How-To: A Non-Bluetooth Wireless Headset for a Mobile Phone

Nexus 5 & Logitech H820eA few days back someone over at the DSL Reports VoIP Forum posed a question. Along with expressing some frustration with Bluetooth headsets, they asked how they might use a wireless headset that was not based upon Bluetooth with a mobile phone?

That is a curious question. I certainly understand that people can be frustrated with Bluetooth headsets. It’s something that I have suffered now and then.

Class 2 Bluetooth, which is limited to 2.5 mW radiated power, is the most common variety. It’s supposed to deliver a 10 foot range. That’s fine when a mobile phone is in your pocket, but inadequate when it’s on your desk and you need to refill your coffee.

Class 1 Bluetooth kicks the RF power up to 100mW, aiming to allow you to wander up to 100 feet from the host device. Unfortunately, to achieve this freedom to roam, both the host and the headset must be class 1 devices. AFAIK, no mobile phone has ever had a class 1 Bluetooth radio.

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Polycom Revisits DECT with the VVX D60

vvx-d60-tb-com-650x500-enusToday saw the introduction of a new model in Polycom’s VVX Business Media phones. The Poycom VVX D60 is described as a “wireless accessory” to compliment the existing VVX series of desk phones.

Examining the brochure it seems that the D60 works along side the VVX-300/400/500/600. It requires that the desk phone be running UC Software v5.4.1A or newer. The D60 is actually setup via the VVX web interface.

The feature set of the D60 closely matches the VVX series. Some of the highlights that catch my eye include:

  • Two-port Ethernet switch (10/100 mb)
  • Support for P.O.E.
  • Support for HDVoice (G.722)
  • Support for up to 5 cordless handsets
  • Support for 5 lines per handset
  • Up to 4 simultaneous calls
  • Provisioning via the VVX desk phone
  • Close integration with the VVX desk phone

Since I have the VVX-500 and 600 models hereabouts I certainly see a lot to like in the D60. I think that the D60 could be very well received by SOHO users. It’s certainly an interesting alternative to a DECT headset.

I’m curious about pricing, which doesn’t seem to be available as yet. Rest assured that I’ll be trying to acquire a D60 for review.

The idea of a DECT handset that pairs with a desk phone is not new. I once used an Aastra 480i CT that had a DECT base built into the desk phone and a small cordless handset. Ultimately that cordless handset was less than satisfactory as too many common functions were buried in menus or simply not available.

The Gigaset DX800a also has a built-in DECT based, supporting the use of any of the Gigaset DECT handsets. However, Gigaset’s US presence has faltered, making their offering less than appealing to North American users.

Gigaset Pro Introduces Maxwell 10 Android Tablet & Phone

Gigaset Pro MaxwellEarlier this week Gigaset extended their Gigaset Pro line by adding a new 10” Android tablet they call Maxwell. I must say that at first glance the device looks VERY nice.

As just an Android tablet Maxwell is a little unremarkable. The display is 1280 x 800 pixels. It runs Android 4.2.2, aka Jelly Bean, which is a little old on the eve of widespread Lollipop rollout.

What makes Maxwell stand out from the crowded tablet marketplace are the customizations intended to make it a communication centerpiece. These include;

  • Ethernet interface with POE support
  • Ethernet pass-through
  • Wired handset (RJ9)
  • EHS & DHSG connectivity
  • Bluetooth & wired headset connectivity (RJ9)
  • Audio augmented by a large speaker in its back
  • Built-in DECT base radio
  • Optional DECT handset
  • Desk stand
  • Wall mount capability
  • Gigaset Pro telephone app
  • Micro-HDMI output for a larger monitor
  • 2x USB host ports (supports external camera, keyboard, mouse, etc)

Color me curious about this tablet. I’d simply love to lay hands on one. I suspect that won’t happen since their Gigaset Pro line has not been offered in North America. The only thing that made it to these shores was the Gigaset DX800A. Lacking for a well-developed retail channel I don’t think that it did very well.

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Deal Alert Revisited: Logitech H820e Cordless Headset

I don’t normally like to repeat myself, but you may recall that about ten days ago I tipped you to a deal on the Logitech H820e cordless DECT headset? That deal, which was $79, eventually expired. Today I see that the same reseller is making the offer again. This time it’s priced at just $69, with no shipping!

Again, these are “recertified” devices with a 90 day warranty. They are USB plug-and-play, HDVoice-capable, Microsoft® Lync™ and Cisco® compatible. They should work with any soft client. Logitech also claims up to 10 hours of talk time and 300 feet of walkabout range.

This time I could not resist. I ordered a couple. One for me to try and one to be gifted onward.

VTech…Really? Yes, VTech!

vtech-vs704-erisstation“Well, surprise…surprise!” – Gomer Pyle, USMC

You might know VTech from the telephone aisle at your nearest big box retailer. The Vancouver-based company has been a powerhouse in the affordable cordless phone space. Also the kiddy-centric game console space. But did you know that VTech makes business phones? And conference phones, too…apparently.

I didn’t until I recently read something on No Jitter where Graham Williams, VP of Business Phones, was interviewed on the topic of Better Audio Conferences. This was followed up today by a First Look post from VoIP Supply that provides some info on their various business products.

The companies VS704 ErisStation Conference Phone, with four detachable DECT microphones, looks especially interesting.

Who says there’s nothing new under the sun?

Deal Alert: Logitech H820e Cordless Headset

logitech-wireless-headset-dual-h820erightLong have I harped on the merits of a headset in business communication. I also like to move around while on longer calls, which makes a cordless headset very attractive. While I do appreciate the finer qualities of my Sennheiser DW Pro 2, I also accept that it’s a costly beast. So that ability to recommend a less costly option is also appealing.

Today Daily Steals is offering the dual-earpiece version of Logitech H820e DECT cordless headset for just $79. That’s down from $199 MSRP. It is currently listed on Amazon at around $161.

This is a DECT based headset that connects to a computer via USB 2.0. Thus it can be used with any soft client you can name, including; Blink, Bria, GotoMeeting, Hangouts, Jitsi, Lync, Skype, etc.

It’s wideband-capable and has a battery life that will likely outlast your voice. The cordless range, reported as up to 100m, should be more than adequate.

Some might prefer the single ear model to this dual-ear version, but at this price why be picky. The dual-ear version is still in mono, but better at isolating the user from noisy surroundings.

The product being offered is “recertified”, with a 90 day warranty. The deal is only valid through to the end of this afternoon.

Update: this deal has been extended and now seems to be running through to June 2nd.