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5 years ago

Review: Jabra BT8010

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Review: Jabra BT8010

Read on for a full review of the new Jabra BT8010, including a hands-on video. Despite some nasty PPC compatibility issues, the BT8010 just might be the best Bluetooth headset available today.

Video Demo

(Directly download the video here)

Features

The Jabra BT8010 is far and away the most feature-laden headset available today. The BT8010 sports a large, readable display, full Bluetooth Stereo, redial, redial by the last 15 callers, importing of phone lists, vibrating ring, multipoint, and will likely give you a foot massage if you ask it to.

In addition to a gigantic pack of features, the BT8010 sports an innovative design - the sort of design that makes you smack your head and say "why wasn't this invented 5 years ago?" The BT8010 normally looks like any other Bluetooth headset (albeit slightly larger than the latest and greatest tiny headsets), but it comes with a "mini-me" version of itself attached to a short cable which you can plug into the back of the headset for stereo sound.

The mini-me portion of the headset plugs into the charging port of the BT8010, and is powered by the main headset's battery - which is a simple and elegant solution. Not so simple or elegant is Jabra didn't find a way to make this connector compatible with standard mini-usb, but instead uses a proprietary connection.

In the near future, Jabra will be releasing a desktop application (The "BT8010 Control Center")for the BT8010 that will allow you to sync up a list of phone numbers and even change the "skin" of the headset's built-in display. Jabra isn't technically distributing the Jabra BT8010 in the United States just yet (though it's available in several places, including the WMExperts store), which explains the "delay" in the desktop app.

Design

The Jabra BT8010 is a great looking headset. Though slightly bulkier than most other modern headsets, the extra size is more than offset by the extra features of the device.

Looking at it from the side, the most prominent feature is the large, easy-to-use scroll wheel, which has a satisfying "clickyness" to it when you turn in. Within the scroll wheel is the main function button, which answer and hangs up calls and acts as a play, pause, or next song button (when double-pressed).

Jabra wasn't shy with the buttons - in addition to the side buttons there's buttons on the top as well: an On/Off/Pairing switch, a "music toggle" button (which doesn't seem to work a damn with Windows Mobile), and a menu/back button

Actually, the most prominent feature on the side is probably the display, which is large and easy to read. The display turns itself off to save battery power relatively quickly, however. I really enjoy having a display on a Bluetooth headset, as odd as that sounds. Some find a display on a headset rather odd, as they headset is often (or usually) on the ear. However, being able to see battery life at a glance is worth the price of admission alone, in my opinion. And given the advanced feature-set of the BT8010, trying to operate it without a display would be a nightmare.

The "mini-me" looks identical to the main headset, but has no functional buttons.

Comfort and Usability

The BT8010 is a comfortable headset. It stays on the ear without any problems (and can be adjusted to fit in either ear). I have no problem wearing the headset for extended periods of time.

The speaker on both the main and mini-me headsets protrudes into the ear "just enough" to provide sufficient volume without become uncomfortable. I actually find it to be a nice compromise between "ear-gel" style headsets and more traditional "blast the sound into your ear" headsets. Your mileage may vary, however, depending on your ear size - for me, it's great.

The BT8010 charges very quickly, it will go from stone-cold dead to a full charge in less than two hours. With that full charge, Jabra specs the battery life at 10 hours talk/music time or 13 days standby time. In my usage this seems pretty accurate. I've listened to about 3 hours of music and spend a half hour on the phone just today and the battery is sitting pretty at 2 out of four bars.

Sound Quality

Sound quality on phone calls is very good on the Jabra BT8010 - plenty loud for most any situations. One "quirk" which I actually like a lot is the volume adjustment on the headset applies only to he headset - it doesn't adjust the phones volume as I've experience with other Bluetooth headsets paired to a WM device. Another nice bit - when you have the mini-me plugged in the BT8010 gives you the audio in both ears.

Range on the BT8010 is superb, which is a very (VERY) pleasant surprise on a Bluetooth headset. I was able to have clear sound on both ends at 15 feet (with line-of-sight) and just the slightest static at 20 feet with a couple of walls in between. I suspect that the larger size not only accommodates the large screen and extra board-space for all the features of the BT8010, but also perhaps a larger Bluetooth antenna.

Sound quality for music was also good. It's still Bluetooth, mind you, but is on par with other A2DP headsets. You'll want to check on your device to make sure it supports actual Bluetooth stereo if that's what you're looking for, though - T-Mobile Dash, I'm looking at you.

Compatibility

Unfortunately, the various Bluetooth "standards" are anything but standard. Such is the case with the Jabra BT8010's compatibility with the various Windows Mobile devices I tested it with. Now, for phone calls, the BT8010 is a champ - it performs exactly as you'd expect it to. The difficulty comes in with the BT8010's "Wireless stereo" settings.

On both the T-Mobile MDA and the Palm Treo 750v, I experienced an unsettling bug. If you set the BT8010 as your Bluetooth "Wireless Stereo", then both of these PPC devices routed ALL of their audio through the Bluetooth headset - including button-click sounds and - get this: ringtones. Absolutely not cool. Getting the sound back required either turning off the BT8010 (which is thankfully easy given that it has an off-switch) or disabling the headset as a wireless stereo device manually via the Bluetooth settings. In some cases the BT8010 still ended up hijacking all system sound anyway. On the bright side, Play, Pause, and Next all worked fine when controlling it from the BT8010.

On the T-Mobile Dash I had a much better experience. The Dash was able to better determine where ringtones should come from (the phone's own speaker) and where other audio ought to go (the Bluetooth headset). Of course, the Dash has its own issues - when it detects a paired Bluetooth headset it won't let you switch out of the "headset" profile. This particular bug is not unique to the Jabra BT8010, though. It's just an incredible hassle to not be able to quickly silence the ringer on a phone just because I happen to have a Bluetooth headset on and in range.

Here's the nub of it - every phone has a slightly different Bluetooth implementation. On top of that, the A2DP and AVRCP are not all supported in the same way on every phone. I don't know whether I should be directing my ire at Microsoft for not properly supporting the standards or at Jabra for hijacking audio even when I supposedly turn off A2DP mode by hitting the music button. Right now I've pretty much settled on blaming everybody.

Conclusion

The BT8010 is great headset in design, sound quality, and in the fact that it innovatively combines a nice phone headset with a nice set of stereo headsets. I wholeheartedly recommend the BT8010 to WM5 Smartphone users, but for PPC-edition users it is more of a mixed bag. I am still using it with my Treo 750v; its buggy nature with the Pocket PCs I've tested is more than offset by the quality and feature-set of the device. If you have a low tolerance for bugs, wait until there's either a firmware update or somebody figures out a bugfix.

Ratings (out of 5)

  • Design: 5
  • Comfort: 5
  • Compatibility: 4 (2 for PPC-Edition)
  • Cost/Benefit: 4

Overall:
5 for Smartphone Edition
3 for PPC-Edition

Pros

  • Innovative "dual-use" design
  • Nice display
  • Good sound quality and range
  • Easy to operate

Cons

  • Hijacks all sound on some PPC Devices
  • May be too bulky for some
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5 years ago

WME Prize-A-Day, Day 5

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WME Prize-A-Day, Day 5

President's Day means that the luckier among us get the day off. The rest of us are working like schmucks (then again, maybe there's no other way to work). So what to give away on President's Day? Well, a President has people who take care of stuff for them, so we'll give you the next best thing: people for your WM phone. People who keep track of your sports, news, movie times, and more; so you can focus on more important things.

By people, I mean Handmark. Specifically, we'll send you a CD and a 3-month subscription to Handmark Express.

How to Win

Let's take it back to the forums today. For President's Day, let's be full of ourselves. How does your smartphone make you an effective "executive"? How does it make you seem "important"? Or for the more humble of you, how does a smartphone help the "little guy" in an executive's world? Post a reply in this thread.

Don't forget: Every entry in a daily contest doubles as an entry for the Grand Prize and the two Second Prizes! Namely: A Smartphone of your choice plus $300 to spend in the WMExperts store and a couple of Slingbox Pros.

Also, I'll announce last week's Prize-A-Day winners a little later today!

(Full contest rules are here)

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5 years ago

Opera, yes Opera, to be Preloaded on some WM6 Devices

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File this one under: more 3GSM news that flew under my radar: Following a nice little coup last year, when Samsung and Opera announced Opera would be preloaded on some Samsung phones (though perhaps not the WM versions?), Opera announced partnerships to get their browser preloaded on some WM6 phones. It's nice to see that Microsoft has given up their old ways of forcing manufacturers to ignore alternate browsers - though to be fair, those Netscape-war days are long-over, but the memory of it still stings just a little.

In my experience both Opera Mobile and Pocket IE fall just short of being great mobile browsers, but it's always nice to have options, you know? Opera Mobile has a free 30 day trial that works fine with Windows Mobile 5 PPC edition, if you want to check it out.

Motorola Inc.'s Q as well as phones from High Tech Computer Corp., Asus and Toshiba Corp. will include Opera Mobile, Jon von Tetzchner, co-founder and CEO of Opera, said at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona.

Read: Windows Mobile phones to pack Opera | InfoWorld | News | 2007-02-15 | By Nancy Gohring, IDG News Service

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5 years ago

WME Prize-A-Day, Day 4

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WME Prize-A-Day, Day 4

Although WMExperts went "live" this week, did you know we've been posting (albeit sporadically) since November? It's true, you can check out our archives here.

Meanwhile, moving forward, you can expect to see the number of in-depth reviews increase at a steady clip. I'm looking at a pile of WM phones here, plus we have an entire store-full of accessories that need reviewing. But I can only do so much, that's where today's contest comes in.

How to win

Every item in the WMExperts store is reviewable in the store itself! So between now and 9am EST on Monday Feb 19th, just click on a star rating for any item, then click "Write Opinion and Confirm Rating" to enter a brief review. Be sure to enter your email address in there so we can enter you into this weekend's contest. We'll pick a winner at random from all the reviews put in over the weekend.

What's the prize? Easy, any case of your choice valued up to $30.

Don't forget: Every entry in a daily contest doubles as an entry for the Grand Prize and the two Second Prizes! Namely: A Smartphone of your choice plus $300 to spend in the WMExperts store and a couple of Slingbox Pros.

(Full contest rules are here)

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5 years ago

3GSM Roundup ...Roundup

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3GSM Roundup ...Roundup

3GSM is over and done now. Even though I didn't make it to Barcelona myself, I'm still pretty exhausted by all the new product announcements. We did one roundup that mainly focused on WM6 and then one more that took a look at all the upcoming WM6 devices. If you're still in the roundup mood, here's a roundup of other sites' roundups.

I hereby promise not to use the word "roundup" again for at least a full week.

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5 years ago

Toshiba G900 and G5000 Fingerprint Scanners also 4-way dpad

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Pocketnow has a link to a video of the incredible Toshiba G900 being demoed. There are two interesting new bits in this video. First, the fingerprint scanner is hidden nicely behind the slider on both the G900 and the G500. Second, a neat little tidbit is that the fingerprint scanner also will let you scroll vertically and horizontally. It may not be super-useful, but it is super-neat.

What we didn't know before is that the biometric pad found on the back can actually be used as a DPad if you swipe your finger vertically or horizontally.

Read: pocketnow.com - Commentary Library

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5 years ago

Verizon to Release 700wx on Feb 20?

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Verizon to Release 700wx on Feb 20?

Engadget received an anonymous tip (complete with a photo of the box) that Verizon will be releasing the 700wx on their network on Feb 20th. We knew this was coming soon, as the 700wx recently appeared on a rebate form. I still think it's a mystery as to how and why Palm thought that the 700w would cut it - its meager amount of program memory basically meant the 700w can't mulitask worth a damn.

My guess is that it's going to be identical to the 700wx on Sprint; in other words: Windows Mobile 5, no fancy threaded text messaging, no AKU3 / A2DP.

Details are now starting to filter in on just how Verizon intends to right Palm's wrongs, scheduling its own 700wx for a February 20 release date. Sticker shock will be in full effect here: $620 at retail, $450 with a one-year agreement, $400 if you relent to a second year, though an additional $100 rebate makes it all a little easier to bear. Even better, the 700wx should come with tethering support out of the box.

Read: Verizon's Treo 700wx launch detailed - Engadget

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5 years ago

Agendus for Windows Mobile Released

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Agendus for Windows Mobile Released

Agendus has been a longtime favorite in for the PalmOS crowd, but it looks like iambic is seeing the light. They released a version for Windows Mobile (Pocket PC edition only, though). Looks like it might be a nice competitor to the other 3rd party calendar apps out there like Agenda Fusion or Pocket Informant.

Lord knows it can't be any worse than the default calendar app in terms of usability. My thumb is calloused from all the scrolling.

Agendus for Windows Mobile optimizes to how you go about scheduling your life. From a single-screen, with a numerous View options (Day, Week, Month), you can easily schedule meetings, create (and track) tasks (AKA To Do items), write memos, create contacts, and check email

Read: Agendus for Windows Mobile Pocket PC Professional Edition

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5 years ago

WM6 Standard Edition Office Can Only Edit, Not Create

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I think Luke speaks for all of us when he says "No. It can't be. That's not true. That's impossible!" But just as (spoiler alert) Luke was forced to admit that Vader really is his father, so too we come to a sad realization. Jeff Kirvin points out a tidbit that I missed about Windows Mobile 6 Standard Edition. Namely, that while it can finally edit Word and Excel files, it cannot create them natively. Is Microsoft just breaking Standard edition for the sake of differentiating it from Professional edition?

As Kirvin points out, this rock-dumb decision by Microsoft leaves a tiny little window open for Documents To Go which not only can create new office docs but also apparently should offer more robust editing features.

One last bit, as I was searching for confirmation I read this Laptop magazine review of WM6 which also points out that the Standard edition, like today's WM5 Smartphone edition, does not include a basic text notes app. FOR SHAME.

(Thanks to Smartphone Thoughts for the tip!)

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5 years ago

WME Prize-A-Day, Day 3

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WME Prize-A-Day, Day 3

There are times and places where it doesn't really seem appropriate to whip out your smartphone. Off the top of my head I can think of several: movies (seriously, why do people answer during a movie), camping (maybe I'm wrong there), Antarctica (pictured - really, all your energy should be focused on keeping warm and eyeing that hole in the ozone layer), during class (as a former TA at a major University, let me tell you this is a growing problem).

For WME Prize-A-Day Day 3, tell us your horror stories about people (obviously you'd never misuse your phone, right?) bungling a social situation with their gadget.

Did some buffoon start check their favorite team's score and yelp during a meeting? Misusing a phone in the car is always good fodder. Maybe some vile parent didn't notice their child wandering out into traffic because they were emailing? Come on, folks, make us lose our faith in humanity.

Today's prize: A 1 Gig Memory Card - SD, MiniSD, or MicroSD. We may not be able to add capacity to people's brains, so I guess adding capacity to people's phones will have to do.

How to win

Simple. Just comment between now and 10 am EST tomorrow morning with your horror stories. We'll pick the winner at random. Don't forget: Every entry in a daily contest doubles as an entry for the Grand Prize and the two Second Prizes! Namely: A Smartphone of your choice plus $300 to spend in the WMExperts store and a couple of Slingbox Pros.

(Full contest rules are here)

Update: Yesterday's Daily Contest is closed, but there's a new one up for this weekend. You can always find the latest Prize-A-Day contest here

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5 years ago

ActiveSync 4.5 out of Beta

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ActiveSync 4.5 out of Beta

It may not be Windows Mobile Device Center, but at least it's somthing: ActiveSync 4.5 has been released today. Doesn't look like there's anything new here that wasn't in the Beta, though. The biggest feature to 4.5 is faster file transfer speeds. The second biggest, ah, "feature" is that Remote PC Sync has been removed because it was just to difficult to keep secure. I've been using 4.5 Beta for awhile and I'm content with it.

Download details: ActiveSync 4.5 (thanks to msmobilenews for the ip)

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5 years ago

How-To Video: Setting up Bluetooth GPS on WM5

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As promised, here's a quick video walkthough showing you how to set up a Bluetooth GPS "puck" on Windows Mobile. Credit goes to Microsoft, specifically the Windows Mobile Team Blog.

The benefit of this is you can use free mapping and directions software like (in order of my preference)...

....to find your way around. None of these free apps are particularly well-suited to being used while driving (even the new smart2go, which so far I'm not impressed with), but they're great for lighter usage.

If you don't already have a GPS puck, our store sells a few standalones.

If you're looking for just straightforward GPS-in-your Car for in-driving Navigation, though, I still think a bundle is a good way to go.

How-To Video is after the jump.

(Directly download the video here)

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5 years ago

MWE Prize-A-Day, Day 2

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MWE Prize-A-Day, Day 2

It's Valentine's Day, so today's contest has got to be about showing the love. A couple of comments on this Google Maps post asked for more info on how to set up GPS with a WM phone, so later today I'll get up a quick video how-to and screencast. But let's get some community love (get your mind out the gutter) going here too.


How to Win

Just post a comment on this entry (form below, be sure to include your name and email address!) with your favorite Windows Mobile tip or trick. It can be esoteric like the GPS bit I'll post later, or just something neat.

The Prize for today is obvious, given the theme, Bejeweled Valentine's Day Edition for PocketPC or Smartphone.

Show the love!

(Full Contest information here - must use valid email address to register.)

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5 years ago

Mobile Phones to fight Aids in Africa

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Now this is cool. A group calling itself "Phones for Health" is going to be using mobile phones to rapidly gather health data in Africa. Perhaps this explains why Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush are speaking at CTIA next month too. Suddenly being a mobile phone nerd doesn't feel so commercial.

Phones for Health will allow health workers in the field to use a standard Motorola handset equipped with a downloadable application to enter health data. Once entered, the data is transferred via a packet based mobile connection (GPRS) into a central database. If GPRS isn’t available, the software can use a SMS data channel to transmit the information. The data is then mapped and analyzed by the system, and is immediately available to health authorities at multiple levels via the web. The system also supports SMS alerting and other tools for communication with field staff.

Read: Major Public-Private Partnership to Use Mobile Phones to Fight HIV/AIDS Pandemic @ PhoneMag.com

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5 years ago

Daylight Savings Time Update for WM

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Daylight Savings Time Update for WM

Microsoft has posted a quick patch for Windows Mobile to keep up with the new changes to Daylight Savings Time. The instructions are a bit overcomplicated, but they should work fine. You know what would work better? Abolishing Daylight Savings Time. Then again, I'm from Minneapolis, if it weren't for DST I wouldn't see the sun for three months.

Congress has changed the dates for Daylight Saving Time (DST) in the United States starting in 2007. Canada has adopted similar DST dates. These changes could cause clocks and Microsoft Outlook calendar appointments on Windows Mobile-powered devices to display incorrect times for March 11 – April 1, 2007 and October 28 – November 4, 2007 and again in subsequent years. You can find more information about the exact dates and potential impact in the Changes in DST section.

Windows Mobile Updates for Daylight Saving Time

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