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Jabra BT200 (Freespeak) Bluetooth headset review

Posted on 12-Jul-2003 18:52 by M Freitas | Filed under: Reviews

Jabra BT200 (Freespeak) Bluetooth headset review
When I first saw the Jabra BT200 Bluetooth headset advertised on a magazine here in New Zealand I was taken by surprise. I haven't heard any rumours of this product coming to our market, but it was a great surprise. I immediately contacted the New Zealand distributors, Pudney & Lee, asking for a review unit, and they were very helpful in arranging one for our site.

The Jabra BT200 Bluetooth headset looks very futuristic. Unlike other Bluetooth headsets, it sits behind the user's ear, rather than being across the user's face. It's a little hard to fit it the first couple of times, because of this difference. But once used to it, it can be place in position very quickly, with a simple gesture. It's very comfortable to wear, as a result of the flexible material used in its body and the very light weight: only 23 grams.

The headset actually sends the sound inside the user's ear, thanks to a ear plug built with a soft gel-like material. The ear plug is washable, and can be replaced (some spare ones come in the box).

The first charge takes around two hours, and gives the user up to 3 hours talk time, or 96 hours stand by. The charger also doubles as a holder. A clip (supplied with the headset) can be attached to it, allowing the user to carry the headset hanging from the belt or other piece of clothing.

The controls are very easy to use, not much different from other headsets I've used in the past. It includes an on-off button also used to place the device in discoverable mode and the answer button.

The newer units of the Jabra BT200 implement both the Headset and the new (used on Nokia and Siemens mobile phones) Handsfree Bluetooth profiles. You just have to be careful when buying it because only new devices will have this feature. The one I received does not have the Handsfree profile. I tested it with my Sony Ericsson mobile phones and it worked flawlessly. Of course it didn't work at all with my Nokia 3650. When buying your Jabra, make sure the box shows a blue sticker confirming compatibility with Nokia mobile phones.

Although the Jabra website suggests the user to contact the support service, receiving support from Jabra on how to update the firmware of this device was less than a good experience. I've sent two e-mails to their support centre using the website forms, and did not receive a reply to my queries.

When asked about this, a Jabra PR person replied with a canned message, with the strange suggestion to replace the mobile phone with Cingular. Obviously this person did not understand my question and did not read my e-mail to find out I'm not in USA.

UPDATE: Since then I've received an e-mail from their support people promissing to arrange a replacement, and apologising for the delay in answering my questions. Truth be told, I got a contact back and the promisse that something will improve.

The support issue aside, these devices work very well, and the manual is very well written with everything the user needs to know to use the product. I definitely like it and am thinking of using this instead of my previous Ericsson HBH-20.