I’ve been searching for the perfectÂ mobile headset for many months now.Â My criteria: it has to be audible to me and the people I’m calling in noisy environments, small, able to work with both my PC and my mobile, and comfortable to wear.Â To date, I’ve owned the original Motorola HS-810 (four of them actually, because they kept breaking), and the Nokia HS-26W.Â After four broken Motorola’s IÂ gave up on them.Â The Nokia seemed quite good until friends complained of an echo on the call.Â A little diagnosis revealed that the Nokia headset was the culprit.
It was time for a new headset, and time to do a littleÂ research.
Very quickly I zeroed in on Cardo Wireless, an innovative manufacturer of bluetooth devices from Pennsylvania.Â Although best known for the Cardo Scala Rider, a headset for motorcyclists, theirÂ Scala 500 and Scala 700 were alsoÂ winning rave reviews.Â
A quick trip to EBay, and I grabbed one of these babies forÂ US$36.99 + shipping.Â Yesterday it arrived.Â
The package consists of the headset itself, a moldable wire earloop, charger + USB cable for charging fromÂ a PC, and a curious little neoprene carry case.Â You can see a photo of the headset on the right.
First impression?Â It’s tiny.Â At 0.4 oz, and 1.5 inches long, it’s by far the smallest headset I’ve ever owned.Â By comparison, the Nokia and Motorola headsets are enormous.
How does it perform, you ask?Â
Audibility of theÂ Scala 700 is great. When compared to my old Nokia or Motorola headsets, it’s a hands down champ.Â There are two reasons for this.Â One, of course, is the moldable ear loop.Â You can simply bend the earloop to fit your ear, holding the headset snugly against your head.Â It’s possible to lean your head from side to side with the Cardo, without the headset moving.Â That means you will always hear the personÂ you’re speaking with.Â Â The Nokia and Motorola headsetsÂ with their softÂ soft rubber earloops, by comparision, fall out every time.Â Best of all, because the Cardo is so light and snug, you often don’t even notice you’re wearing it.
The other reason for the great sound quality is the speaker itself.Â In the photo below, note the small size of theÂ speaker used in the Nokia and Motorola units, plus theÂ tiny holes that the sound must travel through.Â Compare that to the large, earbud-style speaker on the Scala 700.Â It’s no wonder that the sound quality is so good.Â In fact, yesterday I used the Scala 700 in a crowded tradeshow floor environment, and was able to hear and converse without any trouble.
The Scala also excels at pairing with multiple devices.Â For instance, it’s currently paired with my desktop PC, and my Blackberry.Â Making Skype calls with the headset is easy — just make them the way you normally would.Â If you decide to make a call with your handset, instead,Â a quick double press of the volume wheel causes the headset to switch to another configured Bluetooth device.Â You can have up to 8.
The Scala 700 is a winner.Â Not only does it have great features, great sound, and great comfort, but at under $50 it’s a price leader is well.Â Take a pass on the expensive accessories offered by your cellphone retailer (check out the inflated prices Rogers charges for a headset), head to EBay and grab one of these before they’re sold out.Â You won’t regret it.