The Jury Talks Back


Tech suggestions

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 10:57 pm

I recently got a new phone (and phone number).  I went with the nicely-priced Samsung Omnia from Verizon, and thus far am very happy with it.  I added an Otterbox case, which includes a screen-protector, and the belt clip is quite nice (I hate having some nubbin that slots into a belt clip on the back of my phones, so a tray-style clip is perfect).

My only issue us that I don’t have a good bluetooth headset.  I have tried several over the past couple of years, but I ended up hating each one.  They just don’t ever seem to fit well, or they had shitty sound.

I am asking for suggestions, and in addition I’d like for you to defend your suggestion with why you like it, and list a couple of cons along with the pro’s.  I’ll likely try to find a wireless place in the next week or two that has some for me to try on.


  1. I highly recommend any model from Plantronics, a U.S. based manufacturer located in Santa Cruz, CA. They are best known for providing the equipment that allowed the voice transmission from the Apollo moon landing. As for a particular model, it really depends what you’re looking for…

    The Discovery 975 model is an ear-bud style headset that is very small. I personally hate ear-buds as they never seem to fit my ears properly. Some folks love ’em though. It offers pretty slick noise-cancelling technology and some notable wind-noise protection as well. It is a bit pricey — it retails for $130.

    The Voyager Pro is an over-the-ear style headset that I really like. It’s much more comfortable than the ear-bud headsets and it offers the same noise-cancellation and wind-protection that the Discovery line has. It’s a bit cheaper than the Discovery model, coming in at $100. One downside is that it’s a tad bulkier than the ear-bud models, but it’s not big by any stretch of the imagination.

    But if you’re looking to get a headset that actually offers something unique, I HIGHLY recommend going with the Backbeat 906 stereo headset. It fulfills all your headphone/headset needs and at the same price as the Discovery models. It’s not very bulky and it offers the same noise cancelation that the other models have.

    Now, a question for you, Scott… why the heck did you get yourself a Samsung Omnia instead of the Droid??? I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend the Android OS-based phones. They, simply put, kick ass. If you can return your phone I highly suggest doing so and getting the Droid instead. You wont regret it.

    Comment by h2u — 12/26/2009 @ 9:50 am

  2. Now, a question for you, Scott… why the heck did you get yourself a Samsung Omnia instead of the Droid???

    Because when bought online, the Omnia was 29.99, and the Droids were 99.99 at their cheapest. I’ll check Verizon’s return policy, but I am pretty happy so far with the Omnia.

    But, since it looks like I’m taking a semester off from school, I’ll be able to work more and get some more money banked, and will look into just getting a new phone for my current plan – though I’ll miss out on the 2-year plan discount, you never know…

    Comment by Scott Jacobs — 12/26/2009 @ 10:12 am

  3. I should mention that I also have my eye on the Tritton car system. The auto-pairing feature is nice, and I’m a long-time lover of Tritton stuff – their products are good, and their customer support is outstanding.

    Had a mic fail after about 4 months on my gaming headset, and they sent a replacement without even asking for warranty info. And when setting it up, I missed the little plastic dust-cover caps for the toslink cable (which meant it didn’t plug into my xbox 360 right), and the support guy managed to not sound like he thought I was a moron for missing it.

    I’ll add the Voyager Pro to the list of possibles.

    Comment by Scott Jacobs — 12/26/2009 @ 10:25 am

  4. The Omnia isn’t a bad phone, but the Android Market makes any Android-based phone a real slick handset. I’ve got some real slick apps, including a gameboy, nintendo and SNES emulator. And the latest version of Google Maps offers turn-by-turn navigation. It’s pretty darn slick.

    Re: car systems, I strongly suggest avoiding them. You’re better off purchasing a little cigarette-charged mount for the phone and using the default speakerphone setting. It’s much cheaper and will prove to be less of a headache. My experience with car-based bluetooth systems is less than favorable…

    Comment by h2u — 12/26/2009 @ 10:42 am

  5. I just hit the speaker button on my Blackberry and put it on the passenger seat next to me. With the windows closed, it’s like being on speaker phone in the office, but it does drain the battery much more quickly.

    Personally, I’m still at the point when at first impression people talking handsfree look like people talking to themselves.

    Comment by nk — 12/26/2009 @ 6:52 pm

  6. Whilst sitting in JT’s All-American Steak House in beautiful, downtown Jim Thorpe on Wednesday, PFC Pico was complaining that I have an ancient phone: I can’t send text messages, I can’t do all sorts of strange and fancy things she can do with hers. I pointed out that my cell phone has proven to be durable and it does exactly what I want it to do: make and receive calls.

    I have no Bluetooth — whatever that is — I have no headsets, I don’t have internet or GPS or anything fancy on my phone, yet somehow, some way, I still survive.

    I don’t know what I’d do with all of the extras anyway, other than pay more money for them.

    Comment by The Dana with a regular cell phone, no bells and whistles — 12/27/2009 @ 2:59 pm

  7. “My cell phone has internet, gps, depth finder, restaurant finder, TV, games, iTunes, a built-in knife/fork/spoon set, a lighter, a cigar cutter and lots more.”

    “Can you make phone calls with it?”

    “Ya know, I dunno.”

    Comment by John Hitchcock — 12/27/2009 @ 11:27 pm

  8. The phone calling ability of the Android phones is perhaps its best feature. Voice dialing works flawlessly, the speaker phone is excellent, the contact list is very well organized and the black-list feature is simply awesome.

    I know you were joking, John, but you do bring up a good point: the number one function of these devices should be making phone calls and, perhaps, sending text messages. I recommend Android devices for smartphone users because they do this *AND MORE* flawlessly.

    Comment by h2u — 12/28/2009 @ 10:21 am

  9. @h2u:

    Any opinion on Blueant headsets?

    Comment by Scott Jacobs — 12/29/2009 @ 12:36 pm

  10. Blueant is well known for their multi-mic devices. The audio quality is pretty damn awesome, but the manufacturing quality leaves something to be desired. Expect a short lifespan if you go this route.

    Jawbone makes some really nice and sturdy headsets — you might want to look into those, too.

    Comment by h2u — 12/29/2009 @ 2:18 pm

  11. I like the Jawbone, but I often go 7 or 8 days without shaving, and I wonder how they would work with facial hair.

    I liked the BlueAnt devices because of the voice-command feature (say “answer call” and it picks up the call), because when I go out (still walking to the bus, damnit), I have a fleece 4-way hood on, plus some thick gloves, and hitting the call-answer button would likely get annoying/be impossible.

    You tried the Plantronics Discovery 925? It seems it mostly be the same thing as the 975.

    I wish places would let you try on different headsets to find one that fits.

    Comment by Scott Jacobs — 12/29/2009 @ 7:46 pm

  12. That’s the biggest problem with the headset purchasing experience: you can NEVER try before you buy. It’s a pain in the rear-end.

    Comment by h2u — 12/29/2009 @ 9:53 pm

  13. Don’t most bluetooth headsets come with several sized earbuds, so you can pick the size that suits you? You should go that route if you can.

    For some reason, I’ve never had a problem with a bluetooth headset. I currently use a really expensive blackberry branded one (I didn’t pay for it, and wouldn’t have), but I’ve had plenty of luck with crappy cheapo ones. Everyone else hates almost all of them. Strange.

    Droid is a neat phone, though it’s going to be outdated eventually anyway. If you’re on a data plan and are in an area where Verizon is the best (a lot of places, obviously), the droid is a good phone.

    But don’t let the fandroids fool you, most phones are great these days. Since I have wifi on mass transit, at home, and at work, I’m fortunate enough to use a Sony ericsson C905a, which is free with a subscription, and with no data plan I can still surf the internet on wifi and use GPS. My wife has one as well and we pay $60 a month for both plans. And the camera on these phones makes the Droid look like a POS. Since we take pics all the time, and always have wifi, it’s a legit point.

    Although I still an envious of those Droid apps. No reason to get an iphone, in my opinion, but there are so many cheap and excellent options out there these days.

    Comment by Dustin — 1/9/2010 @ 12:25 am

  14. Dustin, the iPhone and Android phones are great mobile solutions because of their well-designed and highly stocked app stores. Blackberry’s app store is quite pathetic in comparison.

    Ericsson handsets have *always* been some of my favorites, though. Never much cared for what Sony brought to the table, but I’m very excited to test their Android handset when it comes out. The phones are well designed and get great battery life. And, you’re right: the camera functionality on those phones is far superior to anything in the droid or iphone.

    For me, however, a camera is not at all important. As long as it takes a clear enough photo to utilize Google Goggles functionality I’m happy.

    Comment by h2u — 1/9/2010 @ 8:09 am

  15. that’s why it really matters what your particulars are. The phone I have takes pictures that are as good as a typical digital camera. That’s a big deal for me. The music player is the typical XMB interface (better than my old ipod, IMO). Since the c905 is a DLNA device, I can look at my pictures on my PS3, browsing with my PS3 controller. There are many little details like that. You’re right about Sony Ericsson… they do a lot of aspects right. It’s nothing like the droid… it’s a smarter dumbphone, of course, but there are tens of thousands of apps available.

    and it’s a much more effective use of my money than a droid. Two phones are $60 a month. A phone that handles wifi, has a great browser, has push email, and needs no data plan? That’s a better deal for a lot of folks. I know there are things a droid does that my phone doesn’t, but there aren’t very many things. I save $1700 a year, per phone, over two years. Damn.

    I came very close to getting a droid, anyway. I’m glad Motorola has been saved for the time being, and I think android’s success will grow quite a bit.

    There’s a problem, of course, in that the industry doesn’t want people to have phones that are internet capable but don’t pay for a data plan. My phone, for example, has to be reflashed with the factory firmware (over the ATT firmware) in order to use its wifi chip. If I didn’t have this option, I would either have to carry a wifi device around, or get a smart phone.

    I think the Droid is a foolish purchase unless you really need to upgrade now. There are so many really strong competitors coming out in the very near future that seem to really outshine it. Sure, there’s always the next thing, but multitouch and a good camera are important things to some consumers.

    And price… well, that’s the end all be all for me. I could afford a $100 a month contract, I guess doubled since my wife likes this stuff too, if I wanted. That’s $3400 more than I’m paying now. Makes it easier to stomach my sincerely felt jealousy at the sweet Droids I see on the way to work.

    Comment by Dustin — 1/12/2010 @ 12:18 am

  16. Dustin, you should look into the family plans. T-Mobile has a really strong offering there that will save my girlfriend and I a great deal of money for our two Android phone.

    Comment by h2u — 1/12/2010 @ 10:23 am

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