Jim Bray on Cardo's S-800 cellphone headset
- November 17, 2008 12:23 PM |
- By Michael Hlinka
Money Talks is a daily business column from CBC radio.
By Jim Bray, writer of the Technofile.com website in Calgary
You've probably noticed the proliferation of Bluetooth wireless telephone adapters that fit right over a person's ear. I've always thought they looked silly, making you look like a zombie controlled remotely via the ear unit. They remind me of a Dr. Who episode from a couple of years back where the Cybermen were controlling the human population in mostly the same way.
So as much as I'm a tech kinda guy, the curmudgeon - and the paranoid - in me has a built in aversion to such devices. And that's before I remember how silly people look walking down the street apparently talking to themselves.
Then Cardo sent me one of their Bluetooth cell phone adapters to test, and now I like the concept so much I'm probably as annoying as a reformed cigarette smoker - except now it's me who looks silly walking down the street talking to myself, though at least now there's actually someone at the other end....
The Cardo S-800 is so small and light I sometimes forget I'm wearing it, and sometimes I find the volume seems to creep up to distortion levels - forcing me to keep turning it down - but I'm hooked.
I can't imagine wearing it all the time (I still prefer using my cellphone in the traditional manner), but this is a wonderful way to use a phone if you're in a moving vehicle and Bluetooth isn't built right into the car. It lets you keep both hands on the wheel, or one on the wheel and one on the gearshift if you're blessed with a stick shift.
Cardo says the S-800 comes with noise suppression (which might explain why I can never hear my kids through the unit), eight hours of talk time, and hot dialing (where you can store and speed-dial three phone numbers right from the headset). And though I haven't tried it yet, the company says the earpiece interfaces with your phone's voice activation, can be used with two different mobile phones, has a headset location buzzer for those times you forget where you left it, and a battery status and missed call indicator.
The audio quality isn't really high fidelity, despite what the company says, but it's more than adequate. My biggest complaint is about a really tiny and hard-to-access power button - and the fact that people keep looking at me funnier than usual, or make strange comments such as "hey, you've got something growing out of your ear!"
Since this is the first such unit I've tried, I have no idea how it stacks up against the competition, but for about $100 I like it a lot. It could be a relatively affordable lifesaver if you're prone to prattling on the phone while in your car.
I'm Jim Bray, phoning it in from Calgary.
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