Bluetooth headsets are commonplace these days — especially since most states have now made it illegal to drive while holding a cell phone. Bluetooth headsets that are both comfortable and sound great, however, are anything but commonplace. More often than not I get a new headset that looks promising, use it for a couple of days, and then discover that there’s something problematic. Perhaps it’s not as comfortable as I’d like, or it doesn’t sit securely enough in my ear when wearing it. Or it may sound great to me, but sound like I’m in a tunnel to the person on the other side of the phone call. Or it could have a great fit and sound good, but the process of pairing the device to the phone is annoyingly cumbersome. As a result, I find myself returning to wired headsets over and over. It’s for that reason that I’m always interested in trying out and reviewing a new headset; the opportunity to review this one was no different.
When I first received this review unit, I was taken by its small size. I’d used a headset that was about the same size a few years ago, and it was notable for its size — and for the poor audio quality it provided. I was interested to see if a few years had made some difference and it would not only have the “wow” factor to its size but also some “I’m impressed” qualities with regard to the sound. I’m happy to report that that was indeed the case.
The Baby-ai Dual mic Bluetooth Headset is a cute Headset. It looks small and unassuming, but don’t let it size fool you, as it employs the latest sound technology available.
What’s In the box
The box is a fairly complete kit. Inside you’ll find the headset itself, large and small ear hooks, a lanyard, various inserts for getting the proper fit, an unusual USB cable (more on that later), a car charger, wall adapter, and a user manual. I love when a company provides all of the accessories necessary to use their product with ease. As you can see, that is certainly the case here.
While the headset isn’t particularly stylish, it is a notable for its size. It’s notable as well, for employing a huge amount of new technology to assure decent voice quality. Among the features noted by the company —
I-Voice Technology– Provides noise suppression, as well as wind and echo cancellation.
Intelligent Noise Sensor— Automatically increases the volume during a conversation when the headset senses you’re in a noisy environment.
Intelligent voice operator— Announces the caller ID is a call comes in.
Voice guided prompts— Makes the process of paring the headset with your phone simple.
Dual microphones— One mic to optimize speech, the other to remove background noise, and the technology to have the two worked together to provide the best call quality possible.
Multipoint Technology— Allows two phones to be connected to the headset at the same time.
Upgradable firmware— Ensures the headset is always as up-to-date as possible.
That’s a pretty impressive list which, when combined, offers what the company claims is “face-to-face conversation quality”.
The list of features is extensive, and the claim of “face-to-face conversation quality” sounded promising. So how did it work?? Quite well, actually.
There’s no question that technology being used in Bluetooth headsets and speakerphones has improved dramatically over the last few years. Like the Jabra speakerphone I reviewed recently, the process of paring the device was incredibly simple and the voice guide helped walk me through it. (It is a far cry from the days when I wanted to throw headsets across the room because I couldn’t get them to pair properly.) I do however, miss the sexy British voice that was used with the Jabra device, but it does indeed work well.
The headset is quite comfortable. It took a few tries to find the insert that fit “just right”. Once I did, it fit well, was comfortable, and felt relatively secure even without using a hook. I would however, encourage the use of a hook if one is planning on wearing a headset while moving around, since it is so light and comfortable that you might forget you’re wearing it and, unknowingly have it drop out of your ear. Not a good thing with a headset this costly.
I love the fact that the device announces a call when it’s coming in. This allows you to choose whether or not you want to take the call without having to look at your phone. It’s both convenient and, if you’re wearing the headset while driving, safer. I also appreciated the fact that this worked even with the crippled Bluetooth that Apple put into the iPhone 3G, since this is not always an assumption iPhone users can make.
A big concern on a headset to small is accessing the controls without having to stop, remove the headset, and actually look at it. From the standpoint I can honestly say iVoice does as good job as I believe anyone could on a headset to small. There are enough controls, but not too many as to be confusing. The controls are laid out in a way that once you get familiar with it, you can feel your way around the headset with little or no problem.
The real test of a headset is the sound quality. I’m glad to say that on this front the Baby ai did quite well, as well. In conversations using my iPhone, the connection was strong and the quality of the calls were good. I was also pleased that it easily paired with my MacBook, and allowed me to use it as a headset for Skype. These calls were also of good quality. While I’m not sure that I will refer to the sound as “face-to-face conversation quality”, I will say that it was as good as any headset I have used, and far better than most.
Bits and Pieces
The fact that the headset is firmware upgradable is a nice addition; I like when manufacturers don’t assume that a $60-$100 purchase is disposable.
The headset is rated at 6 hours talk-time and 200 hours standby.
The USB charger is not a standard mini-USB.
An exceptionally nice design feature is the inclusion of a USB cable that is both rigid and flexible. This means you’re able to plug in the car charger in, and have the headset connected but placed in a specific location that is far easier to reach that might otherwise be. It’s a great solution to a common problem with Bluetooth headsets — the need to charge them up but also grab them and use them when a phone call comes in.
What I Like: Small; Comfortable; Excellent sound quality; Easy to use controls; Good combination of accessories included with headset
What needs improvement: Could companies PLEASE use a standard mini-USB?!?; For more information check out the iVoice website.
The iVoice Baby ai is available from Amazon for $69