BSH-100 Headphones Use and Conclusion
PC Headset with Integrated USB Microphone
Using the system as a headset means that you plug in the included USB microphone and don the unit for use with VOIP sessions and general computer chatting. I used the headset with Skype (both chat and VOIP) and found it to be completely adept at communicating with others. The mic had sufficient pickup and the headphones allowed me to hear conversations without creating the "echo effect" for other users - a common occurrence when doing VOIP with loudspeakers. It took me a bit of getting used to the Bluetooth methodology. For example, if the headphones go out of range for too long, go into standby, or the power dies, you have to "re-connect" under "My Bluetooth Places". For some reason, my WindowsXP machine would not automatically reconnect - and this again seemed to be a Bluetooth implementation limitation in WindowsXP rather than an issue with the BSH-100 headset.
Cell Phone Headset
As mentioned in the introduction, one of the coolest aspects of the BSH-100 was its ability to be paired to both the PC USB adapter and a cell phone at the same time. When an incoming call would arrive, the phone would switch over to the incoming cell phone and I could answer the call. By simply pressing the Multi-Function Button you switch back from the cell phone to the PC. This was very impressive when it worked, and rather frustrating when it didn't. As I mentioned previously, cell phone support varies, and the Bluetooth and WindowsXP protocols are not exactly the most user-friendly and robust systems on the planet and so expect to have to reacquire and fiddle with settings any time something changes (battery, power cycling, etc). The bottom line is that quite frequently you had to drop the ANYCOM BSH-100 from the cell phone in order to use the headset on the PC, and vice versa.
Headphones Only - Bluetooth High Quality Audio Mode
Stereo headphone use was a bit more critically reviewed than the headset mode - meaning that now I was listening for fidelity. I am sad to report that there isn't much. These headphones sound like a $0.50 driver with no highs, no lows, and lots of compression. A more robust description is as follows: harsh high frequency response with lack of detail and extension, absence of low frequencies and a boxy midrange. Male vocals appeared to come from behind a thick piece of paper. Upper midrange seemed to be the strength, but an abundance of compression ruined any of the potential positives. I don't mean to be so blunt, but while Bluetooth is not exactly the best thing to hit wireless audio, these headphones do a poor job at pulling out what quality does exist. It is possible that this is part of the trends we've noticed in the industry - providing progress and convenience at the expense of fidelity. If so, then each person will determine the trade-offs they are willing to make. I personally don't know of too many people who equate Bluetooth with quality - this is all about convenience and going "cable-free".
We utilized several source CDs in our listening session including Dave Matthews: Stand Up, Yes: Talk, and Peter Gabriel: So . Compression seemed to run the show and even though we had engaged and configured "Bluetooth High Quality Audio" the results were unimpressive. I checked and rechecked my signal strength (it was always in the "Good" range and not too strong or too weak) but for some reason it always seemed as if the Bluetooth protocol was periodically rendering glitches or compression artifacts on each of the CD tracks.
Gaming was lots of fun with these headphones. I utilized the BSH-100s for various games and found that the BSH-100/USB-200 combo was compatible with OpenAL audio games (Quake 4, Unreal Tournament 2004, etc.) The games sounded good on these headphones and didn't require the fidelity we were looking for with the music evaluations. They won't rock your world with tons of low-end, but if you're looking for that, steer yourself towards a Buttkicker gamer or a 2.1/5.1 system with subwoofer.
The Audio Gateway
The Audio Gateway represented a great way to add external audio sources to your headphones via Bluetooth. As with PC audio or CD sources, the fidelity was identical. It was nice to be able to quickly plug in my Creative Zen MP3 player and get instant wireless music - and I could even "beam" music from the living room into the office through the Bluetooth link. Overall, this is a nice feature. If you don't need this, you can possibly pick up a unit without and drop about $80 off the MSRP, so keep that in mind.
Recharging and Battery Life
The ANYCOM BSH-100 will run for a long time. I had it going for at least 10 hours continuous and switching out batteries is a breeze. Standby time is a ridiculous amount of hours (well over a hundred). Since you have the additional audio gateway which can recharge the drained battery while not in use, you merely swap out batteries as needed. This fact alone makes this an incredibly handy system to have. I can't impress upon readers enough the pain of having to take off your headset and charge it because you forgot the evening before. If you are using both units, simply recharge at night. These are Lithium-ion batteries so there will not be any memory effects.
I love the look and feel of the BSH-100 Bluetooth headset. I love the ease of use when using it for VOIP and the automatic call interrupt from a paired cell phone is worth its weight in gold (when it works). The Audio Gateway allows for remote sourcing of audio devices at up to 30 feet away (for real). The real negative is audio fidelity for music listening. These aren't audiophile headphones and that should be kept in mind. If, however, your goal is to get a very functional headset for VOIP and cell phone support and you can wrangle the Bluetooth beast - this is your product.
USB-200 Blue USB Adapter Bluetooth
About ANYCOM Technologies Inc.
ANYCOM Technologies, Inc. is headquartered in Newport Beach, Calif. Dedicated to manufacturing the latest in comprehensive Bluetooth technology, ANYCOM offers a wide range of Bluetooth products, including headsets, USB adapters and compact flash cards. For more information, please visit www.anycom.com.
The Score Card
The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:
Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating
Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.
Audioholics Rating Scale
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