capsule review

Lenntek Hookup Lanyard

At a Glance
  • Lenntek Hookup Lanyard

The Hookup Lanyard is a slim, attractive, Bluetooth-enabled headset designed specifically for the iPod nano (though it also worked with a fifth-generation [5G] iPod I tested). As with Apple's own Apple iPod nano Lanyard Headphones, a lanyard loops around your neck, and holds both the Hookup and a connected nano. Three buttons on the side of the Hookup let you control volume and connect to and disconnect from calls on your mobile phone. Pairing was quite simple. Depress the main button on the side of the unit, set your phone to discover, and enter a four-digit key.

Instead of using your iPod's headphone jack for an audio connection, as most similar devices do, the Hookup Lanyard connects directly to your iPod nano's dock-connector port. The additional control provided by the dock-connector port should have several advantages over the simple audio-passthrough provided by a headphone connection; for example, the Hookup could pause songs rather than merely muting the audio. However, aside from controlling the iPod's volume, the Hookup makes little use of its dock-connector access.

On the other hand, the Lookup does use the dock-connector port in a different way: for power. An advantage to this approach is that you never need to charge the Hookup itself; it runs off of your iPod's battery. The obvious disadvantage here is that the Hookup drains your iPod's battery more quickly.

The Lanyard's integrated headphones are on par with the earbuds that come with the iPod in terms of sound quality; which is to say, they aren't great. And since the microphone is built into the headphones, you're stuck with these 'buds. If you've splurged and bought yourself a premium pair of in-ear headphones, you won't be able to use them with the Hookup Lanyard.

Nor is the microphone very good for making calls. This unit was the only one of the three I recently tested that generated complaints from those I tried calling. Although I could hear callers perfectly well, I repeatedly had callers tell me they were having trouble hearing me. Finally, the Hookup Lanyard lacks any advanced calling features, such as support for voice dialing.

Although I don't recommend against the Hookup Lanyard, I do suggest you also consider similar products, most notably the Bluetooth gateway from Jabra. Basically, if you want something sleek and sexy that works with your iPod, the Hookup is a good fit, so to speak. But if you prefer call quality, or want to use your own headphones, look elsewhere.
--Mathew Honan

At a Glance
  • Bluetooth accessory links your iPod and mobile phone, letting you switch between calls and music.

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