My desk was overflowing with junk and there was a headset cord travelling right through the middle of it all, during a voice call to my friend in South Australia I moved my head slightly and half of the junk went on the floor – it wasn’t fun. The next topic of conversation was “are there Bluetooth headsets with a microphone?” and there is. The X5 Bluetooth Stereo Headset was the answer, but more so, it comes with a lot more features than expected.
The X5 is not only a headset, but a microphone and the package includes an Audio Streamer which lets you stream music from any device such as an MP3 player, a CD player, Computer or other device supporting the usual 3.5mm Headphone jack to your headset. But that is not all, it operates in stereo. You may think to yourself ‘so what – stereo’ this however makes all the difference, this headset supports what is called A2DP which is cd quality, stereo audio, over a Bluetooth connection and it definitely is noticeable.Physically the headset is in a ‘street’ style, with the headband passing over the back of the head and speakers hooking over the ears. The package comes with 2 USB cords and an AC adapter which can all be used to charge the headset and audio streamer (when using it on my computer, I also plug in the USB keeping it at a constant charge). The Audio Streamer also has a small magnet on its base which makes it easily stick to the side of your computer keeping things neat.
Along with the audio streamer function it can be used as a normal headset, just without wires! The headset supports up to 10 memory pairs so moving from my PDA to my phone is a breeze. Battery life is greater than 12 hours constant streaming and greater than 200 hours standby. The broadcasting range is specified on the BlueAnt website at 10m in open space however I have used it at 10m with several walls between me and the audio streamer providing me the freedom to listen to music on my computer and answer plus talk on any calls I may get on Skype or similar. The MFB (Multi-Function Button), sometimes in combinations with the other buttons (including volume up and down buttons), allows you to easily perform functions such as play, pause, stop, next song, previous song and replay last song in stereo mode while in voice mode you can answer call, hang-up/reject call and redial the last number.
One downside of the headset is that during voice mode (when the microphone is active) the sound quality is decreased as it is required to sacrifice the stereo capability to accommodate for the microphone stream. This however is only during microphone use (voice mode) which is easily changed back to stereo mode after a call with a single press of a button on the headset. The audio streamer would also be more useful if it acted as a Bluetooth radio/dongle when connected via the USB which is the only other let down.
I can recommend this headset to those who are looking for a wireless headset and microphone solution or just wireless audio streaming around the house or while riding your bike. BlueAnt integrate brilliant functionality that is definitely worth the $129 (AUD) that I paid for it at Dick Smith Electronics (even though it is quoted at $200 AUD on the BlueAnt website).