Hands-Free Communication

Headsets and headphones were developed to allow people to have private access to music, video games, telephones, and other electronic devices. Telephone headsets have been used in call and reservations centers for many years. Using a headset, be it wireless or corded, allows one to talk to customers on the telephone and at the same time use their computer, catalogs, or other media easily and effectively, thereby serving their customer in a more efficient manner. Most headsets today use bluetooth technology. They come in three basic styles: over the ear, behind the ear, and ear buds. With the advent of the cell phone, many find a wireless headset to have more use than just as a business application. Drivers may safely talk on their cell phones using a wireless headset. Busy moms and housewives can take care of their household duties and still talk on the phone. Call and reservation centers still use headsets, and most all business people find that using a headset to carry on telephone conversations will allow them to converse while tending to other duties or helping their clients. While headsets and headphones have many uses, this article will focus on use with telephones and cell phones.

What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth technology provides a way for different devices to communicate with each other using a short-range radio frequency. With this technology, cell phones can talk to headsets, PC's can talk to printers, etc. This technology is present in the most popular headsets and headphones today. Before you can use a bluetooth headset, your phone and your headset must be compatable with each other, or any other device you wish to use. If your cell phone isn't compatible, there are adapters available which will allow you to use a bluetooth headset with your cell phone.

Prices, Styles, and Other Information

There are literally hundreds of headsets you can consider. We can only cover a few of them here. A good place to check for more information is at C/Net Reviews. They review headsets based on price, manufacturer, form factor/style, other features, compatible cell phones, and more.

By Price

Under $30

Jabra BT350 can be found for as low as $20. Over the ear style, volume control, answer/end button, and acceptable performance level.
Cardo Scala 600 is priced as low as $29. Lightweight, great sound quality, built-in microphone, over the ear style, answer/end button.
Plantronics makes a couple of models under $30, including the M2500 and Explorer 320. Both received good reviews from C/Net.


Motorola H700 gets good reviews from C/Net for size, sound quality, and other features. Prices start at $39.
Samsung WEP200 is an ear bud style, features good sound quality as well as a built-in microphone,voice dialing, call waiting & call rejecting.


You'll find more models to choose from in this price range. Plantronic's Discovery 655 seems a good choice, costing from $64 and up, but with good sound quality, design and features. Priced at $54, the Nokia BH 200 offers good sound quality and is easy to use.

If money is no object, Plantronics makes 3 models for over $200, but you will undoubtedly find good quality for less money.

By Style

There are three basic styles of headsets: Over the ear, ear buds, or behind the neck styles. Over the ear is the most popular, and there are more choices with this style or form of headset. If you like the ear bud style, Sony Ericsson, Plantronics, Samsung and Nextlink all offer this style. Top rating-getters seem to be the Nextlink Bluespoon AX, Plantronics Discovery 640 & 655 models, and Sony-Ericsson's HBH-DS970. Most features include a built-in microphone, volume controls and mute buttons. Most behind the neck styles received poor ratings for telephone use, but were adequate for music.

Parting thoughts

You'll find many styles and price ranges to choose from when you are shopping for your headset. If you are already accustomed to using headsets with your music media, you'll be more familiar with the styles and know what you will be comfortable using. If you're not familiar with headsets for other uses, consider a visit to your local electronics superstore where you can talk to knowledgeable sales people and perhaps try out the headset styles before buying. If you're going to use headsets frequently, it's important to be comfortable with what you choose to use.

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