BlueAnt Z9i Dual Mic Bluetooth Headset - Testing the Z9i and Final Thoughts

Article Index
BlueAnt Z9i Dual Mic Bluetooth Headset
Accessories, Z9i Closeup and More
BlueAnt Z9i Specs, Features and Pairing
Testing the Z9i and Final Thoughts

Testing the Z9i:

So we see that the Z9 has a ton of features and lots of functions and capability according to the "Button Function Matrix".  The real question still remains as to it's performance and quality.  Keep on reading as we dive into testing.

Function, Features & Comfort:

As we mentioned earlier this device is long on features and functions.  The headset will allow you to answer/end a call as well as reject callers if you're busy.  It will also allow you to redial the last number transfer calls from the headset directly to your mobile device and activate voice dial features if available.  This headset also supports call waiting and conference calling as well as the obvious volume controls.  You can even turn off the blinking LED.  Lastly, by holding the MFB while you're in a call, you can change the Noise Isolation Technology mode from standard to maximum settings.

As far as comfort goes, the BlueAnt Z9i is one of the most comfortable headsets I've used - and I've tried out a bunch.  I've used the Plantronics Voyager 510 and Explorer 320 as well as the Jabra JX10, BT620s and BT325s as well as the IOGear GBE201W7 and a couple of Logitech headsets.  I'm a headset junkie and I guess admitting it is the first step.  The only headset that I've found as comfortable as the Z9i is the Z9 or maybe the Plantronics Voyager 510 - and the larger size of the Plantronics headset may make it less appealing than the BlueAnt Z9i.


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 BlueAnt Z9i has very good sound quality.  I could hear voices clearly and distinctly and the volume range is excellent.  It can be turned up to an uncomfortably loud level for use in noisy environments and turned down whisper quiet for use in more peaceful surroundings.

On the mic side of things, it is a similar story.  The mic seems to work well and pick up voices nicely.  The Dual Mic technology is a key component of the Voice Isolation Technology and we'll take a clip from the BlueAnt page to explain this better.

BlueAnt Voice Isolation Technology™
The Z9 uses revolutionary proprietary DSP software known as the BlueAnt Voice Isolation Technology™ which uses sophisticated techniques to separate the voice signal from the noise using the dual microphone array of the Z9.  As a result, this technology is effective against all noise sources whether they are stationary, impulsive or even the sound of other voices.

Background Noise Elimination with Zero Voice Distortion
The BlueAnt Z9 separates the desired voice signal from all of the background noise including wind noise, resulting in crystal clear conversations in the noisiest environments.

Echo Cancellation
In addition to background noise elimination, the Z9 technology provides truly revolutionary echo cancellation performance. Treating acoustic echo as another background noise source. The Z9 eliminates this echo, allowing for true full-duplex operation. Effective at eliminating the acoustically coupled signal that can cause annoying echo in Bluetooth headsets operated at high volume.

Wind Noise Reduction
As the Z9 treats all sounds as distinct separate signals, wind noise is thus defined as a separate signal from the users voice and is reduced or eliminated.

Improved Automatic Speech Recognition
Automatic speech recognition performance is dramatically improved by the clear voice, free from background noise. This allows the user to have a greater percentage success rate in using voice commands with cell phones. 

You don't have to take our word for it though; you can download a recording of the mic in use when connected by Bluetooth to my Thinkpad T61 Laptop.  Get the MP3 file here.  Overall, I was very pleased with sound quality of both the mic and the ear piece on this headset.  I was using this headset while driving on the highway with the windows down and the caller on the other end could still hear me okay - not perfect as the Voice Isolation was at max and working very hard, but the conversation was still possible and this is an extreme situation.


Range & Battery Life:

BlueAnt claims the Bluetooth v2.0 standard will provide range of up to 10m (30ft.).  This seems to be pretty standard and the Z9i lived up to those claims.  At 25 feet there would be some static if a wall was between the phone and the connected Z9i.  The range of this headset is nothing spectacular, but it does reach 30' in unobstructed conditions.  The headset with the best range that I've ever used is the Logitech Mobile Freedom, but that headset is very bulky.

BlueAnt claims that the Z9i will last around 5.5 hours of talk time and 200 hours in standby.  From my experience, this is very close as the headset batteries outlast my phone by about 3 to 1.  I've used this headset for many Skype calls and it's always connected to by phone and I've only charged it twice in the weeks that I've used it.  Charging the headset may take up to 4 hours, but in my experience it only takes 2 - 3 hours when charged with either the USB cable or the standard wall charger.



This is our second BlueAnt Wireless product that we've looked at now and I'm as impressed with this one as I was with the original Z9.  The Z9i brings some additional functionality through mulit-point phone connections and certainly more connectivity.  The Z9i can connect to two phones at the same time and switch between active calls on each phone.  In addition to the two phones, the Z9i can also connect to three other devices making it a "one headset for all your needs" kind of device.  Although it's very small, the dual microphones provide very good voice quality and noise cancellation in loud environments.  With features like this and a price tag that is much less than many other headsets with half the features, the BlueAnt Z9i is great value.


  • Very comfortable
  • Good Noise Isolation DSP
  • Excellent battery life
  • Good range
  • Pairs with three devices
  • Attractive price
  • Includes "cheat sheet" to help remember all the functions/button presses


  • Too many functions to remember




The BlueAnt Z9i is a great headset and has added more features and connectivity to the original Z9 headset.  The Voice Isolation Technology works well and provides good voice quality even in very noisy environments.  While many people certainly don't need a device that can pair with 5 devices, this is a handy feature if you've got a smart phone, laptop, PDA, standard Bluetooth phone and still need an extra connection.  The Z9i comes highly recommended and is certainly a "Top Pick"!

Top Pick

I'd like to thank BlueAnt Wireless for sending us the Z9i to review.  It has been a great experience and is nice to see this company one-up themselves.  If you have any comments or questions regarding this review of the Z9i, please head on over and post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.