Say What?

BlueAnt Q1

Do you fumble with your Bluetooth headset because you can’t remember how many times you’re supposed to press the tiny buttons? Or do you find yourself repeatedly taking the headset off your ear because you can’t distinguish the buttons just by touch?

Unfortunately, those are common complaints with Bluetooth headsets. BlueAnt’s Q1 headset promises to remedy those issues by making the commands almost entirely voice controlled.

I was highly dubious about this approach before I tried the Q1. What would I do in an exceptionally noisy environment if the Q1 couldn’t understand me? Would I miss the call? And how would I remember all the different voice commands, especially if I used the headset only occasionally?

BlueAnt has addressed the problem of exceptionally noisy environments — as well as situations where it may be awkward to speak out loud — by providing dual methods for dealing with incoming calls. Using the voice commands, you can say “answer” to accept the call or “ignore” to reject the call. Alternatively, you can press the Q1’s big button once to accept the call or twice to reject it. Both methods worked fine for me.

Remembering the commands hasn’t been an issue either. Hold that same button down until you hear the Q1 say, “Say a command.” Then if you ask “What can I say,” you’ll hear the available voice commands, which include tasks such as “call back,” redial,” “check battery,” and “settings menu.” “Teach me” initiates an audio tutorial. “Pair me” pairs the headset with your phone (it can handle two phones simultaneously and remember as many as eight different devices). “Call speed dial 3″ automatically dials one of your eight stored speed dial numbers.

The only times I ran into problems with the Q1 understanding me was when I was in an exceptionally noisy environment or when I didn’t have the headset positioned properly toward my mouth. You need to have the two microphones lined up for it to understand your voice commands or for the built-in noise suppression to function effectively. The detachable ear hook is handy for when you’re physically active, though I found the two different-sized ear tips did a pretty good job of holding the headset in place.

Most importantly, the audio clarity has been consistently top-notch for both ends of the conversation. If you don’t mind the price (it lists for $129), the Q1 is well worth considering.

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