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How to pick the best Bluetooth headset

December 13, 2007 12:00:00 AM PST
More and more people are using their cell phones hands-free these days. You may be considering getting a Bluetooth headset yourself, or maybe for someone on your holiday list. They're a lot less expensive than they used to be, and many are a lot smaller.Whether on the job or on the go, it seems that more and more people are wearing Bluetooth headsets these days. Consumer Reports, teaming up with an international consumer group, just sized up 34 Bluetooth headsets. The headsets cost anywhere from $30 to $200.

Consumer Reports' Paul Reynolds says tests show sizing up a Bluetooth headset is key.

"Be sure to get a headset that fits properly. Poor fit can be uncomfortable, and you may not be able to hear very well," said Reynolds.

Most headsets sit on the ear with a clip or hook holding them in place. Some are bulky and can flop around. Others are earbuds, which go in your ear -- but if they don't fit well, they can pop out.

"If you're going to buy an earbud, be sure to get a model that has adapters so that you can ensure a good fit," said Reynolds.

But be aware that there are trade-offs with smaller headsets. For instance, you don't get as much talk time before you run out of power.

With any Bluetooth headset, how easy they are to setup is another consideration. They have to be paired with your cell phone to begin the wireless communication.

"Pairing can be tricky, but there are headsets that have a dedicated pairing button which simplifies the process," said Reynolds.

Consumer Reports top-rated the Jabra BT-500 headset ($35), which has a dedicated pairing button. Tests show this Bluetooth headset is very comfortable, with an impressive 8 1/2 hours of talk time.

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