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Over the past couple of weeks, I have been bouncing back and forth between Samsung's new WEP470 bluetooth earpiece ($39.99), and their WEP870 ($89.99). I did not get a chance to check out the middle child - the WEP850, which runs $69.99, but I feel like I have a decent understanding of the line.

The features consistant across WEP gadgets are simple setup, noise/echo cancellation, and three controls: volume rocker, power switch, and multi-function button. The quality of these features, most notably the cancellation technology, does vary from model to model, but not so drastically as to warrant a $50 difference in the price tag. I found the earhooks of both units a little too stiff and hard. (cont.)


                                   WEP470

The extra cash for the 870 goes towards dual microphones, simultaneous connections to multiple devices, and some funky, lanyard ear bud getup. That last one threw me. As much as I liked having earbuds wirelessly connected via bluetooth earpiece, I had trouble keeping the earpiece under control and the lanyard/audio cable was a bit of a hassle. Should I leave this thing dangling and bouncing around my neck? How do I use this in bed without feeling like I'm trapped in a spider web? (cont.)


                                                         WEP870

It was because of these questions that I preferred the 470. It's simple to use, affordable, and gave me decent quality connections. It does what it's supposed to and doesn't bother with adornment. I did experience occasional static with both devices, but nothing intolerable. I also went out of my way to test in diverse conditions and on several phones. There was no consistent cause and effect relationship between environment and static; at least not that I could detect. So I won't blame the review units. There are too many factors to consider, and it was not a persistent problem.

As important as bluetooth audio may be for music lovers, when it comes to phone calls and managing the device, I'd replace my old, high-end Blueant V1 before buying the 870. They're both hovering around the same price point right now, and I just don't listen to tunes over bluetooth. But if you want to listen to your music mobile and wireless and don't mind (what I found to be) an awkward bundle of string and cable, the 870 is a seriously tempting option.

I give the 470 a thumbs up as an affordable, easy to use bluetooth earpiece.
The 870 gets a thumbs sideways because all that gear just isn't for me and I think you can get better for your money. Then again, I do not currently use bluetooth for music.


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