In early the 2000s, Bluetooth Headsets became popular as business-class call attending accessories that came with the higher end cell phones. Most of these headsets were mono and were great tools for wireless call handling. These days Bluetooth headsets are more affordable and used by millions of people to not just handle calls but also listen to music, thanks to the stereo sound technology.
In this list, we’ll be looking at Bluetooth headsets that are designed for comfort, call handling as well as listening to music (but mostly for Call purposes). Given the variety of headsets available in the markets, figuring out which one works best for you is a tough call; headsets are personal accessories and there’s a number of things that you have to consider before you can make a purchase that you’ll be happy with.
Bluetooth Headset Buying Guide for 2018
One of the things that make a headset or even headphones good is how well and comfortably they fit your ear. You’ll be wearing your headset for long hours during your walks and drives so it follows that you pick out something that doesn’t fatigue your ears after a while.
Other factors that you should consider while getting yourself a nice Bluetooth headset include:
- Battery Timing: Since your headset is wireless, it is only going to go so far on a single charge, it’s important that that charge is enough to last you throughout the day.
- Sound Quality: You want to be able to hear your caller and be heard clearly yourself, therefore, it pays to have a headset that can deliver a crisp and clear sound both ways. A number of Bluetooth headsets on our lists are designed so you can enjoy your music on them so it follows that they should sound as good as in ear monitors do.
- Noise Cancellation: Unlike the case with headphones, it is important that your Bluetooth headset eliminates as much outbound noise from your surroundings so that the other person can hear you well.
- Style and Goodies: Since you want to get the most out of the money you spend, you’re going to want something that doesn’t look ugly in your ears when you go out in public. The accessories that come with your headset also have a lot to do with the value for money you get with your purchase.
Now that we’ve shed some light on what makes a good Bluetooth headset ‘good’, let’s start going through the models we tested for you this year.
Plantronics Voyager Edge – Best Bluetooth Headset of This Year:
The first Bluetooth headset we have for you is from the telecommunications giant, Plantronics. One of the main concerns shared by most users is how their Bluetooth headset looks to onlookers. At a glance, the Voyager Edge are nothing short of stunning; in addition to the sleek design, we were pleased with how lightweight and well-crafted the earpiece was.
The Voyager Edge Packs two main components: the earpiece and a charging station that acts as a travel charger with 10 hours of backup on a single charge. The earpiece itself is simple to use and comes with a number of goodies that we were really pleased with.
You have the option of an ear hook that allows you to secure the earpiece to your ear very comfortably. We tried wearing the headset for 2 whole hours and experienced no fatigue in the ear. If you’re out and about a lot, you’ll be glad to know that we got about 6-8 hours of talk time on a single charge. This may not be the best battery timing you can get from a Bluetooth headset but considering that the Voyager Edge comes with its own power bank, we can hardly complain.
Overall, we found the sound quality on the Voyager Edge to be optimum and during our test the other person didn’t experience too much outbound noise even when called from crowded public places. Additionally, you get a number of goodies such as being able to connect the headset to your phone through NFC and being able to automatically receive calls as soon as you pick up your earpiece and insert it in your ear.
If there’s something about the Voyager Edge that we have to complain about then it’s the fact that it costs around $130, which is way over what you’d expect to pay for a good Bluetooth headset but then again considering the extravagance you get with the Voyager Edge, it’s hardly a surprise that they’d be on the pricey side.
Plantronics Voyager Legend
The Voyager Legend has perhaps the most promising title of the Voyager series of Bluetooth headsets from Plantronics, so without further ado, let’s see just how well it lives up to its grand title. The Voyager Legend is a mono headset and as such, it’s not very good for listening to music. You can definitely use it to listen to the voice in YouTube videos while you’re at work but these are voice only headsets.
Asides from not being good enough for dedicated music listening, we found the sound quality of the Voyager Legend to be good enough to get the job done but not anywhere near the best we’ve heard in the same price range. During our time testing the Legend, what we were pleased with the most was its microphone; the other person was able to hear the user very clearly with minimum outbound noise even when the user was driving in a busy area.
The Voyager Legend comes with a Magnetic USB charging cord that latches itself onto the body of the earpiece securely and you get about 7 hours of talk time within a 33 feet range per full charge. However, one thing worth mentioning is the fact that the power cord is very short and designed so that you connect your headset to your laptop for charging; if your wall socket is too high it may have to dangle there.
The Voyager Legend may not be as Legendary as it promises to be in terms of performance but it does have a sleek design that’s notable enough to let onlookers know that you’re on call and would rather not be disturbed.
Another thing we noticed was that the earpiece starts to feel uncomfortable in the ear during prolonged use which is an obvious deal breaker for us considering that this is a device that’s meant for prolonged hands-free use. The earpiece itself is lightweight and comes with a number of earbuds so we don’t understand why it gets uncomfortable after a bit but we aren’t the only users experiencing this discomfort.
Jawbone Era (2014)
The first Era by Jawbone came out almost three years ago and has outperformed many of its competition since. One of the most notable features of the Era that we were very pleased with is its compact form factor; the earpiece is very petite, well-crafted and most of all discreet. You won’t have to worry about it getting noticed all that much from passer-by’s when you’re walking down the road wearing there.
The small form of the Era keeps it from being obtrusive and also makes it very lightweight and easy on the ears. However, one drawback of the Era is the ridiculously short battery life; we got roughly four hours of talk time on a single charge which is barely enough for anyone who’s going to be out of home for half the day.
The Jawbone Era (sold for around 100 dollars) also comes with a slightly pricier option with a charging cradle that gives you an additional 6 hours of battery life on the go (sold for around 125 dollars). The cradle itself retails for about $50 so it’s wiser to just get the more expensive package and save money.
Asides from the discreet, comfortable design the Era offers you a decent in call experience. We had no problem in hearing the caller and the caller had no problem in hearing us.
The only real deal breaker with the Jawbone Era Bluetooth headset is the fact that you need to spend a hefty amount to extend the short battery life. For about 130 Dollars you can step-up the game and get the Plantronics Voyager Edge instead which offers you a better battery time that can be extended by an additional 10 hours with the charging cradle it comes with.
Bose Bluetooth Headset Series 2
Every Bose product we’ve ever tested has its way of making us behold its design in awe and the Bose Bluetooth Headset Series 2 is no exception to that rule. The Series 2 is perhaps the most compact and neatly designed headset we’ve seen so far; just a little longer than your thumb, well-crafted with a matte black front boasting the Bose logo and a glossy back with Bluetooth connectivity and battery indicators.
Another thing that we were really pleased with was the ear tip, which is by far the most comfortable and secure one we’ve used on a Bluetooth headset. You could wear this thing all day even when you aren’t using it and experience no discomfort of any sort. However, it’s worth mentioning that you won’t get any ear tips with the Series 2 that allows you to switch ears, you have to make that choice while buying your headset.
Moving on, the in call experience is pretty good thanks to the sound eliminating mic on board the earpiece. The overall sound quality is good enough for listening to music and using while gaming. Though, to our dismay we did realize that if you crank up the volume to listen to music, your battery life is going to reduce drastically.
The Series 2 do not have the most impressive battery timing which is a deal breaker considering the high asking price of about $150. One thing we did appreciate is the fact that the Series 2 headset charges through a micro USB cable which is easily accessible but then again, for a price this high we’d expect at least 8 hours of talk time if not 10.
Jabra Stealth – Smallest Bluetooth headset of 2018
What we found the most unique about the Jabra Stealth is the fact that it packs a whopping 6-8 hours of talk time and 240 hours of standby on a single charge in a very lightweight, sleekly designed form. The Stealth is perhaps the most lightweight headset on our list and with its soft ear tips, it is also one of the most comfortable Bluetooth headsets that we’ve used.
In terms of performance, the sound is very clear and thanks to the outbound noise elimination, our caller couldn’t even tell that they were being called through a hands-free. The Stealth has a separate button that allows you to interact with your phone’s voice recognition features and a dedicated button that allows you to answer, reject and redial your calls.
If you have an Android phones, you’ll be pleased to know that the Stealth also features fast NFC connectivity. All in all, perhaps what we liked most about the Jabra Stealth was its value for money; for about $100 it’s on par with (if not out performing) a few pricier alternatives that we’ve talked about.
The Stealth does not come with a dedicated on the go charging station but since it’s charged via micro USB, you’ll hardly have trouble charging it wherever you are.
Blueant Q3 Premium Smartphone Bluetooth Headset
In terms of design, The Blueant Q3 has pretty much the same lackluster look of its predecessor, the Q3. The design isn’t particularly ugly to look at but it does come across as a bit dated for the ‘premium’ Bluetooth headset it claims to be. Moving on, the earpiece itself is pretty lightweight and thanks to the uniquely designed funneled ear tip, the headset sits in your ear very snugly and doesn’t get uncomfortable from staying there for a while. The ear tip may feel a little loose if you remove the ear hook though.
In terms of performance, the Q3 gets the job done fairly well, however we might add that the audio is rather flat so it may not be the best sounding device for listening to music but we faced no issues with the call quality, which is the primary feature of the headset but that still doesn’t change the fact that one would expect a more punchy audio from a premium device.
Perhaps what we liked most about the Q3 was the impressive battery life of 6 hours which is made even better by the fact that this thing charges very fast; in just 30 minutes, we managed to charge the battery to 50% which has to be the fastest charging we’ve seen on a Bluetooth headset yet.
The Q3 also has its own built in voice features that you can access using the multi-function button on the earpiece though we might add that the voice features of the Q3 are a bit elementary. Overall, the Blueant Q3 is a decent headset with only a few improvements from its predecessor but still priced above what’s reasonable (about $100).
Jabra SUPREME Bluetooth Headset
Up till this point, every headset we’ve talked about is either designed for only one ear or just doesn’t feel comfortable when your switch buds and attempt to use it in your other ear. The Jabra Supreme breaks that trend with its over ear earpiece that you can latch on either of your ears using the ear hook. The earpiece is comfortable but doesn’t feel all that secure and if you move around too much, it may even come off so we’ve knocked off a few points for that.
Bluetooth Headset which offers Enterprise Grade Build and Functionality
In terms of looks, the body of the headset looks bulky but is actually pretty lightweight. Another thing we liked about the Jabra Supreme’s design is the fact that the microphone shaft is collapsible and that doing so powers the device on and off. The sound quality is nothing to complain about and it gets the job done pretty well.
In fact, the Supreme even comes with a USB Bluetooth adapter that allows you to connect the headset to your PC for Skype calls or gaming sessions. The multi-function button on the front is easy to use however, the volume buttons sit awkwardly at the back of the headset and are rather difficult to use while the device is still latched on your ears, and it fell off a lot while we were trying to adjust the volume.
The Jabra Supreme is quite the performer but falls behind on the comfort front, which is a deal breaker for anyone who isn’t going to sit in one place while using them.
Jawbone Icon HD Bluetooth Headset
The first thing we noticed about the Jawbone Icon HD is its neat packaging including the miniature headset itself and a number of earbuds together with an ear hook to choose from. The Jawbone Icon HD is very stylishly designed and just like the Era we talked about earlier, it is compact and discreet.
We might also add that the Icon HD outshines the Era in terms of Performance and battery life. The sound quality on this headset is superb and its ’noise assassin’ microphone is capable of transmitting your voice with such clarity that your caller will not know that you’re speaking to them through a Bluetooth headset.
The Icon HD is very lightweight and comfortable to use for long periods of time and it stays pretty nice and secure in your ear, though we did notice that the ear hook configuration gives you the most secure fit. Another neat feature on the Icon HD that we found useful was how it has a voice interface that lets you know how much battery you have remaining along with other functions it’s performing.
The Jawbone Icon HD retails for about $100 which is a bit expensive but considering what it offers against some of the pricier alternatives, we believe that you get your money’s worth. You also have the option of buying the Icon HD in a variety of interesting colors and textures.
Plantronics M165 Marque 2 Ultralight – Most Affordable Bluetooth Headset of this Year
The Marque 2 is an entry level headset that is nothing too fancy but it gets the job done fairly well and then some. The elongated plastic body of the headset doesn’t feel too fancy or premium but has a good enough finish for what it’s worth. On the face, you have a single multi-function button that allows you to control your call and a volume rocker on the top side.
The earpiece is light weight and the silicon ear tip provides a nice and secure grip as well as optimum comfort. The sound quality is audible on both ends but again since the Marque 2 is an entry level headset that retails for roughly 60 bucks, we only expect it to get the job done.
You’ll be pleased to know that you get a number of features with the Plantronics app that enhances the user experience, it may not be something too special but knowing that you have an app to control this entry level model is nice. Overall, we’re pleased with the Marque 2 but for a device this modest, we feel that it could have been a bit cheaper.
And with that, we are at the end of our list. Ultimately, when it comes to choosing a Bluetooth Headset, you really need to think over when and where you’ll be using it and for how long.
Most of the headsets we’ve talked about here perform their primary function pretty well, some go a bit beyond that as well with better sound quality while others stay true to their main purpose and have other useful features such as on-the-go charging and better battery life.
If you’re looking for something that lets you listen to music as well as answer calls occasionally, we would recommend going for a pair of Bluetooth headphones with a mic instead.