While shopping for accessories for your phone I’ve noticed that people tend to struggle when it comes to choosing a Bluetooth Headset – probably because at first glance they all seem very similar. They all allow you to use your phone safely in the car and can answer & end calls, so why are there so many different ones to choose from?
Up until recently my answer would have been that the main differences were size, weight and battery life. While that’s still true for most headsets, advances in headset technology have meant that there is now something else to consider when choosing a Bluetooth Headset – Noise Cancellation.
Now, you might be thinking that noise cancellation is nothing new, and technically it’s not – noise cancellation has been around for years and in a number of formats. From simple design changes such as foam covers over the microphone to clever software that makes your voice clearer, but the newer generation of Bluetooth headsets go one step further. Most of the latest noise cancelling headsets have 2 microphones built into them, one that picks up your voice and another that picks up background noise. Software in the headset then analyses the sound from both microphones and any sounds picked up by both microphones are removed so that your voice comes through clearly.
Not all Bluetooth Headsets currently have this feature, and trying to find the ones that do out of the 140 that we sell will take you some time, so to help you along I’ve listed below our top 10 noise cancelling headsets. Most of these headsets have the dual microphone technology, although a couple of them have some other clever technology to cut out back ground noise.
The BT-530 is a fantastic Bluetooth Headset from Jabra that packs in a lot of features at less than half the price of the latest Jawbone Headset. As well as having 2 noise cancelling microphones, the Jabra BT530 has intelligent volume controls that will automatically increase the volume when you enter a noisy environment. The Jabra BT530 is a multipoint headset that allows you to use the headset with two mobile phones at the same time. For more information about multipoint, read our post on ‘What is Multipoint’.
Plantronics Voyager Pro
Like Jabra, Plantronics specialise in Bluetooth headsets and their latest headset, the Voyager Pro is one of their best. It’s a lot smaller in reality than it looks in photo’s and rather than being worn in the ear, the Voyager Pro sits over and behind your ear, making it extremely comfortable – especially on long journeys. The Voyager Pro has two microphones mounted in the boom microphone and as well as using the technology described above to filter out background noise, the Voyager Pro has 3 layers of Wind Shield protection and Audio IQ technology to enhance the sound even further.
Despite iVoice being relatively unheard of, the GX-7 is an excellent little bluetooth headset. At just 42mm long and weighing less than 9g it’s one of the smallest and lightest headsets you can get, but that doesn’t mean it compromises on features. The GX-7 has dual microphones and echo and noise reduction software to eliminate background noise and automatic volume control that increases the volume when you enter a noisy environment. What makes this headset really special is that it supports caller ID, not by way of a screen on the headset, instead it calls out the callers name or number when a call comes in. The GX-7 comes with a USB charger that can be used to charge the headset in the car, at home or using your PC/Laptop.
Jawbone changed the way that noise cancellation in bluetooth headsets worked. Jawbone’s work slightly different to other noise cancelling headsets, as they use a ‘voice activity sensor’ to help make your voice stand out. This sensor needs to maintain contact with the side of your face as it picks up vibrations as you speak. It then uses this information with the sounds picked up from the two microphones to eliminate almost all background noise.
Jawbone Prime is almost the same as the Jawbone 2, but adds multipoint and it doesn’t rely on the voice sensor making contact with your face. The other technologies in the headset have been improved so that you still get excellent results even when the headset isn’t touching you. When it is making contact it gives the noise reduction a boost, improving the audio quality further. Jawbone Prime are available in a wider range of colours too. Named ‘Ear Candy’ the Jawbone Prime is available in Black, White, Yellow, Brown, Red, Green & Purple.
BlueAnt make several very clever Bluetooth Headsets and the V1 is incredibly small when you think of how much is packed into it. While the V1 is promoted more for its voice capabilities, the BlueAnt V1′s noise suppression technology is excellent. It has dual microphones as well as wind noise reduction and echo cancellation. The BlueAnt V1 is a multipoint headset so you can use it with 2 phones at the same time, or have it connected to your PC or games console and quickly and easily take calls from either device. The V1 keeps controls to a bare minimum, with most functions being controlled by talking to the headset. If you get stuck, just ask it for help and it will talk you through most functions!
The BlueAnt Q1 has everything in it that the V1 has with a few extra tweaks and improvements. You can store speed dials in the headset which allows you to quickly and easily call people without having to touch your phone. The noise cancellation technology has been improved too. While it’s not as tiny as the V1, the new shape of the headset helps reduce wind noise and the dual microphones can cope with wind speeds of upto 10mph. The Q1 is also a multipoint headset and can be used with 2 devices at the same time.
Nokia don’t currently make any dual microphone headsets, instead they rely on Digital Signal Processing to improve the qualilty of the audio. The BH-602 stands out from the rest of the Nokia range as it’s the only headset with automatic volume adjustment, so while it’s not going to do as much as the other headsets on this page to make sure that your voice is heard by callers, you won’t need to fiddle around with volume controls when you walk into a noisy room.
Motorola haven’t done much in the way of new handsets in the last 12 months, but they have managed to produce some great accessories. The MotoPure H15 is a compact Bluetooth with a fold away microphone that will answer calls automatically when you unfold it. As with most headsets here it has dual microphone technology to help eliminate background noise. The MotoPure H15 comes with a handy charging desk stand that will charge the headset, but keeps the headset accessible for when a call comes in.
The Motorola Endeavor is due to be released in the next few weeks and is different to any other noise cancelling headset. It features a stealth mode which can be activated as and when needed to really make sure that you’re heard. When the stealth mode is activated, a sensor mounted on the part that sits in your ear uses true bone conduction technology to relay only your voice while knocking out the most extreme noise and wind for a revolutionary premium headset experience. The HX1 is a multipoint headset that can be used with 2 devices at the same time and has voice prompts for ease of use.
If you’ve not seen the headset here that does what you want, take a look at our full range of Bluetooth Headsets. If you’re looking for a Bluetooth Headset that will allow you to listen to music in Stereo using a Bluetooth Headset, then take a look at our Guide to Stereo Bluetooth Headsets on the Blog or view all Stereo Bluetooth Headsets on the main site.