Bluetooth headsets have become smarter

by Haadi Bakar
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Making and answering calls are no longer primarily how we use our smart- phones today. We interact with our smartphone screens more than pressing it against our ears.

And as today’s phones are getting bigger in size (thanks to Galaxy Note), holding the big slab on one’s face to make voice calls feels ridiculous,
so going handsfree when you make or receive phone calls may be more appealing for users of humongous phone.

Bluetooth headsets have always been the best solution to our handsfree calling needs, and they’ve been around ever since Bluetooth technology first entered the market.

With all the hype about smartwatches, smartwrists and smartglasses, we often forget that the Bluetooth headset is one of the earliest forms of wearable tech before the term became popular.

They’re often much better than the cheap earphones bundled with your smartphones, as you don’t have to worry about messy cables getting in your way. Wireless means more freedom and clutter-free.

They also allow us to multitask. Now that our smartphones have become our pocket computers, having a wireless headset means you no longer have to tell the person on the other end to “hang on” while you fumble through your phone to retrieve information or take notes.

Ultimately, it’s the best peripheral to help keep your hands on the wheel while driving.

But Bluetooth headsets have become out of fashion lately, it’s sad especially in a nation where everyone drives instead of taking public transport. It’s either we’re turned off by the cumbersome pairing process, or tired of looking like you’re working a call centre.

The Bluetooth headsets have vastly improved over the years, and the best ones out there are often overlooked.

Priced between $150 and $200, they boast new technologies that make them even smarter and more useful than before, from noise cancellation and voice commands to capacitive sensors.

This year, we get to see the release of even better Bluetooth headsets to go with our sleek smartphones, all utilising the energy efficient and smarter Bluetooth 4.0 (we’ve surely come so far since 1994).

The Voyager Edge from Plantronics. Image courtesy of Plantronics.

One of the latest headsets to come out is the Voyager Edge by Plantronics, packing plenty of smart capabilities in a sleek profile.

Plantronics is arguably one of the popular premium Bluetooth headset makers in the market, and they have been making really good quality headsets for today’s generation of smartphones such as the Voyager Legend and Voyager PRO UC.

The new Voyager Edge further refines the smart features in Plantronic’s existing headsets over the recent years.

The Voyager Edge is equipped with three micro- phones on its boom mic as well as noise-cancellation to get rid of background sounds.

It also has voice commands that handles incoming calls by spoken instruction; just say “answer” to accept the call or “ignore” to reject it. Like a personal assistant, the device announces callers by name, reads out battery and connection status.

The Voyager Edge is also fitted with dual capacitive sensors that allow the headset to automatically answer incoming calls when you put it in your ear, or switch between phone or headset depending on whether you’re wearing it or not.

Near-field communications (NFC) is the newest addition to Plantronic’s new headset, which will be useful for quick pairing with NFC-equipped smartphones.

A companion app for iOS and Android is also available that allows for customisation of the headset’s settings as well as a feature to track it down in case you lose it.

The headset gives you a week of standby time and six hours of talk time. Furthermore, it comes with a portable charging case that functions as a power bank, giving the headset additional 16 hours of talk time.

The Voyager Edge will go on sale in April and will come in a choice of Carbon Black, Slate Grey and Glacial White.

If you plan to go handsfree and revisit the world of Bluetooth headsets, Plantronics’ range of products are worth checking out.

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