brian on 2007.10.31
at 03:20 am
Tonight, I headed north to the closest AppleStore to work, and picked up an Apple iPhone Bluetooth Headset.
The headset is miniscule. A little shorter than my thumb, and about a third of the circumference. It is so light as to be very losable. If it’s in your pocket, and not pressing against you, you won’t know it’s in there. The shape of the speaker is very similar to that of the iPod head phones. That’s a bad shape to me, as those headphones hurt a nub of cartilage in my ear after about 20 minutes of use.
I mentioned this observation to the fine young salesman, who responded, “I know it looks that way, but it fits surprisingly well.” I had other plans to hack the fit (more on this later), but he encouraged me to try it stock.
I have to say, when I got it home, I was very surprised: although it didn’t feel like much, the headset didn’t touch my ear-nub, and was surprisingly stable in my ear. I wasn’t nervous walking around with it. I am nervous my dog might swallow this thing, though… did I mention it’s tiny?
The package includes an iPhone dock equipped with a headset slot for charging. This dock has a permanently attached cable, unlike the one that comes with the iPhone, which is removable for solo use. The headset also ships with a “travel charger cable” which is a 30pin connector with an extra wide profile that accommodates charging the headset along with the iPhone.
I mentioned “hacking” the iPhone BT headset for fit. I have a history of hacking Apple headphones. I have an old pair of the Apple In-ear headphones. They are of marginally better audio quality when compared to the stock ‘phones, but they add to that by significantly reducing outside noise. They do this by fitting into your ear-canal like an ear plug. Their greatest attribute is their small size. The worst attribute is the grey rubber (silicone, no doubt) ear pieces (of varying sizes) that come with them. These pieces are supremely comfortable, but after five minutes, would consistently work their ways out of my ear canal, which would kill the sound, and they would flop right out of my ear.
I knew that this was my best solution for the iPod, so I got to hacking. I needed to block out external sound because I could enjoy listening in noisy environments more (public transit, practicing the drums) while turning the volume lower since these block sound well.
I found that’s Sony’s in-ear pieces had a different shape. Sony’s were round, while Apple’s had a slight tear-drop shape to theirs. Sony’s happened to fit the Apple ‘phones, so on they went – and have given me 3 years of trouble-free, snug fit, and low volume listening.
This inspired me not to give up on the Apple headset. (I wanted the second dock, brain-free pairing and compatibility [works with the Mac, too!] and the minimalist, nigh invisible design.
I found that Jabra, a bluetooth headset makers in their own right, sells a >$5 kit of headset covers that includes small, medium and large (for right and left ear) pieces that fit the contours and folds of your ear. I read a positive review, found that Radio Shack sold them, and knew I had to give it a shot. These fit great. I started jumping around and rolling my head, then headbanging Metallica-style, and the headset didn’t budge. Brilliant!
I highly recommend these, based on the five minutes I’ve had them in my ear. Tomorrow, I plan to wear the headset on my commute both ways to see how the fit sustains over the long term.
Lastly, tonight I also got a case to protect the iPhone. I found an Agent 18 hard shell that snaps together snuggly and is made of recycled plastic! The downside is that I didn’t realize that there was a color choice, and picked the only one on the shelf – “Natural.” It looks as if I turn off the lights, it’ll glow. What was I thinking? I found out later, online, that it comes in black as well. I’m sure I’ll be returning it now. But otherwise, seems like a solid way to add a little safety, and a touch more grip to your iPhone, without bulk or much noticeable weight.
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