Bluetooth Mobile Headset Roundup

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Bluetooth Mobile Headset Roundup
IOGear GBE201W7 Headset
Plantronics 320 Explorer Headset

Products: Logitech Mobile Freedom Headset, IOGear GBE201W7 Headset, Plantronics Explorer 320 Headset
Price: MSRP $79.95, $59.95, $69.95 Respectively


I recently upgraded my cell phone to a phone that included bluetooth.  For me, bluetooth is an important feature as when I'm working at my real job (farming) I don't want a wire to get tangled up in machinery.  Much like a cape to a superhero (think Incredibles), a wired headset could be the death of you.  I started out with a fairly limited budget and have tested out a few headsets to find out which works best under various situations and importantly, which is comfortable to wear.  Read along and hopefully you'll find out which headsets not to waste your money on.

The Candidates:

The Candidates

We've got entries from Logitech, IOGear and Plantronics on the bench today, and while these are entry-level bluetooth headsets, they should still provide basic functionality and quality.  Only two of these headsets are Bluetooth 1.2 and one is the older Bluetooth 1.1.  Bluetooth 1.2 should provide less noise than previous Bluetooth products.  We'll soon see.

To test these headsets, we will be linking them with a Motorola V710 phone as well as a PC Connection to test the quality and range.  Results are perhaps somewhat subjective, but we've used these headsets for a few days uner various conditions to find out their quirks, issues, and strengths.  This should give you an idea of what to expect when you go bluetooth headset shopping.

Logitech Mobile Freedom:

The Logitech Mobile Freedom is an entry level headset from Logitech.  While it's not the bottom of the pile, it certainly is not an expensive unit either.  It comes with a very simple manual, two replacement foam earpads, and an AC adapter for charging the unit.

Logitech Bundle

Logitech Front

The Logitech Mobile Freedom is not bunged up with gaudy buttons, and at first glance only a single button is evident.  However, the Logitech logo is actually sitting on a volume up/down rocker switch.  This switch also functions as a mic mute button when the volume is pressed "up" twice rapidly.  Mute may be turned off by pressing the volume control again.

The back of the unit is very simple and actually quite plain.  When I received the headset, I first sat out to charge it and couldn't find the plug.  I was just about ready to consult the manual when I noticed it behind the hinge on the earpiece.  This piece can be rotated out of the way for charging as well as to customize the fit.

Logitech Back

Logitech Power Connector

Pairing - Installation:

Installation of the Logitech Mobile Freedom headset was entirely painless.  To pair the unit you turn the unit on, and continue to hold down the button until the LED flashes red.  Once this is done, you can choose to pair this device with your phone, PDA, etc. and will then be prompted to enter the passcode.  This process should take no more than a few seconds to complete.  The hardest part will be to find out how to find the right option in your phone.


Function, Features & Comfort:

Below we've listed the features and specifications according to Logitech:

  •  Bluetooth 1.2 compatible: No additional phone dongle needed to enjoy 10 meters (30 feet) of range. It also works with your Bluetooth-compatible PC. And Bluetooth v1.2 gives you adaptive frequency hopping, quick connect time, and improved audio quality.
  • Logitech´s patent-pending WindStop technology: WindStop enables clear conversations in adverse conditions by reducing the disruptive effects of wind noise, including automobile air conditioners.
  • Comfortable and lightweight: Rotating clip conveniently fits either ear, and lightweight soft foam ear pad stays comfortable even after long talk sessions.
  • Long-life battery: Enjoy up to 7 hours of talk time or up to 250 hours of standby time between charges.
  • Multifunction button: Call/answer button on the headset lets you conduct calls without having to pick up the phone. The Logitech Mobile Freedom Headset also supports several features built into many handsets, such as voice dialing, three-way calling, and mute.
  •  Ultra-light: weighs 23 grams.

Logitech LED

This unit really doesn't have a whole lot of fuctionality built into it other than a simple headset.  Other headsets support redial, hold & more, but the Logitech basically supports mic mute out of the box.  Other features may be available based on phone functionality, but not on mere headset fuctionality.  The Logitech "Windstop" mic is a great addition though and greatly reduces wind noise as well as other background noise.

As far as comfort goes, the Logitech headset is middle of the road.  The padded earpiece is quite nice, but the thick rubber earloop can pinch after wearing it for a while.  I've tried this unit on both ears in various positions, but it lacks long-term comfort in my opinon.  Also, if you have small ears, this headset may not be secure and could fall off your ear.

Sound Quality:

Regardless of the functionality or the comfort of a headset, all would be totally lost if it didn't sound good.  While I don't expect this to be hi-fi by any means, the voice quality should be clear without undue hissing or popping.  I'm pleased to say that the Logitech Mobile Freedom has decent sound quality.  I could hear voices clearly and distinctly although at times I wish the volume could go a little higher.

On the mic side of things, it is a similar story.  The mic seems to work well and pick up voices nicely.  The "windstop" mic does indeed block out wind noise and apparently other background noise as well.  People I talked to could understand me when I was walking outside in the wind and while operating noisy farm equiment.  They could hear the background noise of the equipment, but could hear me as well.

Range & Battery Life:

Logitech claims the Bluetooth 1.2 standard will provide range of up to 10m (30ft.).  This is a bit lean however, and I was able to set my phone down at one end of the house and use the headset clearly in any other area of the house.  At 45 feeet, the signal became a bit staticy, but was still bearable.  I've even ran into the post office while using the headset and left the phone in the truck - it worked very well.  Range is excellent in my opinion.

Logitech claims that the Mobile Freedom will last around 7 hours of talk time and 250 hours in standby.  From my experience, this is very close as the headset batteries outlast my phone by about 3 to 1.  Charging the headset may take up to 4 hours, but in my experience it only takes 2 - 3 hours.

How It Scores: Rating
Sound Quality Ear:
Sound Quality Mic:
Battery Life :
Total Score 8.25



Head on over to the next page and we'll take a look at the IOGear GBE201W7.