Do You Bluetooth?

21 Comments

I am constantly analyzing the way I use mobile technology, and as a result, I often change the way I do things. I am in the fortunate position where I get exposed to lots of technology and that exposure keeps me looking at how I use it. A recent survey of mobile phone users disclosed that many in the U.S. who own Bluetooth headsets don’t use them. It pointed out that while 43% of them used the headsets previously, only 26% of them use them currently. That’s a significant drop in usage, and in a group of people who already own a headset.

This got me thinking about my own headset usage. I get to try lots of cool Bluetooth headsets and I probably own three or four of them. There was a time when I used a Bluetooth headset every day — in fact it was a common sight to see me with one in my ear even around the house. I never left the home without one.

That changed at some point recently, and I didn’t even realize it happened. I rarely use a headset these days; In fact I can’t remember the last time I put one in my ear. It wasn’t a conscious decision, I just stopped using them. This realization surprised me quite a bit. I was a big believer in the technology and the benefits of using a headset, yet I stopped using them. To tell you the truth I haven’t missed it at all. If I had not run across this survey that made me think about it I wouldn’t even be writing about this.

So how about you? Do you use a headset? This poll is strictly driven by my own curiosity about Bluetooth headsets and how others view them. If you want to respond to the poll, great. Otherwise it’s no big deal. I’m just trying to figure out if I’m alone in my lack of headset usage.

21 Comments

Scott

I used to use one a lot then I stopped driving as much for work. Once I wasn’t constantly using it – it seemed like every time I wanted it A) it’s battery was dead B) it was at home on the charger.

After a while I stopped looking for it… and haven’t really missed it.

Paul

I use a bluetooth for any cellular business call. I want an wired option but the Samsung Blackjack II does not have adequate connections for being able to be charged and have a wired earpiece at the same time. This is a massive failing of any phone (cellular or not) in my opinion.

Chris Davies

I’ve got a fair few Bluetooth headsets lying around, but hardly ever use them. Firstly it was the having-to-recharge-yet-another-gadget issue, then I picked up some great Sleek Audio custom headphones and have been using those – with wire – instead. Sleek do offer a wireless streaming adapter (which uses Kleer rather than lossy Bluetooth) but since it doesn’t support a microphone I haven’t been using it with my phone.

It’s a relatively null point, though, as I tend to use my phone more for messaging – email, SMS, Twitter – than voice calls these days.

Nameless

I use Bluetooth, but I don’t use a Bluetooth headset.

Rather, I find it a useful means of making quick, easy wireless data transfers between devices. I also have a Bluetooth GPS receiver, and my two Wiimotes are definitely Bluetooth-driven. If I had the money, I’d probably add a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to that.

The technology’s far more useful than just wireless headsets. How to help the average person realize that is another question entirely.

Andre Kibbe

Now that even HTC is incorporating 3.5mm jacks, I see the back-to-the future trend being wired hybrid stereo headsets.

Kal

I’d say my use is about the same as a year ago. I have a Plantronics Voyager 855, which I love, since it’s the smallest, most discreet stereo BT I’ve ever seen. My main use is on the subway or walking in the city, where I listen to music and/or watch Slingplayer. It’s also a must for taking/making calls in public, since the speaker on my HTC Touch Pro makes even small tasks (like listening to vmail) all but impossible.

I generally take notes from calls on my handheld when I’m out of the office, so that’s impossible of course without a headset.

I’m actually a little worried that I won’t be able to replace my Voyager (which isn’t holding a charge too well these days) with something as small. I haven’t seen much that comes close.

I never use BT headphones in the car. I have a Moto BT car adapter for emergencies, but mostly I use it for listening to music, voicemail, and navigation.

James is absolutely right about mobile phones while driving — using handfree is not one iota safer than handheld. AAA Foundation studies show that driving while on the phone (with or without handsfree) is so distracting that it’s comparable to driving after having had a couple of drinks.

Ricky B

I’ll vote that I did… but that’s a recent change for me. I almost never used my old headset, but recently got one that is little more than a standard 3.5 audio to bluetooth adapter with a mic. I use *that* one all the time, primarily because my phone lacks a 3.5 audio jack itself and I like listening to music on it.

Previously, the hassles of pairing and keeping the headset and phone charged separately wrecked the whole experience for me.

phil

James in the UK, use of a mobile phone without a hands free or bluetooth headset while driving is illegal. Can not be long until this happens in the States.

James Kendrick

That’s a good law for everywhere, IMHO. Studies have shown, however, that the use of a headset while driving does not make users drive any better. It’s the call that is the distraction, not the handset.

For that reason if I get a call while driving I DO NOT ANSWER IT. I wait until stopped, listen to the voicemail and then call back if needed. It’s why foregoing the headset is working for me. YMMV.

Susan

I like using my bluetooth headset with my iPhone 3Gs so my hands are free. I especially prefer using it in the car. Just easier, plus I hear better. I use a Sound ID 200.

Aaron

James, wish you would have included an option for “Switched to wired”. I got on the bluetooth bandwagon and then got off because of the wired set I picked up.

I used to have two bluetooth devices, one for voice and the other for music. The over-the-ear for music didn’t do calls very well and I found I liked being able to listen to music while not on the phone. Instead of carrying two devices, I downsized to one that gives me decent music and decent voice at a fraction of the cost.

Yes, I have to untangle the wires from time to time, but at least I don’t have to remember to charge it or carry two pieces of equipment to fit my particular mood.

Stephen Feger

Agreed. I listen to a lot of music on my phone via Slacker (8330). None of the stereo BT headsets have really impressed me with the sound (though the Jabra BT3030 comes closest), so I used a hybrid headset as well.

Joe

In the car and at home I use A2DP bluetooth. (At home only for the times I want to listen to Pandora instead of a specific CD).

Otherwise though, I use a wired Etymotic stereo headset (hf2) to get near total noise isolation with great sound quality and a microphone and mic/playback control button.

Brian

I used to wear my Lubix LC1s every day, all the time. but that all changed with my phone plan (unlimited to prepay) and the fact that my new main phone no longer supported A2DP.

Thom

I think a small but significant reason for the decline in usage has to be the negative perception of indivduals wearing such headsets. No one wants to be that annoying person talking to a headset in line at the Starbucks anymore.

But I think a bigger reason just has to be that more and more cars integrate the phone into the cabin tech.

Of course, maybe Bluetooth headsets are just a fad.

Andreas

Having an iPhone 3GS i much more prefer using my modded Sennheiser CX300 IEMs with the apple remote/mic cable. Since it has a mic, I can use it as a headset, so I don’t need bluetooth.

HSK

I use one on days when I am going to be on conference calls – anytime I know I am going to be on the phone for more than 15 minutes, I’ll pop mine in. I love the freedom of not having to hold the phone.

CTSLICK

Everyday for 1.5 hrs minimum. My car has a manual transmission so its a necessity for me.

stv

James,
this is exactly what happened to me as well. While 1 year ago I was always wearing a BT headset, today I use only Plantronics P590 for listening music without the risk of missing a phone call. But I do it only when I can not disturb people around me with my musical taste. I do believe the main reason I abandoned the BT headset use is related to the annoyance of having to remember to charge batteries for one more device.
Stefano

Chris K

This one’s a little unfair. I mostly stopped using a headset for two reasons:

1) Integrated Bluetooth in my car. Why use the earpiece when you can pause your music *and* take a call with one button?

2) iPhone. I do use my Motorola S9 headphones from time to time, but usually, I’m using much higher quality dual-driver earbuds, with the same effect.

It’s not that the wireless option isn’t nice, it’s that I don’t need it as much anymore.

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