One of the more popular wireless gadgets to appear in recent years is the Bluetooth headphone. The wireless headphone is not a new concept but Bluetooth provides it with many advantages over the older models. The main advantages are the clearer reception from using a digital signal and the ability to receive music from many different players, including mobiles phones. Before purchasing a Bluetooth headphone, consumers should know a little about the technology and the extra features that separate the good headphones from the others.
Bluetooth is a wireless standard used to connect multiple devices over short distances. It is essentially a digital signal sent over radio waves, which provides the benefits of radio without the problems. It is used for mobile phones, music players, laptops, digital cameras, and many other wireless devices. There are several different versions of the standard, called Bluetooth profiles. Devices must support a compatible profile to communicate with each other and they must also be within range of each other, usually no more than thirty feet away.
A Bluetooth headphone is just one way to enjoy the benefits of wireless music. Other setups use cables, infrared, or FM radio to send the music to the headphone. Bluetooth has many benefits over these other setups. Cables limit the movement of the listener and can easily be tripped over. Infrared has a very short range and both devices must be in sight of each other. FM radio can suffer from static and other forms of interference. The digital Bluetooth signal does not suffer from interference and can be received even through walls and floors.
When choosing a Bluetooth headphone, there are a few additional features to consider along with comfort and sound quality. A rechargeable battery eliminates the hassle of changing batteries every few hours. Playing time is dependent on the size of the battery but should be more than six hours. A base station that doubles as a charger is better than having a separate charger, which can be easily misplaced. Charging time also depends on the size of the battery but should be less than two hours. A small flashing light which indicates when the headphone is operating can save time solving problems with the reception.
Head support is another feature to consider when choosing a Bluetooth headphone. The traditional headband is still a popular choice but an increasing number of headphones now have the more fashionable neckband, which has a lower profile and is less visible. A headband is better for supporting a heavy headphone, especially if it contains a large battery. A neckband is better for jogging or working out at the gym, which can cause a headband support to slip off. Whatever type of head support is used, it should have adequate padding and be fully adjustable to provide maximum comfort.
Setting up a Bluetooth headphone is a simple matter of connecting the base station to the music player, charging the headphone, and then pairing the headphone with the base station. Music players with integrated Bluetooth support can be used without the base station. Before two Bluetooth devices can begin communicating with each other they need to be linked in a process called pairing. The devices are brought within range and a button is pressed on one to exchange a unique password with the other. Once they have been paired, the devices will automatically identify each other next time they are within range.
Bluetooth is a great way of connecting wireless devices but there are a few problem areas that users need to be aware of. Devices will not communicate if they have incompatible Bluetooth profiles. This can happen if one device is much older than the other or if they are not similar. Devices will also not communicate if they have not been paired with each other first. Another common source of trouble is a flat battery. Wireless devices will not operate without a source of power so regular battery charging is essential.