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X-Micro Bluetooth Headset
Date 30th September 2003
Author Jeremy Quirke
Editor James "Agg" Rolfe
Manufacturer X-Micro
Distributor Altech Computers


The X-Micro Bluetooth Headset is a device that clips to your ear and provides a microphone and earpiece for use as audio input/output to other Bluetooth devices, such as mobile phones and computers.

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For a brief look at Bluetooth and its services, see my review of the X-Micro USB Dongle here. The test PC's and mobile phone in this review are the same as in that review.

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Why would someone want a Bluetooth headset? A popular use is to use it as a ‘handsfree’ for compatible mobile phones – this way, the phone can be left in your pocket, on a table or or in a bag etc. Phone calls can still be received - and made, using voice dialing - without the tangle of wires. It can also be used with a Bluetooth-capable PC in voice communications applications such as certain instant messengers, Net Meeting, etc. Some may even go as far as to say they look cool - at least in certain social circles!

Controls
The headset has 3 buttons: volume up, volume down (which are self-explanatory) and power.

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Holding the power button for 2-3 seconds turns the unit on or off. When on, the LED flashes blue every few seconds to indicate it is in standby and ready to be used with the last paired device.

Pairing the device is accomplished by holding the power button for about 5 seconds whilst in the off state. The LED then flashes alternate red-blue and the device can now be found in Bluetooth searches. When pairing, the PIN is “0000”, which must be entered on the other device.

The power button is also used for answering a call, ending a call or activating voice dialing. Since you obviously can’t easily see the LED if you are wearing the headset, different tones are played through the speaker when using the functions described above.

Finally, there is a mute function which disables the microphone so the other party can’t hear you. This is activated and deactivated by holding a volume button for 2-3 seconds. A tone played through the speaker every few seconds let’s you know that it is muted.

Usage
I was able to pair the device with my Nokia 7650, but unfortunately I learned the 7650 did not support the Bluetooth headset profile. I found this strange – that the 7650 supported all Bluetooth data functions – file transfer, modem but not audio.

Instead I used Bluetooth equipped PCs for testing the headset. Once the headset was put into pairing mode, the PCs would discover it as “X-MICRO” in Bluetooth searches.

When pairing was complete (by using the preset PIN of “0000”), I could connect the headset service. This would cause the headset to “ring” (tones were played through the speakers) and needed to be “answered” by pressing the Power button. This would connect the audio.

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From this point the headset could be used as a soundcard, by selecting it from the list in the application software, or in Control Panel to make it the default audio device for the current user.

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I was able to play music, carry out a voice conversation with MSN Messenger and record my voice with Sound Recorder through the headset. However, I ran into problems on the latter two – discussed in the next section.


All original content copyright James Rolfe.
All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.
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