EDIT: Please see the comments for updates on my two complaints.
The BlueAnt V1 is the best bluetooth headset I've used to date. Then again, it's the first one I've dropped over $120 on. I bought mine when they were pretty fresh though, and a new V1 can now be had for around $80. At this price, it is one of the best bang-for-the-buck values in the bluetooth headset market. This model has been available for some time, but I think the drop in cost warrants another look at the V1. It still sits near the front line of bluetooth tech.
Before I start gushing about all of the V1 features I adore, I need to get a few qualms out of the way. There are two primary problems I have with this device. First, it doesn't allow true voice dialing. I can't say, ?Call Frank,? and expect the V1's BlueGenie software to interpret that and seek out the name in my contact list, or to send the command to any voice dialing software on my phone.
There are a limited number of phrases the headset is designed to understand, and the user needs to learn them. ?Speed dial number two,? will work, but I'm pretty lazy when it comes to drawn-out set-up procedures. So I basically neglect the voice dialing capabilities. More a fault of my own than of the V1, I suppose. It is possible to set up your speed dial numbers on the headset, in case you don't want to change these settings on your phone, but I haven't yet explored this option. Again, laziness. "Call home," and "Call office," are probably worth setting up.
The second, and much more significant complaint, is the way the V1 often fails to recognize the end of a call if the person on the other end hangs up first. Maybe 50% of the time, the V1 thinks the call is still active, and my available options reflect this. I can't even turn the device off when this occurs. I've experimented with several phones, and the case has been the same with each.
The only way to disconnect a hanging call is to dial a new number. Then, the V1 tells me that the first call has been terminated, and only then can I go about my business. I am constantly reminding myself to hit the end button before the person I'm talking to has a chance. ?O.K., talk to you lat[click].? This is a serious problem that cannot be ignored.
I haven't upgraded my firmware because of a BlueAnt site navigation flaw that sends seekers of V1 downloads in a small, frustrating circle. If this call termination issue hasn't been addressed, BlueAnt, you've gotta fix this. And seriously, why can't I find the firmware upgrade?
With that out of the way, let me tell you that the V1 is a very cool accessory. It's controlled almost entirely by voice commands, it's comfortable, it delivers high-quality audio on both ends, and it looks amazing. The little ant logo lights up red when he's charging up or running out of juice, and blinks a cool LED blue for other status indicators.
The ant logo sits on a button. Pressing it serves different functions, depending on the current state of your phone. It can be clicked to disconnect calls, send a call back to your phone, change voice isolation and noise canceling settings, and to perform a few other actions. But it's primary purpose is to ready the headset for your voice commands. When not in a call, a single press of the button, and the V1 will greet you with the prompt, ?Say a command.?
There are a lot of things you can say at this point; pair me, switch headset off, and call Goog-411 are a few examples. If you can't remember the correct phrase for the command you want to execute, just say ?What can I say?? or ?Teach me.? The quick start guide alone will be more than enough to get most people up and running for good.
See the V1 in action by checking out BlueAnt's promotional video here. Or, browse their product page.
The V1 comes with an AC adapter, a car charger, two USB charging cables, and a miniUSB-to-proprietary USB adapter, in case you lose the included cables. There are also some extra earpiece covers, two of which are foam tips, for those who prefer the cone-shaped buds that sit deeper in the ear and expand to fit the contours of the canal. These also help to eliminate the need for the included ear hook.
With cool (if a bit retro for some of you) styling, more-than-adequate audio quality and voice isolation, as well as excellent voice command technology, I consider the V1 the best bluetooth deal going. At $80, I call it a bargain.
I bought mine with the intent of reviewing and selling, but the V1 has become indispensable in my daily routine?especially since the passing of laws that require hands-free devices for calls made while driving. (You really should use a bluetooth headset, even if hand-held phone calls during a drive are permitted in your area.) I kept putting this review off, because I thought I'd have to sell the V1 once it was written. Now that it is, I don't think I'm quite ready to let my BlueAnt go.