Bose Bluetooth Headset hands-on

It's remarkable to consider, but Bose has never had a Bluetooth headset in its range until now. You'd think that the audio specialist would have jumped onto the bandwagon a while back. After all, the brand in synonymous with the business set, having offered high-end headphones and music systems to that demographic almost since its inception.

But there's a good reason that the US manufacturer has waited, it wanted to hold off until the wireless technology was good enough to match its undoubted expertise in audio quality. Few can match Bose when it comes to cramming high-end acoustic components into small spaces, yet Bluetooth has taken a while to come up to speed.

With Bluetooth 2.1 however, Bose now has a product that it feels worthy of its branding, and has subsequently gone to town over the internal workings. Its first single-ear Bluetooth headset features proprietary audio technologies, including an enhanced version of its TriPort acoustic headphone structure, optimised for speech reproduction, and Adaptive Audio Adjustment - which measures incoming speech and background noise, and adjusts voice levels automatically.

It also comes with the company's, relatively, new StayHear tips, which also come with its current range of in-ear buds. The headset also has an easy to reach on/off slider, plus volume and call buttons, and a USB port allowing it to be charged via a laptop, computer or the supplied dedicated plug adaptor.

Also in the box are a plush velvet-like carry case, and substitute StayHear tips for those with smaller or larger ears than the norm. They're all colour-coded too, so you can distinguish them immediately.

Pairing the device with a mobile phone (in our case an iPhone) is simple and straight-forward, and the headset gets to work automatically. And answering a call is as easy as tapping one small button.

We're especially pleased with how tiny the headset is. Many similar devices look like the doo-hickey that hangs out of Lieutenant Uhura's ear on the original series of Star Trek, but not so the Bose version. It's minute and discreet. Of course, that has the negative side effect of making it look like you're talking to yourself when on a call, but you can't have everything.

Most importantly though, it does what it says on the tin. The audio quality is superb: clear, sharp and concise. It's not like listening to Bach through a pair of Bose QC-15s, but for a Bluetooth headset that's only purpose is to facilitate the making and taking of phone calls, it's as good as they get.

We're not too sure of the benefit of having good noise cancellation trickery going on in a single ear device, especially when the other ear is open to the elements, but there's certainly no audio loss.

There's is one problem, however, you can't buy one in time for Christmas, as the Bose Bluetooth Headset will only come to stores on 10 January 2011. However, maybe a gift voucher will suffice for now, just make sure it'll cover the £119 price ticket.