i.Tech Solar Voice 908 Bluetooth Headset
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Solar charger built-in. Easy to use.
Not all phones had great voice when working with this headset.
i.Tech has been steadily churning out Bluetooth products over the years. Though they never made a huge name for themselves in that space, their products are widely available through retailers and online sellers like Amazon. The i.Tech Solar Voice 908 is the newest Bluetooth headset from the company and the headset integrates solar charging into the design. Combining the i.Tech Solar Voice 908 with the i.Tech Solar Charger 906, mobile users can not only choose a green solution but also stay away from AC outlets longer while on the go. The i.Tech Solar Voice 908 headset has Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR and it works with devices that support Headset, Hands-Free and A2DP profiles. The voice quality is good with many phones and the DSP is effective with some phones. Both the headset and the solar charger are affordable. The i.Tech Solar Voice 908 does have a couple of shortcomings: it doesn’t work well with a few phones and it can feel a bit heavy for those who are used to lighter Bluetooth headsets.
The i.Tech Solar Voice 908 has a pleasing design with rounded corners and a raised earpiece. The headset is average in size, measuring 2.13 x 0.67 x 0.44 inches and weighs 0.42 ounces (12 grams). The headset can stay in the ear without the included clear ear hook, but it feels a bit heavy and it doesn’t sit securely in the ear if you are jogging wearing the headset. The ear hook provides added security and it fits either ear. The headset also comes with 4 ear tips in different sizes and once you find the right one the i.Tech is comfy to wear but it still might feel a bit too heavy to wear throughout a day.
The uniqueness in the headset design comes from the solar panel that dominates the front. The small solar panel can recharge the built-in Lithium-Ion battery at the rate of 16 minutes of talk time per one-hour charge in the sun. If you live and work in a place that has a lot of sunlight, you will hardly ever need to charge the headset via USB. To provide an additional charging opportunity, the i.Tech Solar Voice 908 comes with a charging cradle that props the headset up at an angle to face the sunlight when in a car, on your desk or on a windowsill.
The multi-function button lives on the left side of the headset since the solar panel takes up the entire front panel real estate. The multi-function button is quite easy to find even when you are wearing the headset as you can feel the “bump” the button creates on the side. The volume up and down buttons live on the other side of the headset and the LED light lives next to the multi-function button.
Pairing and Features
The i.Tech Solar Voice 908 has Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR. It can pair with multiple devices and simultaneously connect to 2 devices. The headset supports Bluetooth Headset, Hands-Free and A2DP profiles. We tested the i.Tech Solar Voice 908 with several phones that all paired with the headset easily. The Bluetooth headset has an easy pair feature that puts the headset into pairing mode the first time you turn it on. For subsequent pairing, press and hold the multi-function button with the headset turned off, and when you see the LED light flashing blue and red, use your cell phone to pair and connect with the headset.
The i.Tech Solar Voice 908 supports most Handset and Hands-Free calling features including answering a call, rejecting a call, call waiting, last number redialing and voice dialing. The headset spreads these tasks between the multi-function button and the volume Up button, and they worked smoothly in our tests. The included printed manual provides control instructions.
Voice Quality and Range
We tested the i.Tech Solar Voice 908 Bluetooth headset with several phones, and found it worked well with most of them, but not all of them. On the phones that the headset worked well with, the voice was clear and the volume was loud. The DSP worked effectively at blocking out most road noise and background noise. But a couple of phones stumped the headset. The voice quality was poor and the DSP wasn’t effective when the i.Tech headset worked with these phones. Here are the highlights of some of the phones we tested with the headset:
When working with the iPhone 3GS:
The Solar Voice 908 had good incoming voice but subpar outgoing voice when working with the iPhone 3GS. Incoming voice sounded a little digitized but it didn’t get in the way of a smooth conversation, and the volume was quite loud. The outgoing voice wasn’t as clear and had some audio distortion that interrupted conversations. The DSP worked well for road noise but failed to filter out some indoor noises like ambient noise in a café or restaurant. The range between the i.Tech and the iPhone 3GS was very good reaching about 20 feet.
When working with the Droid by Motorola:
The i.Tech Solar Voice 908 also had good voice quality with the Droid by Motorola. Incoming voice was quite clear and loud, and we had no trouble carrying on conversations in noisy environments. The outgoing voice was also good but sounded a little bit digitized. The DSP was good, but it didn’t completely filter out road noise or jarring indoor noise. The range between the Droid by Motorola and the Solar Voice 908 was about 20 feet.
When working with the Samsung Behold II:
The i.Tech Solar Voice 908 isn’t a good companion for the Samsung Behold II. The incoming voice was clear but the volume was quite low even when both the phone’s volume and the headset’s volume were turned to max. The DSP had little effect on the outgoing voice, and road noise and background noise interfered with outgoing voice though not to a very damaging degree. Wind noise however generated loud audio distortion and crackling that rendered the headset unusable with the Samsung Behold II in windy conditions.
When working with the Google Nexus One by HTC:
The Nexus One and Solar Voice are a good combination, with clear audio on both incoming and outgoing ends. Noise reduction was adequate for noisy open office spaces but some noise made its way to our call recipients when we were in a very noisy mall.
It’s no longer just an intriguing concept to use solar power in a Bluetooth headset, the i.Tech Solar Voice 908 proves it practical and convenient to have a solar panel built-in on a headset. Direct sunlight means not only a greener power source but also means you can stay away from an AC outlet or a computer USB port for longer periods of time, and that is essential for a mobile professional. The headset comes with a desk/dash cradle in which the Solar Voice 908 can sit at an angle with the solar panel facing up. Alternatively the headset has a micro USB charging port with AC adapter and USB cable. The headset has a claimed talk time of 5 hours and standby time of 6 days on a full charge. Those who can keep the headset exposed to sunlight can easily extend the usage time.
In addition to the built-in solar panel, i.Tech offers a portable solar charger, the i.Tech Solar Charger 906 which has a 1260 mAh Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery and a larger solar panel that charges the battery using sunlight. The solar charger comes with adapters for popular devices like the iPhone, Treo, Nokia, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson phones and the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP. The i.Tech Solar Charger 906 also comes with a micro USB adapter that works with the Solar Voice 908 Bluetooth headset. The Solar Charger 906 requires 22 hours of sunlight to charge completely, an ideal setup for those who can leave the charger in their cars and let it charge through the windshield. Alternatively the Solar Charger has a charging port for AC and DC charging options.
The i.Tech Solar Voice 908 is one of the first Bluetooth headsets that provide opportunities for mobile users to go green. The idea of a Bluetooth headset going for a long period of time without connecting to AC is very attractive, and if you live in a climate with plenty of sunshine, the Solar Voice 908 brings that idea to practice. The headset is comfortable and secure to wear with the ear hook, and the controls are easy to use. The voice quality is good on many phones but not on all, and the range is generally good. We only wish the good voice quality were consistent on more phones.
Pro: Solar charger built-in. Controls are easy to use.
Con: Not all phones had great voice when working with this headset.
Package contains the Bluetooth headset, desk/dash cradle, USB cable, AC adapter, 4 ear tips and printed manual.
-Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR
-Profiles supported: Headset, Hands-Free, A2DP
-Claimed talk time: Up to 5 hours
-Claimed standby time: Up to 5 days
-Headset size: 2.15 x 0.68 x 0.49 inches
-Headset weight: .42 ounces / 12 grams
-Battery: Lithium-Ion rechargeable, solar panel
-AC adapter: 100-240V
Price: $79.99 for the i.Tech Solar Voice 908; $59.99 for the i.Tech Solar Charger 906
Web site: www.itechdynamic.com