BlueAnt Embrace Stereo Headset

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Product: BlueAnt Embrace Stereo Headset
Provided By: BlueAnt Wireless
Price: $199 MSRP

 

Introduction:

If you want a headset that has great sound, deep bass and good comfort - and you like leather (other than your pants), BlueAnt has recently released a product that is made for you!  Many of you that read BCCHardware have heard of BlueAnt, and today we are looking at the first wired headset that they've ever made.  Their core products are all Bluetooth, but they have decided to step a bit further out into the crowded wired headset realm with their Embrace Headset!  Not only you can listen to music, videos, and other media that you enjoy, they can also be used for gaming and making phone calls as well.  Keep reading to decide if you want to embrace the Embrace!

Box Front
Box Front
Box Back
Box Back

 

First Impressions:

When I got the BlueAnt headphones I thought they would be pretty sweet.  I assumed that they would be wireless because every other BlueAnt product I've seen has been Bluetooth.  I was wrong.  BlueAnt decided to break out of their stereotypical role and have gone with their first-ever wired headset.  They come in a nice and easy to get to box that won't have you dreading the horrible clam-shell clear plastic packages of cheap products.

Pouch
Pouch

 

In that box was a carrying case for the headphones and inside that carrying case is the BlueAnt Embrace Headset.  Included are a couple of pairs of cords - one specifically for phones (best with iPhone) and one for regular stereo use.  The blue cord has volume up and down controls as well as a answer/end button that only works with Apple products.  There is also an OMTP adapter and a user guide.

Bundle
Bundle

The earpieces are padded and very soft on the ears.  The headband and ear-pads are actually leather and the underlying headband is actually made of metal.  The ear-pads swivel, rotate and adjust in length to fit almost any size of melon.  Yes, this headset doesn't have a microphone arm that extends in front of your face.


Earpieces
Earpieces
Extended
Extended
Bottom
Bottom

 

Not only you can use the Embrace headset for calls, but they also opens up opportunities to plug into your PC and game with as well.  If you have a compatible audio jack that supports the three-way connector, you will be able to voice chat over Teamspeak, Skype, MSN and more.  This is a great feature - especially if you're the type that likes to eat and game or listen to music or whatever.

I don't need to worry about my microphone in the way of my face as I'm "nomming" and making everyone jealous with my beef jerky or the world's loudest chips (Miss Vickie's).  The BlueAnt Embrace Headset is clearly marked as left and right so you know which way to put them on.  As is pretty standard, they do have a cord on the left side to help you figure out which way to wear them as is standard.

 

On the next page, we'll take a look at the features and specifications of the BlueAnt Embrace before we continue with the review.


 

Features and Specifications:

As we jump into some features and specifications, we'll pull some information from the BlueAnt Embrace product page.  For all of the details, make sure you take a look at their product page.  The information below has been posted for your convenience.

Music The Way It Was Meant To Be Heard
True-To-Life Sound: Due to the flat frequency response of our highly optimized drivers, the BlueAnt EMBRACE enhances your mobile entertainment experience by offering the absolute best sound that is not artificially manipulated. The headphones provide a listening experience that is true-to-life and enables users to adjust EQ settings to match their personal preferences.

Absolute Best Sound
The EMBRACE offers the absolute best sound to enhance your mobile entertainment experience. The sealed-leather pads keep noise out and ensure that you hear all the audio detail and range faithfully reproduced.

Inventive and Smart
The ultimate in music enjoyment with highly optimized and refined drivers keeping music sounding rich, pure and incredibly detailed.

"Music The Way It Was Meant To Be Heard"
Boasting 40mm custom tuned high performance drivers to deliver the fullest range of sound that is sure to enhance your mobile entertainment communication experience.

Precision Design
The EMBRACE has the best fit and is styled for comfort with conforming ear pads that hug your ears to filter out the unwanted background noise so you can focus on what you want to hear.

Personal audio never sounded or felt so good. EMBRACE your life.


Features

 Features


Specs

On the last page we'll test these out and wrap things up. 


 

More Impressions:

The cord on the BlueAnt Embrace is detachable from the headphones so you can switch out the two different cords if you're device doesn't support the Apple'ish volume control.  The blue cord is the one that has the remote controls on it and also has a hole on the back of it for the microphone as well.  That cord is compatible for volume and microphone features on Apple products.  The microphone works on all phones that support a single cable for both microphone and headphones, but the volume control only works with Apple devices.  The black cord is for any device that doesn't have a microphone - such as your media player or portable gaming device.

Cord
Cord with Microphone

It would have been nice if they would have included a "Y" adapter that would allow you to hook it up to your PC or laptop.  A cord that separates these into a couple different connects can be a little harder to come across than a plain "Y" splitter.  Newer laptops and computers (like Zeus' Lenovo ThinkPad T410) has the microphone input and audio output all in one.  Not all laptops and PC's (like my Acer Travelmate) have a compatible jack.  Instead, they are separate connectors.  Another thing that's slick about the headset is that they are light-weight and fold flat so that you're able to fit them back in the carry case for easy storage.

 

Testing:

ProfileTesting these suckers out was a great time!!   Right away, I noticed that they sound pretty sweet and are very clear.  If you want some good bass, these can deliver.  If you want very clear treble and great vocals, these are pretty good with all genres of music and do work well for gaming.  When i fire up my ZuneHD, it's like a party in my head!  The bass thumps pretty good without being too overbearing.  Because of the soft material they are made from, they are even "noise cancelling" as well.  In truth, they don't cancel noise, but they do block out most ambient sounds so that you forget someone's even in the same room as you.  I discovered that Zeus can get pretty irritated if he's trying to talk to me and I can't hear him!  He did get even by knocking loudly on the wall when I was singing away and scared me.  I really like the fact that I can use these an excuse to not listen to my brother!

Gaming on these was not too bad but they clearly are no Psyko Audio headset.  They offer good two-channel separation, but they are not 5.1 so directional audio is limited.  You can't hear every step from your enemies from every corner, but you are able to hear them in a stereo situation.

They are comfortable to wear with the soft leather padding.  Still, after wearing them for over two hours straight - or long periods without a break - the do begin to irritate my ears as they are an on-ear design.  They are not too bad compared to some that I've worn and tested, but this is the drawback of on-ear headphones.  This of course is a personal preference and maybe I have sensitive ears, but I think with it being soft padded they can be tolerable.  I won't discount them for comfort for sure.

 

Conclusion:

The BlueAnt Embrace Headset was a great pair to listen to and rock out with!  The microphone features is great as there isn't an arm in the way that stuck out.  You can freely move around - eat, drink and rage without the microphone arm getting in the way.  The downside is that there isn't a mute button which would of been handy so the whole world doesn't always hear me if I'm talking to others in my house. 

Lower Profile

As far as comfort goes, they are really nicely padded on the ears and headband.  It's almost like wearing a soft leather sweater on your ears - unlike some cheap vinyl material on a lot of other headphones these days.  The pressure grip on my ears was a little uncomfortable after a while, but I can still wear them for a couple of hours without discomfort.

The price may be a bit steep for some as they stand roughly around $200, but because of their high-quality sound - on both the microphone and headphones, they are worth spending a little extra money on.  Although the included case looks a bit cheap, it is still handy for traveling and completes the deal.

Pros:

  • travel case
  • awesome bass and great sound
  • no extended arm for mic
  • soft padding all around
  • 2 sets of cables and adapter
  • works with gaming

 

Cons:

  • pretty expensive MSRP
  • no Y splitter
  • Pressure on ears gets uncomfortable
  • volume remote controls works only for Apple products

 

 BCCRating

 

I'd like to thank BlueAnt for sending over their Embrace headset.  It has a lot of great features, very good quality but the price-tag is a little steep in my opinion.  If you could snag these for $139 - now, that would be a very tempting thing.

Please post your comments, questions and feedback in the forum at the "Comments" link below.