When you’re driving, you have a lot on your mind. You’re scarfing fast food, reapplying make-up, changing the radio station and blindly swatting at bickering toddlers in the backseat. And just when all seems taken care of, and you can finally pay attention to the speeding ton of steel you’re directing down the highway at considerable speed, your cell phone rings. Try one of these mobile headsets, and you won’t have to put down the Big Mac or the dirty diaper to answer your phone.
Samsung WEP 410
For the best sound quality with a stylish design, Samsung takes the prize. The WEP 410 is moderately priced, retailing for $99.99, but provides a clearer sound than your average cell phone offers. Initially, a slight static can be heard when you answer a call, but this always gives way to sharp sound on both ends within seconds. The only model we reviewed that doesn’t have an ear loop to anchor the headset, it won’t stay put in active situations. The stability issue, combined with its simple rectangular, black and silver design, lends this headset more to the office than the active outdoors. Winner of a 2008 CES Innovations Design and Engineering Honoree award, the WEP 410 can leave you hands-free for up to four hours of talk time or 70 hours of standby time on a two-hour charge.
Plantronics Voyager 855
These days, if a cell phone can only make phone calls, it is considered obsolete. Plantronics capitalizes on this with their Voyager 855, which is designed for music-enabled phones. Though the voice quality is not as good as the WEP 410, the Voyager 855 offers stereo sound through an optional second earpiece and almost double the talk time and three times the standby time of the WEP 410. Different sized ear pieces and an ear loop make for a very comfortable and secure long-term fit. The major problem with the device is an annoying triple beep you hear every time the device comes back from being idle. When switching tracks or text messaging, this can be downright infuriating. At $149.95, this headset is only for those serious about music enabled phones.
Casual cell phone users may not feel they need to spend a lot of money on a headset—and they’re right. One of the cheaper models out there, LG’s HBM-730 will set you back about $70. The sound quality is pretty good but calls have a constant soft hum in the background—nothing too distracting but still noticeable. Extremely comfortable and the smallest model reviewed, the HBM-730 has a swiveling ear loop, which offers support with a welcome adjustable touch. LG has done what it’s good at: Made a solid product for the average consumer.