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> Review :: Nextlink Bluespoon 5G Bluetooth Headset, Rating 3.5 out of 5
post Aug 28 2005, 11:01 PM
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Bluespoon 5G Bluetooth Headset
By Nextlink
MGN Rating -

Rating Legend

1 star: Find something else; save your money
2 star: Below average; not recommended
3 star: Average; performs as advertised but not inspiring
4 star: Good; worth the money
5 star: Great; best of its kind on the market

Review by Smeg36
Review Date / August 28th, 2005

I have been a huge fan of Nextlink’s Bluespoon brand of Bluetooth headsets for a while now. I have been using a Bluespoon AX for a year, and love it. It has everything I wanted in a headset; loud volume, comfortable fit, and inconspicuous design. The Bluespoon AX was the smallest headset in the world, until the Bluespoon 5G came along. So it was with great excitement that I began testing the Bluespoon 5G, the worlds smallest Bluetooth headset. Weighing in at just 5 grams, hence the 5G name, the 5G is not only extremely small but extremely light. Here is what Nextlink says about the 5G:

Bluespoon™ 5G is very small and discrete device with a weight of 5,85 grams. It is 30 mm long and 17 mm wide. The size and weight make this device the smallest and lightest headset in the world. It is based in a two buttons interface used to control functionality of the headset. It has a user Ex-changeable cylindrical NI-Mh battery. The batteries are charged by a special designed external charging cradle. It has a talk time of about 2 hours and up to 100 hours of standby time. Bluespoon™ 5G is designed to be used both for the right and left ear. Bluespoon™ 5G is a high quality headset, supporting headset and handsfree profile, making it compatible with all Bluetooth cellular phones on the market.

Nextlink, makers of the 5G, are know for their amazing customer service. My experience was no different. My headset shipped from Denmark on Monday, and I had it in my greedy hands on Wednesday. You can’t beat the speed with which my headset was dispatched. The initial headset I received had some major problems with static on all the devices I tested it with. Nextlink had it replaced in no time. I shipped it back to them in Denmark on a Monday, and had the replacement by Friday the same week. Every time I needed to contact Nextlink with a question, the response was very prompt and answered my question. These days, online retailers offering that quality of customer service is rare. This is a major plus for Nextlink.

The package the 5G comes in is very professional. Included in the box is the quick start guide, user’s guide, the USB to 4 pin miniUSB charging cable and battery cradle, a very nice metal carrying case, a cloth carrying pouch, 4 batteries, two different size soft springs, and the headset.

Obviously, the first thing I noticed when I giddily opened the box was the size. It just hits you like a brick, albeit a very small brick. You are expecting a small headset, but nothing can prepare you for the size of this thing. As I said, I have been using the AX for a year now, so I was used to small. The 5G is so much smaller than any other headset, even the AX. Anyone coming from a Motorola or Jabra headset, or the like, is in for a huge shock. The headset is small, light, and everything I had hoped it would be in appearance.

Nextlink utilizes the same “soft spring” that was used with the AX to hold the headset in your ear. So I was able to just pop the soft spring off my AX and onto my 5G, which saved me from having to break in another soft spring to my ear shape.

I really love the soft spring. One of my biggest complaints with other BT headsets is the ear hook. It is dreadfully uncomfortable for me. The other huge complaint is sound volume. Most headsets just have the speaker sitting on the outside of your ear, and the volume is horrible. With the soft spring, the 5G actually puts the speaker in your ear, much like an earbud style headphone. There are two different sizes soft springs included in the package, so you decide which one you find more comfortable.

While the volume of the 5G isn’t as loud as it was on the AX, it is more than loud enough. On the AX, I had to turn the volume down a couple notches. With the 5G, I find the highest volume is perfect for any loud situation.

The batteries charge in an external cradle, which can charge two batteries at a time. This means you have to open the headset and take the battery out and put a charged one in it when it runs out of juice. Due to the extremely small size, there is nowhere to plug a charger into the headset. You can view a video on how to remove the battery on Nextlink’s Support page. It is pretty easy to do after you get the hang of it. I am able to change batteries while driving no problem after a months use.

The batteries are rated at 2 hours of usage, and that is pretty close to what I got. When listening to music through the headset I got about 1 hour 20 minutes, which is understandable because constant sound is coming out of the speaker. When using it for calls, sound isn't constantly coming out of the speaker. Using it strictly for calls resulted in ~2 hours of usage.

The 5G uses a two button control system to perform all headset functions. It is a little strange at first, but once you figure it out it comes easily enough. The buttons are very small, and look fragile, but are actually quite sturdy from my usage. The front button, volume up, powers the headset on and off if held down for 2 seconds. If the headset is turned on, pressing either button will connect it to your device. If the headset is on, and connected to the device, pressing either button will initiate voice dialing if your device has it. If a call is coming in, pressing either button will answer the call. Holding the volume up button for two seconds will reject the call. If you are in a call, pressing the volume down button for two seconds will end the call. If you aren't in a call, pressing the volume down button for two seconds will redial the last number. There are other minor functions that can be performed by a press and hold variation of one of the two buttons.

So how does it work? My results were varied depending on the device I used, but performance is kind of lacking. If you are in the direct line of sight within 10 feet or so, the headset works like a charm. It functions exactly as I would want, or need, it to. If you break the line of sight, even just turning you head slightly, the headset will crackle, pop, and cut out. Even when I was only 3 feet away, turning my head away from my phone yielded unusable conditions. Similarly, having the phone in a holster on my hip and the headset in my opposite ear would cause horrible static. The majority of my usage worked great. But on the rare occasion that I would need to move around while the phone stayed stationary, the headset would get kind of patchy. I’m sure the small size of the headset posed many difficult problems with regard to strength and battery life. I’m certain that Nextlink did the best possible job of balancing power consumption, size, and quality. Unfortunately, I found the quality of calls through the headset a bit of a disappointment. Callers couldn’t tell the difference between the AX and 5G, stating that quality through both was very good though. It seems the deteriorated quality was only on my end.

In the end, I found Nextlink’s Bluespoon 5G to be an overall fantastic headset. It suffered from some negative performance when the line of sight was broken, but is a very functional, usable, great looking headset when it isn't. The size is incredible, leaving even the biggest tech geeks in awe. The headset is unobtrusive, and very inconspicuous. At a $399 price tag, only the wealthy and geekiest will be attracted to this headset. I was able to find it at $329 through some online retailers though. If you have the money, and are willing to try out the performance to see if it is acceptable, the Bluespoon 5G won’t disappoint on looks or innovation. I gave the Bluespoon 5G a 3.5 out of 5. The looks are incredible, the sound volume and comfort is great, but the performance is lacking.

Phone: Sprint Touch Pro
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