Not everyone likes having a Bluetooth headset hanging off their ear, but those who drive for a living deal with wind and noise that impairs conversations when doing their jobs. Manufacturers seem to have taken notice, using the word "extreme" to highlight the rugged performances of these headsets.
Available at: Best Buy, Future Shop, The Source, Rogers, Bell, Telus, TBooth and Wireless Wave
As an "extreme" headset, the T1 achieves better clarity than arguably any other previous unit from BlueAnt. Setup was a breeze, thanks to spoken instructions into the headset after first turning it on. With windows down on both sides and blaring music on a highway, callers still heard me clearly, even if I didn't raise my voice that much.
Even so, with enough wind speed, there is a compulsion to raise your voice just to hear yourself speak. Background noise was still audible, and my voice sounded distant at times, but conversations weren't overly affected with the T1. Built-in voice commands simplify making and taking calls, which don't even require looking at the phone. Battery levels for both the phone and T1 could be checked this way too.
A2DP streaming also helps the T1 interact with other features of the phone, including turn-by-turn directions, voice prompts and smartphone apps that can stream audio.
Motorola Endeavor HX1
Available at: Future Shop
Of the three headsets, the overpriced HX1 is the only one that had an earpiece that actually digs into the ear canal, which may be a deal-breaker for some consumers. While I found it fairly comfortable, others who tried it on were not convinced.
The HX1 combines military technology in bone conduction with Motorola's own CrystalTalk to offer clarity and noise-reduction. This "stealth mode" feature can be toggled on and off at will by pressing the silvered button on the side of the unit. Once on, background noise is almost completely shut out - I was stunned callers couldn't tell I was driving with all the windows down on a highway on stealth mode. Blaring music made no difference, either.
But callers also complained that my voice sounded muffled and distant, causing me to repeat myself often. Quieter drives didn't require stealth mode, as CrystalTalk performed really well.
Available at: Best Buy, Future Shop, The Source
Easily the most uncomfortable of the three headsets to wear for me, the Jabra Extreme has a design that won't appeal to everyone. Still, it proves to be a very capable headset that doesn't require toggling noise-cancelling on or off.
Though background noise could be heard, callers were quick to say that my voice overpowered the wind and sounded natural. Dips and interference hurt consistency, but not enough to really hinder conversations in any meaningful way. Callers sounded clear, except the default volume wasn't loud enough, especially in louder ambient noise. Typical options like making calls, taking calls, redial and muting from the Extreme are offered, but no voice prompts to direct you.
Like the other two headsets, the Extreme has multipoint, which allows two phones to be paired with the headset at the same time. A2DP support is also here, and works seamlessly with supported phones and apps.