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BlueAnt Q1 review

The bluetooth headset market is crowded these days with top brands putting out some great designs. BlueAnt thinks it has something special to offer with the Q1, which won a CES 2010 Innovations Award and boasts voice control.  We put it through its paces to see if it could talk us into setting it above the pack.

What’s in the BlueAnt Q1 box?

The Q1 comes in a smart display case, which BlueAnt ecologically mention can be re-purposed into a vase or other container.  Nice touch.  Inside the box is the headset, a brief guide, earhook, USB cable and charger.

The Q1 feels smart and solid with a brushed black metallic finish.  It may not have the design exuberance of Aliph’s Jawbone, but it still looks sleek and expensive.

Setup and voice control of the BlueAnt Q1

Of course the unique aspect of the Q1 is its voice control, which applies not only to you voice-controlling the Q1, but to the Q1 instructing you as well.  When you turn on the Q1 for the first time it beeps a little, like all headsets but then settles into its spoken voice.  Setup and pairing was straightforward as the Q1 asked me to put my phone into pairing mode and then made the connection.  When connected, the Q1 told me so, instead of flashing or beeping at me.

The Q1 has preset voice commands for call functions such as redial or activating phone speed dial numbers and it usefully has one for checking the battery level too.  To engage the voice controls, you simply push the multi-function button and say the command when prompted.   The multi-function button controls call pickup, rejection and hang-up as well, but you can also say “answer” or “ignore” to pick-up or reject an incoming call.

It might seem like a simple idea but after a period of using the Q1 it feels natural that all headsets should work this way.  It’s far more natural than trying to remember that three beeps and a blue flash means you’re paired, while three beeps and a red flash means the battery is low!

Using the BlueAnt Q1

When wearing the Q1 I found that it sat in my ear comfortably without needing the earhook attachment.  This is definitely a matter of taste; I used to wear Samsung’s excellent but tiny WEP200 in the same way but some people find the earhook to be a necessity.

Call quality was extremely good with no breakups until at the limit of the Q1’s range.  Callers were able to hear me clearly and likewise I heard them well too.  The Q1’s sound quality was definitely better than the earpiece of my BlackBerry Bold, which can be a little muffled and bass heavy at times.  The Q1’s ear speaker seems either designed to roll off bass frequencies or accentuate the frequencies which deliver vocal clarity, i.e. those around 800-2,000Hz.  Whichever is taking place, the Q1 delivered a clear vocal to my ear.

That situation did deteriorate outdoors where callers reported some instances of not being able to hear me clearly as I walked the noisy streets of New York.  The Q1 continued to be usable outdoors however, although it did struggle to hear my voice controls amidst a busy sidewalk with nearby honking taxis.

There is also a firmware upgrade available for the Q1 on BlueAnt’s site.  Amongst other enhancements the upgrade enables A2DP audio streaming so you can use the Q1 to listen to podcasts, which is a nice touch.

Rhythm & blues, or just a case of the blues?

Overall the BlueAnt Q1 is an extremely impressive headset and worthy of its CES 2010 Innovations Award.  At a street price of around $90 it is more expensive than typical bluetooth headsets, but for heavy callers looking for a quality design or gadget lovers in search of something unique, the Q1 is a great buy.  Now if only it really did sing Rhythm & Blues instead of just talking…

Neil Berman


Feb 18, 2010 - Posted by | Hardware, Mobile, Reviews, Video Features | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] WEP301 Bluetooth headset review We recently reviewed the Aliph Jawbone ICON and BlueAnt Q1 Bluetooth headsets, which are both high end devices at the top of their game. While those headsets […]

    Pingback by Samsung WEP301 Bluetooth headset review « theONbutton | Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

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