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BlueAnt Z9i Bluetooth Headset Review

blueant-logo blueant-z9i-box

Let me cut to the chase:  This is the best headset I ever used.  If you want to read on to see why, feel free, or you can stop now and just buy one.

 

In the Box

blueant-z9i-box-contents

The box contains two ear clips, two different sized ear pieces, an AC wall charger, USB cable, user guide and the headset itself.  I believe that since BT headsets are primarily used in cars that a car charger should be included.  But it is an extra option in this case. 

Product Features

The Z9i features:

  • Revolutionary noise suppression, echo cancellation and wind noise reduction
  • Switch between 2 ‘Voice Isolation’ modes – standard & max
  • Multipoint connection technology
  • Wind Noise Reduction
  • Multiple ear buds & rubber, ergonomic ear hooks
  • Pairs with 5 devices

    Design and Fit

    b_left_img

    To begin with, the BlueAnt is diminutive at 1.61″ x .68″ x .44″ and weighs a mere .38 oz.  Once you choose between the two ear buds, a small or large, and adjust the ear hook to your taste, you won’t even know it’s on.  The ear bud rests in your ear, similar to in-ear headphones, but don’t go as far in.  The ear hook holds it in place nicely.  The ear buds screw in and out and are easy to remove.  The ear hook is fully adjustable.  You can push it in to make it tighter around your ear, and it also swivels so you can adjust the angle the headset rests at.

    EarBudUnscrewed

    BlueAnt takes a minimalist approach in it’s design.  The top features the dedicated volume up and down buttons.  The outside has a multi-function button (MFB) that controls just about anything you want to do.  The rear has a proprietary USB connector.

    TopView

    I find that the best products are those that are so well designed that they are easy to use.  Don’t confuse BlueAnt’s design as merely simple, however.  It’s just very well thought-out and perfectly executed.  Everything makes sense. 

    Underside

    Technology

    The Z9i features BlueAnt’s Digital Signal Processing solution – Voice Isolation Technology, which is supposed to provide outstanding noise suppression, echo cancellation and wind noise reduction.  It also offers the Voice Isolation Max feature, which is like putting it into turbo noise isolation mode. 

    By default the Standard Voice Isolation mode is working.  If you find the need to kick it up a bit, you press the MFB button for 1 second while on a call, and you will hear a voice telling you that you have activated Voice Isolation Max. 

    You can have two phones connected at the same time and if either rings you can answer that call.  If the second one rings you can put the first on hold and switch to the second.

    Many other features are included such as:

    • different ringtones for known and unknown contacts
    • innovative tie clip for attaching to shirt when not in use
    • firmware upgrade via USB on your PC
    • connect to two phones at one time
    • rated talk time 5.5 hrs, standby time 8.3 days

    Sound Quality

    We have discussed it’s features, ease of use, great design and technology.  These qualities come together perfectly to give you a wonderful sound experience.  The quality was so good that I found it better than using my phone directly.  The sound was loud enough, smooth and crystal clear.  There is no hint of echo, or “digitized sound.”  It feels like everyone is next door.  The people I called agreed.  On their end the headset sounded great.  There was no lag between my talking and their hearing.  Sometimes on my old BT headset I have to say something and wait to make sure the other party has heard me.  And I find that leads to lots of cross talk where we both talk and subsequently don’t understand each other.  The Z9i doesn’t suffer from these issues.

    I tried the Max Noise Isolation while in my car.  I found a station with static and turned it up loudly.  The caller on the other end heard me better, though sound quality may suffer a bit, as it becomes slightly digitized.  However, what you give up in sound quality is made up by clearer voice.

    Again, this headset has provided the best sound quality of any BT headset I’ve ever tried.

    Conclusion

    The BlueAnt has been a pleasure to use.  Its simple, yet elegant and lightweight design fits great and is a joy to use.  Above all, the sound quality is excellent.  The only thing I would love to see is the same on/off feature contained in my Motorola H700, which has a foldable boom mike that connects to your phone when you open it, and disconnects when you close it.  Most BT headsets, the Z9i included, turn on and off when you press the MFB button for several seconds.  That’s fine if you turn it on and keep it on all day, but I don’t.  I like to leave it off until a phone call comes in.  I then simply open the boom and answer the phone.  Other than that, this is simply the best sounding and fitting BT headset I’ve used.  I highly recommend it.

     

    The BlueAnt Z9i retails for $119.99, but the streetprice is less.  Amazon has it for $71.29, JR has it for $79.99.  Visit the BlueAnt website for more.

     

    Pros

    • great sound
    • great fit
    • lightweight and small
    • easy to use

    Cons

    • proprietary USB connector
    • No car charger included
    • No instant connect

     

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    July 13, 2008 - Posted by | Bluetooth, Headsets, Reviews

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