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Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars A good choice headset, as long as you don't expect miracles, 11 July 2013
This review is from: Bose ® Bluetooth Headset Series 2 (Right) (discontinued by manufacturer) (Accessory)
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What do you look for in a Bluetooth headset? Looks? Comfort? Features? Ease of use? Call quality? Or maybe a little of each? My guess is that all are important, in varying proportions, to any buyer of a headset, and I was expecting good things from this headset, coming from a manufacturer as respected as Bose.

Looks - 5
My preference has always been for 'behind the ear' Bluetooth headsets as these are less obvious than 'over the ear' ones like the Bose and nobody looks that great with a great big bug stuck to the front of their ear. Nevertheless, the Bose has to be one of the best looking headsets available. It's small(ish), angular, futuristic, and the silver 'Bose' logo on the side sets it off brilliantly and gives it a touch of class that a lot of other headsets lack. The only thing I don't like about it is that is sticks out a bit so it isn't that unobtrusive.

Comfort - 3
Rather than an 'over-ear' hook, the Bose uses an unusual 'in-ear' silicone widget to keep it attached to you. You insert the headset into your ear and twist so that this widget hooks into the inner recess of your ear. It's a nice idea and the design undoubtedly helps to keep ambient noise out, but I didn't find it to be particularly practical, as neither of the supplied widgets fitted me that brilliantly. Doing anything physical (cycling, for example) made the Bose jump around and gave me the feeling that it could fall out at any time. And, unlike some of the other reviewers, I didn't find the Bose to be particularly comfortable to wear; at first, after 45 minutes or so, I got the same kind of headache that I get when I've been wearing tight-fitting sunglasses for a length of time. This eased as I began to use the Bose more often and for longer but I still don't find wearing it to be a lovely experience.

Features - 4
The Bose packs in all the features that we've come to expect from Bluetooth headsets, including the ability to make and reject calls (both with your phone's keypad and through voice control), recall the last number dialled, put calls on hold and switch between them. An LED on the side shows Bluetooth connection status and another shows battery life indication - green for good, amber for not so good and red for low. The Bose is also A2DP-compliant so you can use it to listen to music or podcasts from your media player or to instructions from your sat-nav device, provided that it also supports the A2DP standard, of course. It comes with a small fabric zipped case for those times when you need to keep it somewhere a little safer, and a mains adaptor with detachable USB cable for charging. Due to its smaller size the battery life isn't as good as some, with a stated talk time of 4.5 hours, but from my testing this figure at least seems accurate and not exaggerated.

Ease of use - 4
Pairing the Bose with a mobile is as simple as turning it on at the same time as enabling the Bluetooth on your mobile and waiting for them to connect. You don't have to hold any buttons down to enter discovery mode as the headset does this automatically. The manual is fairly concise but it gives you all the information you'll need to use the headset without bombarding you with useless trivia. The Bose has four buttons placed on the top and bottom, to control power, volume and calling. The 'call' button handles most of the features through a series of button presses and holds, so a read-through of the manual is beneficial if you want to get the most out of it. Once you've mastered how many button presses and/or holds you need to do what you want it becomes intuitive enough, and the buttons are, for the most part, easy enough to find while hands-free. The one caveat is that the 'call' and 'volume up' buttons are close together and I did at first reject calls when I was trying to increase the volume - setting your preferred volume while the headset is out of your ear is a good idea.

Call quality - 4
The quality of calls through the Bose is about as good as you're going to get from a mono headset, that is to say perfectly serviceable without being stand-out amazing. The headset doesn't have the noise-cancelling tech that Bose is famous for, but it does have an external microphone that monitors ambient noise to help separate it from your own voice and to increase or decrease the volume of the call depending on the environment you're in. One the one hand this system, coupled with the snug fit of the earpiece, made it easy for me to hear my callers. On the other hand, one caller that I rang in windy conditions said my voice wasn't very clear to them. Headsets such as these, where the microphone is so far away from the user's mouth, are always going to have some compromises and - fancy tech notwithstanding - this would seem to be it with the Bose.

Overall - 4
I've had a few Bluetooth headsets in my time - some good and some bad - and the Bose definitely fits into the upper leagues. The funny in-ear silicone widget thing doesn't feel as secure as a proper over-ear hook and the call quality (at least as far as your callers are concerned) is a little compromised, but that's to be expected with pretty much any headset like this. It's a good-looking thing that has become my headset of choice, but I have to admit that this is at least partly due to the added kudos of having something stuck to my head with the word 'Bose' written on the side rather than call quality or features.
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