Bluetooth Headsets are everywhere. It pretty much impossible to travel around town without seeing someone with a blue flashing light coming out of their head. Sometimes these headsets look just ridiculous – sometimes they look very cool. But, looks aside, what really matters is whether someone can hear you and how well you hear them.
I previously have tested two headsets from Gennum and was most impressed with the audio quality as opposed to the design. They were functional, just not sexy. In steps the nXZEN 6000 – sleek, black, small and sporting the latest noise cancellation technology. How did it do? Read on for my thoughts. There are some pretty exciting headsets on the market these days – and they cost a pretty penny. Some have noise canceling features, some utilize military technology to take the voice sound from vibrations in your jaw and others are just cool to look at.
The rare headset is the one that looks cool, is very functional, works with most phones out there and has cool technology behind it.
The nX6000 is from Gennum – a maker of very high quality headsets. Here is some company information:
About Gennum Corporation Gennum Corporation designs, manufactures and markets industry-leading semiconductors and semiconductor-based products for leading segments of the global video, audio, and data communications markets. The Company’s understanding of the unique needs of its targeted markets allows it to deliver high performance solutions that provide superior value. Gennum serves an international customer base from its head office in Burlington, Canada, and subsidiaries in Japan and the United Kingdom. The Company has design centers in Burlington and Ottawa, Canada, and in the United Kingdom.
First, let’s get the official line from the Gennum corporation and then we will move on to the review:
Own the space around you with the nX6000(tm)
equipped with superior noise cancellation
Gennum’s nX6000(tm) is the ideal solution for handsfree mobile communications in all life’s environments. From the car to busy streets, sporting events to crowded malls, factory floors to the airport, Gennum’s Noise Cancellation technology ensures your communications won’t be impacted by where you are. A dual microphone array isolates your voice, and Gennum’s patented FRONTWAVE(r) Extreme acoustic processing enables you to hear your caller clearly and be heard clearly. Your communications deserve the power and performance of the nX6000.
The headset includes Gennum’s patented FRONTWAVE ExtremeTM noise cancellation algorithm, running on Gennum’s custom Digital Signal Processor (DSP), which processes more than 120 million instructions per second (MIPS). FRONTWAVE ExtremeTM is now combined with Digital Voice Isolation, a dual microphone array that isolates the user’s voice from ambient noise so callers can hear each other clearly even in the loudest environments. The combination of these two technologies creates a hyper-directional near field pick-up beam that targets the speaker’s voice and eliminates background noise. The technology works to cancel the complex noise found in extremely loud environments, such as factories, while retaining natural voice inflections.
Gennum’s powerful DSP performance FRONTWAVE(r) Extreme noise cancellation Digital Voice Isolation with dual-mic pickup Amplified outgoing voice and incoming audio Ultralight comfortable and secure fit with either ear Removable ear loop, compatible with eyeglasses Fully supported hands-free Bluetooth profiles Quick power-up and auto-connect to handset Low battery indicator/signal Multi-device Bluetooth pairing
Weight 10.9 grams, Length 37 mm, Height 26 mm
120 MIPS DSP performance
Talk time up to 6 hours
Standard mini-B USB charge port
Lithium Ion rechargeable battery
On to my test results:
The nX6000 is sort of a ‘minimalist’ kind of design – which I very much appreciate. There is no plethora of buttons to push – a multi-function button on the top, two volume buttons on top and bottom towards the back and that’s all you have to worry about.
The nX6000 has moved to a mini-USB charging port which is very appreciated. They do include both an AC charger and a USB to mini-USB cable for the PC. One of the reasons that Gennum went with this design was so that users can download updates and new features right from the nXZEN website.
Around the mini-USB port is a multi colored LED indicator which flashes Blue when charged and operational and sort of pink when in need of a charge and red when charging. This LED also alternates colors when in Pairing mode – a nice feature not found on previous nXZEN headsets.
There are two ear loops and three different size ear buds so the users can find the optimum comfort – even if they wear glasses.
The nX6000 uses a dual microphone array and utilizes their proprietary ‘Frontwave’ noise reduction technology. The idea being that a ‘cocoon of quality’ as they call it, is created around your voice.
Set up and Ease of Use:
The nX6000 could not be easier to set up and Pair with your phone. Once charged, just tap the multi function button and the headset automatically goes into pairing mode. Have your phone find it, put in the secret code 0000 and you are connected.
The multi-function button controls pretty much everything you might want to do (hence the name, multi-function.) Tap it to initiate voice dialing (if your phone supports it,) press it to redial the last number, use it to initiate call waiting – pretty much standard stuff.
You can Pair the nX6000 with up to three phones (who does this, you ask – well, I do) and easily connect to the one you wish to use. This was certainly easiest when using Windows Smartphone OS.
Lots of features and a sleek design are nice – but if your caller can’t hear you or if you can’t hear them – what good is the headset? Happily, call quality on the nX6000 was among the best I have experienced. Callers were very clear on my end and this headset can be very loud – I actually had to turn the volume down several times.
The DSP (Digital Signal Processor) on on the nX6000 functions at 120 MIPS (million instructions per second) which is almost two times more than the competition (so says the nX6000 literature.)
Most importantly, people I called could not tell I was on a headset – which is the ultimate compliment to a bluetooth headset manufacturer. I tried talking in noisy cars, on the street and with music playing in the background. The DSP technology seemed to really highlight my voice as callers were either unaware or only minimally heard the additional noise.
From my end, calls were clear and crisp with at times, a very slight audible hiss. I have found that most headsets with DSP have a slight hiss in the headset. It was slight and it was in no way interfering in my being able to hear those I was calling.
The nX6000 is one of the smaller headsets on the market. There were two different ear loops to try and three ear bud attachments. I found the smallest ear bud to be the best size for me – but there was not enough ‘padding’ to keep me from feeling the hard plastic underneath. The next sized ear bud was more comfortable, but didn’t sit so deep in my ear. The plastic on the ear buds was fairly flimsy and thin – I would have liked a more ‘form fitting’ bud – but that is being pretty picky.
The Gennum nX6000 is definitely one of the best Bluetooth Headsets available today. The sophisticated DSP technology makes for clear calls with the elimination of virtually all background noise. It is small, but very well built and appears to be quite durable. There are several options to replace the ear bud and ear hook – you should be able to find a comfortable configuration. Battery life seemed pretty good – two to three days of moderate use before needing a charge.
Final Grade: A
Pros: Great size, great build quality, excellent job at utilizing DSP technology, clear calls
Cons: Somewhat pricey, initially tricky to find comfortable combination of ear bud and ear loop
While the nX6000 isn’t showing up on the shelves or their on line retailers just yet – expect it very soon on the shelves for somewhere in the $120-$140.00 range.