Consumer Alert: Bluetooth headsets coming smaller, cheaper

NATIONAL (CONSUMER REPORTS) - If you or someone on your holiday list wants a Bluetooth, you'll be happy to know they're a lot less expensive than they used to be. And many are a lot smaller.

Whether on the job or on the go, it seems that more and more people are wearing Bluetooth headsets these days.

Consumer Reports - teaming up with an international consumer group - just sized up 34 Bluetooth headsets. The headsets cost anywhere from $30 to $200.

Consumer Reports' Paul Reynolds says tests show sizing up a Bluetooth headset is key. "Be sure to get a headset that fits properly. Poor fit can be uncomfortable and you may not be able to hear very well."

Most headsets sit on the ear, with a clip or hook holding them in place. Some are bulky and can flop around.

Others are earbuds, which go in your ear. But if they don't fit well, they can pop out. Reynolds advises, "If you're going to buy an earbud, be sure to get a model that has adapters so that you can ensure a good fit."

But be aware that there are trade-offs with smaller headsets. For instance, you don't get as much talk time before you run out of power.

With any Bluetooth headset, how easy they are to setup is another consideration. They have to be "paired" with your cell phone to begin the wireless communication. Reynolds says, "Pairing can be tricky, but there are headsets that have a dedicated pairing button, which simplifies the process."

Consumer Reports top-rated the $35 Jabra BT-500 headset, which has a dedicated pairing button. Tests show the Bluetooth headset is very comfortable, with an impressive eight-and-one-half hours of talk time.

Bluetooth headsets are also available in stereo, which you might consider a plus if you listen to music on your cell. But Consumer Reports says they're expensive, and your phone may not accommodate one. Just because you have a Bluetooth phone doesn't mean it's stereo Bluetooth.

Posted by Chantelle Janelle

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