Review posted March 2009 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
iVoice Technologies is a new name in the Bluetooth headset and car kit market. The company entered the mobile marketplace in 2008 with the announcement of two Bluetooth wireless products: the iVoice Baby-ai Bluetooth headset and the R1 Bluetooth Hands-free car kit. The Baby-ai Bluetooth headset has Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR and several advanced features that come with the new Bluetooth version. It has dual microphones, built –in noise canceling technology and can pair with up to 8 Bluetooth devices and connect to two mobile phones simultaneously. The headset is small and lightweight and offers voice confirmations for Bluetooth operations.
The Baby-ai Bluetooth is a small headset, measuring in at 1.6 x 0.8 x 0.7 inches. It’s lightweight and comfortable to wear throughout a day. The headset has a teardrop shape and the control buttons (power button and volume buttons) all live on the front of the headset. One oddity is that the volume up button sits below the volume down button which is opposite of most phones and headsets’ volume controls. These buttons are easy to press unless you have very large fingers and the LED lights that indicates power status, pairing and other operations surround the control buttons. The charging port sits on top of the headset.
The Baby-ai’s earpiece extends into your ear, though the extension isn’t long enough to help the headset sit in your ear securely. The headset comes with several soft silicon ear gel tips in different sizes, and 2 ear hooks that can flip to fit either ear. Without the ear hook, the Bluetooth headset can sit in your ear securely enough if you don’t jog or turn your head suddenly. If you do need the ear hook for the added security, test both hooks included in the package for the best fit.
Pairing and Features
The Baby-ai Bluetooth headset has Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR and paired with all mobile phones easily in our tests. Hold down the power button while the headset is off until the LED flashes red and blue alternately, use your cell phone to find the headset and pair with it using the default pass code “0000”. Alternatively while the headset is on, press and hold the volume up button until the LED flashes red and blue. The Baby-ai can store up to 8 pairing partners in memory and can pair with two phones simultaneously thanks to Multi-point technology. The Baby-ai Bluetooth headset comes with what iVoice calls the Intelligent Voice Operator voice interface which talks to you when you pair the headset. It will announce the default code and pairing successful in a clear voice. If your phone supports Bluetooth v2.1’s secure simple pairing feature, you don’t even have to enter the pass code as the phone will do it automatically.
The Jawbone 2, Baby-ai and Jabra BT530 Bluetooth headsets.
The Baby-ai Bluetooth headset supports hands-free call management features such as last number redialing, call waiting (can work with two phones) voice dialing and mute outgoing voice in a call. All features worked well in our tests. The Multipoint also worked well when we tested it with two phones simultaneously. Read the included manual on how to switch between the phones. Two additional features we like about this headset: there’s a reset option in case anything goes wrong and the handset misbehaves, and it offers firmware update via USB connection.
Voice Quality and Range
The Baby-ai Bluetooth headset has good voice quality though not crystal clear. Both incoming and outgoing voices are clear enough to hold a conversation smoothly, but you can tell it’s a wireless headset. What is outstanding is the DSP, which eliminates road noise almost entirely. Even a loud motorcycle passing by barely generated noise in our road tests. However, like many Bluetooth headsets, the Baby-ai had some trouble with wind noise on many of the phones we tested, except on the iPhone 3G where the Baby-ai performed best in the DSP department. The Bluetooth headset also had very good range, reaching over 20 feet with most phones. Here are the test details on some of the key mobile phones we tested with the Baby-ai Bluetooth headset:
When working with the iPhone 3G:
The iPhone 3G generally works well with Bluetooth headsets, and the Baby-ai had the best audio quality and DSP performance when working with the iPhone 3G. Both incoming and out going audio were good and we could hold clear conversations. The DSP filtered out all road noise and even wind noise. The ranges between the iPhone 3G and the Baby-ai Bluetooth headset was about 25 feet before voice quality degraded.
When working with the BlackBerry Curve 8900:
The Baby-ai Bluetooth headset had decent voice quality with the BlackBerry Curve 8900, but couldn’t compete with the iPhone 3G’s voice quality. The headset had noticeable white noise, though the incoming voice was good while the outgoing voice sounded a bit digitized. The DSP worked very well, eliminating road noise but was less effective against wind noise. The range between the Baby-ai Bluetooth headset and the BlackBerry Curve 8900 was over 20 feet.
When working with the Samsung Eternity:
The voice quality was better with the Samsung Eternity than with the BlackBerry Curve 8900. The Baby-ai Bluetooth headset had good audio on both incoming and outgoing ends for smooth conversations. The DSP again worked very effectively against road noise and ambient noise but wasn’t as effective against wind noise. The range between the Baby-ai Bluetooth headset and the Samsung Eternity was about 25 feet.
The Baby-ai Bluetooth headset comes with a rechargeable battery and both AC charging and car charging adapters as well as a USB cable. The USB cable is made of a bendable coil-like material, and can hold the headset up while charging without using additional surface space on your desk. It’s a big plus when you can charge the headset via car outlet, AC outlet or your computer. The Baby-ai Bluetooth headset has good battery life with talk time of over 5.5 hours and standby time over a week. It takes about 1.5 hours to charge the headset via AC outlet and the LED light will tell you when the headset is fully charged or when it’s running low on power.
The Baby-ai Bluetooth headset takes advantage of Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR technology and offers some advanced wireless headset features such as voice guide, dual microphone, Multipoint pairing and strong DSP performance. We were very impressed by the DSP that effectively eliminated noise, echo and even wind (when working with some phones). The voice sounded good but not superb like the Plantronics Discovery 925, but was sufficient for holding conversations even in very noisy environments. The battery life is quite good with plenty of charging options. For a new Bluetooth accessory maker, the Baby-ai Bluetooth headset is a strong entry.
Pro: Small and lightweight, comfortable to wear throughout a day. Great for noisy environments thanks to its strong DSP. Good audio quality. Multi-pairing is good for dual phone users. You will love all the charging options right out of the box if you use the headset in different settings (office, car and home).
Con: Volume up and down buttons are the opposite of most headsets. There is some white noise when working with some phones.
Package contains: The Baby-ai Bluetooth headset, two silicon ear gels (different sizes), two ear hooks (different sizes), AC adapter, car charging adapter, USB cable, a neck strap and printed User Guide.
Technical Specs: -Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR
-Profiles supported: Headset and Hands-Free Profiles
-Claimed talk time: 6 hours
-Claimed standby time: 8 days
-Battery: Lithium ion rechargeable
-AC adapter: 100-240V