Uber-Geeky Toy for Traveling Uber-Geeks

I just got a Bluetooth headset.

Ho-hum, you say. Everyone has one of those.

Technically, that's true, but I seriously doubt that your “resistance is futile” Borg-wannabe earpiece can beat mine for sheer geekiness.  Also, mine (the BlueParrot B250-XT) actually works.

This is hugely popular with over-the-road truck drivers. Why not with RVers?

Modern technology has become so good that we assume the “just works” part.  I get into my car, turn the key, and it starts.  No flooded carbs, no pumping the gas pedal — it just works.  I plug my Nexus 4 phone into my laptop and a “Nexus 4” icon shows up on my desktop.  It just works.

ys-headset

Me. Modeling the headset.

However, we've also become used to advertising hyperbole, where you will be told that it not “just works,” but your cat won't hork up hairballs during dinner and your dog won't slobber in your slippers if you buy this amazing technology.

My headset was advertised as “noise canceling,” which in theory means that no matter what, only your voice comes through.  I have it paired with my phone, and tried it a couple of times, and it worked pretty well.  I made a few phone calls while driving.  I even recorded my “Off the Beaten Path” podcast for Roadtreking on it.  Everything was fine.  So I decided to put it to a real test.

My kids swim.  Both competitively, and my son, very competitively.  As in, top three finish, and usually competes for first place.  This is high school, so there are a lot of very, very noisy fans cheering on the swimmers.  Picture a popular high school football game with its hundreds of cheering fans and blaring PA announcer.  Pretty loud, eh?

Now enclose those same fans in a large concrete and steel box, with the acoustic properties of a megaphone.  The noise is deafening.  This was my testing ground.

I called my wife's phone and left a message.  She thought I had left the meet.  There was no background noise at all.  None.  Zippo.  I could have been standing in a grass field with flittering butterflies quiet.  This thing is amazing.

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Not me. But the headset makes me feel like this.

Still, that doesn't move it into the uber-geeky category.  It must also look the part, and this headset does. It has a big earpiece and a microphone that snakes down your cheek.   Makes me feel like a fitness instructor — not surprising since I was one for years, and I'm used to having a mic strapped to my head.

In spite of its bulk and somewhat ridiculous looks, it's pretty comfortable.  I can see wearing this with no problems on a long drive.

The headset remembers up to eight devices, so it will automatically pair itself with the closest device.  Pretty slick.  Turn on Bluetooth on my phone, and it connects.  Turn on Bluetooth on my laptop, and it connects.  No pairing, no messing about with cables, it just automagically appears.

It showed up on my Windows 7 install, my linux Ubuntu install, and my Android device without any problems.  (Not quite – I had to do some housekeeping to clean up after a failed attempt to get a competitor's device working.  Once I removed all the cruft, this headset just showed up and worked flawlessly.)

If you like to talk while you travel, either on the phone or to record your impressions, consider the BlueParrot B250-XT, made by VXi.




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  • Sean Cornish

    Yup. I have the same model and use it in a noisy office every single day. It’s also great in airports, and like a natatorium, that says a lot.

  • Curious as to how long the battery lasts? Does it take AA or AA batteries or need to be plugged in for recharging?

    • cptdondo

      It has a wall wart charger as well as a car charger. I would have preferred one of those universal phone USB charger plugs, not a one-off 9V pin. That’s its one failing.

      Supposedly it has a 20hr standby time. I’ve not put it to that test yet.

  • Gary Hennes

    Have you tried changing that battery yet? I’ve heard it has soldered connections and next to impossible to get at.