Are Bluetooth Headsets Dorky or Hip?

I can’t decide how I feel about Bluetooth headsets. When someone else rants in public like a deranged street person with no apparent audience but me, I am annoyed by them. But I’m a bike commuter. And if I’m riding along — using my hands to steer and shift gears — and my phone rings, being able to tap my ear and chat away is a sweet thing. Even though I realize I have stepped into deranged-street-person-on-a-bike territory as I ride along laughing and talking to ghosts no one can see but me.

The other problem with these little doodads is that they are easy to lose in the bottom of a purse, behind the bedside table at a hotel, and just about anywhere in my house or office. And they are often confusing to use. This is particularly frustrating if I’ve lost mine for a while and found it and want to use it but have forgotten how. Sometimes just turning the thing on is a mystery.

But right now, I have in my possession two very nice Bluetooth headsets: The Jawbone PRIME (in “Frankly SCARLET” red) and the Jabra BT2080. I like them both for very different reasons. Or I like them both if I like Bluetooth headsets, which – as I’ve just said – I can’t decide about.

The PRIME is pretty. Movie-starlet pretty. I like the look of it with my red reading glasses and a coif. This is almost stepping into the world of personal accessory but it is also state-of-the-art Bluetooth headset technology. It will work with two phones – or your phone and Skype if your computer has Bluetooth – and does clever decision-making about answering ringing phones. It has some fancy technology to improve the sound quality of calls, reduce background noise, and whatnot. I do have to remember to press a specific unmarked spot for 2 seconds to turn it on and off but if I like Bluetooth headsets, I like this one.

It comes in other colors too:

The Jabra BT2080, though, is inexpensive and super easy to use. It has an on/off button so you don’t have to remember a complex trick for turning it off and on. It also has little lights (marked!) that tell you when the battery is low and the unit is on and working. Simple. It also just works. It paired to my phone practically without help from me. And now it finds my phone when I turn it on, pairs itself, and redirects the sound from my handset to it. (Though, once you get them paired, most of them do that.) This is all very handy when I’m negotiating a bike, helmet, brakes, and traffic. And the best part about the BT2080 is that the list price is $39.99 so if I lose it, I don’t “have kittens.”

What do you think? Do you like Bluetooth headsets? Why? Please comment!

And, if you haven’t yet, you should get in on this sweet giveaway I have going here. I’ll be running the randomizer on Friday to pick a winner.

8 thoughts on “Are Bluetooth Headsets Dorky or Hip?

  1. I think these look so dorky. I can’t stand seeing people wear these just for “looks”! When people are actually USING them I think it’s fine, but when you are using it for a fashion accessory and not a communication tool, you are just that… a tool.

  2. I bought one to use with my phone and ended up losing it, I recently got a new one (ok, I may have stolen it from my husband, but he only had it as a backup for his ps3 one) and I pair it with my laptop at work for cord-free/private music listening. The battery lasts all day, I’m not fighting with one more cord on my desk, and I’m not bothering my co-workers. True, I can’t get most browser sound to go through it (?? an OS X issue I keep thinking) but most of the videos I watch at work are work-related so I just un-connect it and turn my sound down, or use regular headphones for those.

  3. Trying to sign up for your bluetooth giveaway but your link takes me to an old blog entry…how do I signup?

  4. I can see that they are useful, but every time I see someone wearing one, I immediately assume that person is a twonk. Unfair, I know, but I can’t seem to help it.

  5. I remain torn on the subject. I think I’d love using one, particularly since my smartphone is uncomfortable for shoulder-to-ear maneuvers, but (embarrassed shrug here) everyone I know talks about them as if they are the most. pretentious. thing. ever. I can’t quite get past that.

  6. I think I agree with Ana Maria but I must admit I use mine at work to talk to my mom while I go about my day at the computer. Putting my cell between my ear and shoulder really is a pain in the neck!

  7. I think Bluetooth headsets can be convenient, but, at the same time, I tend to be pretty annoyed with them as well. I think they should be used more for when you’re driving or on a bike i.e. when you can’t use your hands at all. If you’re roaming around buying groceries at Wal-Mart, there really is no reason to use a headset when you can just hold your phone with one hand.

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