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Find the best way to be hands-free

October 30, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Wireless headsets are especially important in California, where drivers are required to use hands-free devices. So which Bluetooth headsets work the best?Consumer Reports tested dozens of the newest Bluetooth headsets, which cost anywhere from $30 to more than $100, and come in many different shapes and sizes. The smaller ones tend to be the most expensive, costing $100 or more.

Testers found big differences in talk time.

"Some lasted more than 10 hours. Others quit in less than four hours," said Mike Gikas from Consumer Reports.

An unusual headset from Iqua was also tested. The Iqua headset runs on solar power and charges in any kind of light. However, it wasn't the easiest headset to use.

Consumer Reports also tested stereo headsets. This type of headset is not for driving, but they're good for cell phones with built-in music players. With this type of headset, music stops playing whenever a call comes in.

A Sony Ericsson headset, priced at $135, is the top-rated stereo headset. It has multipoint pairing, which is the easiest way to connect your headset to whatever device you're using.

Two other mono headsets, priced at $60 each, are also among the top-rated. The Jabra BT-5020 has multipoint pairing. The Motorola H-680 comes with a small case that doubles as a charging base.

Consumer Reports says another handy feature to have with a Bluetooth headset is "call hold." It lets you put the caller on hold without breaking off the conversation. All the headsets Consumer Reports recommended have that feature.

More information from Consumer Reports on buying Bluetooth headsets


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