These low-profile Bluetooth headsets are small--but still sound great
FROM LEFT CALLPOD DRAGON V2, JABRA STONE, MAVERICK NICA
Some things are better heard than seen, including Bluetooth headsets. The problem is that headsets with those silly-looking low-hanging booms tend to sound better than the new, sleeker models. We tested three of the latest less obtrusive designs to see how they perform. Here are the results.
CALLPOD DRAGON V2
Style and comfort
COST: $99.95 The new Dragon is about 2.5 inches in diameter and fits snugly with an in-ear bud and over-ear clip.
COST: $129 The least obtrusive of the bunch, the sliver-thin Stone weighs just .25 ounces and barely can be felt on the ear.
COST: $119 About the size of a silver dollar, the .5 ounce Nica lacks an earbud but stays in place with an over-the-ear hook.
Call volume is so-so compared with that of larger headsets, and the line tends to be buzzy. A plus: The Dragon can connect to a phone as far away as 300 feet.
The Stone's call volume is also poor by comparison, but the connection sounds better than the Dragon's, with only a slight background hum.
The Nica has better volume and clarity than the Dragon or the Stone, but people we called from the headset had trouble hearing us.
Charge quality and other features
The headset lasts roughly a day on one charge and can connect to two devices at once, so you can use it to talk over Skype on your laptop, for example, and your mobile phone.
The Stone includes a 2-inch chargeable holder that you take on the go for up to eight hours of juice. Another plus: You can use the headset to listen to music and podcasts.
The Nica attaches to its charger with a magnet that holds it firmly in place. On the downside, a charge yields only about four hours of talk time.