Bluetooth accessory links your iPod and mobile phone, letting you switch between calls and music.
Longtime headset maker Jabra’s BT325s, a Bluetooth headset accessory for iPods and other media players, doesn’t disappoint. It’s not the smallest headset I’ve tested, nor the simplest, nor does it have the most features. However, it does everything well and looks good to boot.
The BT325s connects to your iPod — or any other MP3 player — via the player’s headphone jack, passing audio through to another 3.5 mm output jack, into which you plug your headphones. (Jabra includes a pair of earbuds, but you can use any pair with a standard 3.5 mm jack.) Pairing is simple: press and hold the call-answer button until a blue light comes on, and then set your phone to “discover” mode When prompted by your phone, you enter the a pairing passkey and you’re finished.
When a call comes in to your Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone, the BT325s automatically fades the music out and routes the call audio to the headphones. Three large, rubberized buttons on the BT325s handle all its functions, with some nice advanced features thrown in. In addition to volume controls and call initiation, the BT325s supports voice dialing, call waiting, redialing, mute, and hold functions. I found all to work very well, and to work exactly as I expected; if you’ve ever used a Bluetooth headset before you’ll find this model easy to use.
The Jabra handled switching between calls and music better than any of the other Bluetooth accessories I’ve tested. When a call comes in, music fades down seamlessly, and when you hang up the call, music picks up again. However, since the BT325s relies on your iPod’s headphone jack for audio, rather than the dock-connector port, your tunes won’t be paused while you talk.
The BT325s also provided the best voice quality of the products I’ve tested, both in terms of outbound and inbound audio. The unit’s microphone is built into the main body of the unit, and picks up audio very well. Callers all reported that they could hear me clearly, and I never had any trouble hearing them.
If you have multiple Bluetooth phones, or want to use the same headset with your computer for Skype or other VoIP calling, the BT325s can pair with up to eight devices — probably more than all but the most extreme users will need.
In terms of power, the Jabra claims up to 8 hours of talk time from a two hour charge; however I managed to get only about six hours out of it. Still, that was more than enough for me for daily use. Unless you’re going to be driving and talking for very long stretches (not recommended for many reasons) and are unable to get to a power outlet, the tested time should be plenty long enough (and is, in fact, longer than the talk time of many Bluetooth-enabled phones).
My only real complaint with the Jabra was that its included clip doesn’t attach to clothing very well, especially if you’re wearing a bulky coat. The clip is both difficult to attach and, once attached, can come lose. Still, this was a relatively minor annoyance on an otherwise solid device.
Overall, if you’re looking for a Bluetooth gateway for your iPod and mobile phone, the Jabra is tough to beat. It works with any iPod (or other MP3 player), has great voice quality, and is incredibly simple to use.–Mathew Honan