy to pair. The handoff between the handset and the headset is smooth and reliable. The voice quality is good on some phone models such as the Treo 650 and i-Mate JAM and the Bluetooth range can reach 30 feet with the i-mate JAM. Long battery life by Bluetooth headset standards for both talk time and standby time.
Con:The voice quality and the range could be better on the Series 60 phones. If you are looking for ultra-tiny headsets, this may not be for you. Check out other headset reviews for further selections.
Package includes the headset, an AC charger and a printed multilingual user manual.