Lately, I have been spending a lot of time testing and writing about Bluetooth headsets. As this short-range wireless protocol begins to take hold, the market is being inundated with new models.
Mr Handsfree – a Belgian company, is quickly becoming a leader in the Bluetooth market. Read on and see if one of these headsets is right for you. Mr. Handsfree, with headquarters in Belgium, has become market leader in several European countries, offering a wide range of handsfree solutions from plug and drive, universal carkits, to Bluetooth(r) applications, headsets and built-in carkits.
I have reviewed two of their headsets previously – each earned high marks. These two headset are really variations on a theme – so I am including them together in this review.
The two headsets tested are the Blue Chameleon and the Blue Bird. The Blue Chameleon offers 50 different face plates that the user can attach for a ‘custom’ look and the Blue Bird is a very sleek looking Black headset.
Mr. Handsfree Blue Chameleon
Here are the official specs from the website:
Bluetooth(r) wireless headset * 50 looks included * 8 hours talk time * 200 hours standby time * Bluetooth(r) V1.2 * Operating range: 10 meters * Excellent sound quality * Multi-pairing: up to 8 devices * Rechargeable battery (Travel charger included) * Digital volume control * Voice dialing * Blue LED indication
The Blue Chameleon is a small, in-ear headset with an optional ear loop for security. I found the ear loop to be a bit thick for me because of the fact that I wear glasses.
The Blue Chameleon is a nice, small size with a multi-function button in the center of the faceplate. There are volume up and volume down buttons on the top and bottom of the headset.
Like most headsets these days, the buttons have multiple functions depending on what the user is doing and what kind of phone you use.
What is unique about the Blue Chameleon design is that the faceplate is detacheable and there are 50 different inserts (all included) that you can choose from to personalize the headset.
Ease of use:
I paired the Blue Chameleon with both my Treo and my Motorola Q. Pairing was very easy and quick. Just hold the MF button for three seconds, search for the headset on your phone and put in the 0000 passcode. Once connected, calls went immediately to the headset.
With the ‘Q’ – one push of the MF button brings up the voice activation software and voice dialing was a breeze. Sadly, as we know, this feature is not supported on the Treo.
The sound quality of the Blue Chameleon was excellent. I found the volume of the headset to be a little lower than others I have tested. Even at full volume – it was softer than say the Blue Ant x3 I recently tested.
Most importantly, folks on the other end heard me just fine and I could hear them clearly. Mr Handsdfree headsets, as a rule, seem to work better with the Treo than many other headsets which is something for Treo owners to think about.
The mr Handsfree Blue Chameleon is a fine headset. It is very small and light. It had excellent battery life and call quality was very good on both ends. I wish it was a little louder and I wish that a more form fit Ear gel or ear bud were included.
The versatility of the various faceplates is a very nice touch.
Final Grade: A-
Pros: Nice, small size, good call quality, very easy to use
Cons: Volume is a little low, no noise cancellation feature
I found the Blue Chameleon online for $49.95
Mr Handsfree Blue Bird
The Mr Handsfree Blue Bird is a slightly older model than the Blue Chameleon but the vital statistics are nearly identical:
Bluetooth(r) wireless headset * Super slim size / Lightweight * 8 hours talk time * 200 hours standby time * Bluetooth(r) V1.2 * Operating range: 10 meters * Excellent sound quality * Multi-pairing: up to 2 devices * Rechargeable battery (Travel charger included) * Digital volume control * Voice dialing * LED indication
The biggest difference between the Blue Bird and the Blue Chameleon is in its design. The Blue Bird is ‘sleeker’ than the Blue Chameleon. There are no changeable face plates, however – it is only offered in a matte black finish.
Personally, I prefer the design of the Blue Bird. It seems lighter, narrower and was a little more comfortable for me.
One of the unique features of the Blue Bird is that it has no third multi-function button. In fact, there are only two buttons located next to each other on the top (for right ear users) or the bottom (for left ear users) of the headset.
The buttons have nice pictures for volume up, volume down, pairing, power, etc. located under the button.
So, one button is used for turning it on and off, pairing (a long hold) and voice dialing. If it is easier to only remember what two buttons do instead of three – this will be a much appreciated feature.
Two LED’s are on the face of the headset indicating charging or use of the headset.
The Blue Bird can be word with or without the included ear loop – which was much more comfortable than the Blue Chameleon and more comfortable than just about any ear loop I have used. Ease of Use:
Like the Blue Chameleon, the Blue Bird was a snap to pair and use. Just hold the pairing, voice command, volume up and power button – search on the phone and put in the 0000 code.
I had the same issue with volume on the Blue Bird as I did with the Blue Chameleon – it just was lower than I would have liked.
The Bird was very comfortable – more so than the Blue Chameleon – perhaps due to the slimmer size and shape and the ear loop.
The sound quality was almost identical to the Blue Chameleon. Calls were very clear – on both the Treo and the ‘Q’ and I was easily heard on the other end. With no digital signal processor to filter out noise (is in much more expensive headsets) it was sometimes a challenge to hear outdoors or in the car.
Overall, the sound quality was above average for Bluetooth headsets.
I really like the Blue Bird. It didn’t have the ‘personality’ of the Blue Chameleon, but it had a very cool and sleek design. It is definitely less ‘geeky’ looking than most headsets. I have the same issues with the volume being a little low – but overall it is an excellent headset.
I actually prefer less buttons to more – so the two button approach worked well for me.
Final Grade: A-
Pros: Nice size and shape, good voice quality, easy two button design
Cons: Volume was a bit low – do DSP filtering
I found the Blue Bird online for $59.95. Both the Blue Bird and the Blue Chameleon can be found at various online retailers. Information on both can be found at www.mrhandsfree.com