The Nokia Luna
For years Nokia have been pushing Bluetooth headsets using identifying letters and numbers, take for example the stylish“BH-806.” Lately Nokia have been using names instead of those cryptic letters and numbers and their Luna (BH-220) is the latest example. The bright colors and a name that that closely reminds us of “Lumia”, leaves no doubt that this is the headset designed for their Lumia smartphones. Luna, meaning “Moon” in Spanish is a Bluetooth headset and comes in 5 colors: Black, Blue, White, Yellow and Red. The Luna isn’t just any Bluetooth headset, but what sets it apart is its small size, triangular shape, it’s rounded charging cradle and NFC pairing technology. As for the wireless side of things, the Luna uses Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR and the Headset Profile 1.1/1.2 and Hands-Free Profile 1.5 with the usual 10 meter or 33 feet wireless range. Also packed in the Bluetooth profiles is Advanced Multipoint, which basically means that you can pair and connect it to two devices at the same time all while switching among the devices to make calls. Missing is the A2DP profile, which means you won’t be listening to Podcasts using this headset (which is something I used to do), unless you use apps such as BTMono for Android. We loved the fact that Nokia included NFC, a feature they pioneered long before it became mainstream. For such a tiny headset, they sure packed a lot features in this headset.
The Luna’s main feature is its cradle, a tiny and bulbous piece of plastic that allows the headset to be charged, paired with other device and of course end and answer calls. The cradle isn’t just its main features, but rather its lifeline, because without it you basically can’t charge it or even do NFC pairing. Lose your cradle and basically you’ll end up with a Luna without the ability to charge it. NFC pairing isn’t as critical as you can manually pair it with Bluetooth devices, bypassing the former feature. We were afraid the NFC pairing was going to be Lumia-only compatible, but we were surprised to see it seamlessly connect with a Samsung Galaxy Note II. We also love the fact that you can turn the Luna on by simply taking it out of the cradle and putting it back in its cradle turns it off. The same action is used to end or answer calls, making the entire process seamless and elegant.
If you do forget the cradle at home, you can turn the headset on, off or even pair it using the multi-function button, but this button is so small and hard to press we bet this isn’t something you’ll be using as often. The cradle is so small it’s safe to say that it’s much easier to just take it along and use the cradle to turn the headset on, off, answer or end calls. Basically put, the cradle replaces the traditional functions of the multifunction button. The button on the Luna is like the front arms of a Tyrannosaurus Rex: still there, but difficult to use and preferably you wouldn’t want to use it. You take the Luna out by pressing the headset down in the cradle and it quickly pops out with a satisfying click, to put it back you again simply push it down which gives that same reassuring click.
The Luna’s feature set and the way it’s used feels futuristic, but what’s truly ahead of anything available today is its design. Basically put, it’s the most beautifully designed Bluetooth headset on the market today and perfectly matches the Lumia line and the Purity headphones. Nokia has been pushing design in a big way and the Luna is another strong offering. The smooth bulbous shape of the cradle very light, is a delight to hold and looks like a study in abstract shapes and modern design. The headset itself is tiny, is triangularly-shaped, unbelievably light and lacking any USB charging port. Instead you get the charging pins that exclusively work with the cradle. The multifunction light and button are really the only features found on the headset. The earpiece itself slightly curves downwards to match the shape of your ear and the ear tips are interchangeable. On each side of the headset there are two small reflex ports to improve the volume and lower frequencies. The triangular shaped just didn’t happen by accident, this shape nicely fits the shape of the outer ear and looks more like a futuristic piece of fashion than a headset. At first I had some issues with correctly putting the headset in my ear, but after a lot of practice I finally got it right: basically, the key in getting it to sit comfortably is to get the end where the microphone is located to point towards your mouth. When you do get used to it, it’s so small and light that it becomes natural, making you even forget it’s even there. Simply put, if you’re looking for design, your search should end right here.
The headset is very easy to use use if you stay away from the multi-function button, but perhaps due its size wireless range isn’t the headsets strongest point. Expect to stay close to your phone if there are many obstacles, walls and other wireless devices. Going through a hall and turning to the left caused the headset to disconnect, something larger headsets can handle. Audio quality is about average and most user should be happy with the results, just don’t expect the same stunning voice quality and performance you’d get from larger and far less stylish headsets like Nokia’s own BH-904. Callers reported a normal to about average sound quality, sometimes complaining of slight noise in the background. In the end, the Luna doesn’t break any new territories when it comes to sound quality and is a bit below average to about below average when it comes to wireless range, but from Bluetooth headsets this small, this is expexted.
The Luna is very futuristic when it comes to its usage and the best designed and most stylish headset on the market today. With an average sound quality and sometimes even below average wireless range, it doesn’t break any new ground, but it should be enough for basic use. If style is important, your search should end right here. But if you value audio quality and range, you’ll probably end up with bigger headset that definitely scoreless when it comes to design. The Luna gets a 7.9 out 10.