TL;DR: These Rock. sound great, work well… 5 Stars
A while back I wrote a review of the Kanex AirBlue, and gave it the thumbs up for its sound quality and easy of use. As I mentioned I was burned by Best Buy’s in-house Rocketfish Bluetooth headset, and didn’t want to spend north of $60 for another headset that ended up in the junk drawer. Well, I always keep an eye out for products, new or old that fit the bill: I wanted an (1) easy to connect Bluetooth Headset that had (2) good stereo audio quality for music and a (3) a mic for phone calls where (4) people could hear me clearly on the other end. The Rocketfish only fit the second and third criteria, and I had been using the AirBlue since the Rocketfish broke after 3 or 4 months.
I saw the NoiseHush NS 400 on sale at NewEgg for $35 — well under my $50 limit for a BT headset — about a month and a half ago. I don’t think I should have to pay much more for wireless headset than a tethered headset of the same audio quality. So, given I think decent quality can be found for around $25, if I add the battery, buttons and bluetooth transceiver, it should be less than $45. In case you are wondering, the NoiseHush NS400 meets or exceeds my criteria for what a bluetooth headset should be.
Bluetooth’s Strangled Promise
When Bluetooth was first introduced, it promised a world of wireless freedom. We, the computing public, were told that Bluetooth would be in everything and replace USB and other connections for low-speed data transfers and other light bandwidth demands. RS 232 connections would fade—replaced by fast, flexible BT connections. Home users would benefit from wireless printing, fast connections and more freedom.
But the computing and mobile phone public has been slow to adopt the technology thanks to the high prices compared to wired equivalents and the added complexity of pairing and connecting devices. Many people have mobile phones but only a small fraction is technically competent enough to pair and use bluetooth. Thus, high prices are as much a reflection of the niche demand as they are device manufacturers pricing devices based on perceived value of the technology. The devices themselves cost little to manufacture, but a lot to develop the software and hardware. This price premium for an “unproven killer technology” has resulted in strangling adoption rates. Who wants to pay $200 for a stereo headset or $99 for a mono-earpiece that delivers unknown benefits when a wired headsets costs only $20? Luckily, the standard has marched on to version 4.0, which offers higher throughput and lower power consumption. Finally, Bluetooth 2.0 A2DP & HFP device prices are coming down to a level that is more in line with the basic functionality of what they do.
Pairing has also been made simpler, in hopes that people will actually use that little “B” instead of bluetooth circuits — which are usually on by default — eating up battery life, and exposing a person to snooping and bluejacking.
I myself, knew the benefits or going wireless decades ago when I got an Amateur Radio License, long before mobile phones went digital. I was just waiting for the prices to come down to a point where I could justify ridding myself of wires. That point finally arrived about 2 years ago, when I found a bluetooth earpiece for less than $70.