To say I was excited to get the BlueAnt Q1 to review would be an understatement. I’ve been looking for a Bluetooh headset that would support A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) because I listen to podcasts quite often but don’t always have my wired stereo headsets with me.
What is A2DP
A2DP allow for the streaming of high quality audio like music or podcasts between Bluetooth devices. Essentially allowing you to stream music/podcasts from your laptop or mobile phone to your Bluetooth headset. The audio can streamed in stereo or mono.
Initial Challenge Pairing
Most Bluetooth headsets require you to hold the power button until the light stays solid or starts flashing to force the device in to paring mode. After 2-3 minutes of trying the standard process with BlueAnt I was defeated, not into reading the manual rather searching online for a solution. The BlueAnt Q1 automatically enters pairing mode when initially powered on but because I did not read the instruction or quick start guide I know had to figure this process out. The instructions to enter pairing mode could not have been more simple. Press the BlueAnt button on the headset the say the command Pair Me, that’s it your in pairing mode. After pairing the BlueAnt to my phone I wanted to check out the streaming of audio over bluetooth.
Initial Challenge with Audio Streaming
When I initially tried to stream music it just did not work. Again avoiding the documents I found online at BlueAnt what my problem was and how to solve it. My BlueAnt Shipped the firmware version 8.15 which did not support A2DP. At a minimum to have A2DP streaming your headset needs to be running firmware version 8.19 or higher. It took a couple minutes to register online and upgrade to the new firmware version 8.21. I did have to repair my phone to the headset but after doing so audio streaming worked like magic.
From firmware version 8.19 onwards, the Q1 supports A2DP streaming. This means that you can listen to audio from any device that supports A2DP Bluetooth audio streaming, including music, podcasts, and turn-by-turn direction information from a GPS application on your phone.
If you do not already have version 8.19 or later installed on your Q1, go to our downloads area to get the Q1 updater and upgrade your Q1 to the latest version. If you have not already done so, you will need to register your Q1 to get a password to access the downloads section.
Once you have upgraded your Q1, simply start playing audio on your paired A2DP device and the sound will automatically transfer to the headset. The music pauses automatically if you make or receive a call.
One Issue with Streaming Audio
I noticed from time to time the streaming audio would clip for maybe 2-6 seconds. The clipping was not bad enough that I could not understand what was playing but it was noticeable. I was not sure if this was an issue with the headset or the phone. I did pair the headset to my computer and streamed without issue so I assume the issue was on the phone side. Overall the audio streaming was excellent. I am a wired headset person and all I wanted was the ability to stream audio over bluetooth but not be required to use stereo headsets.
The noise reduction technology used in the BlueAnt cannot hold a candle to the Jawbone noise reduction, then again nothing can. I was talking to Robb on an extremely windy day and it was not possible to hold a conversation. In contrast Robb did a true life demo of Jawbone by calling me when snow blowing this winder and I could not hear the snowblower. Now it is not every day I want to hold a conversation while snow blowing or in gail force winds but with the Jawbone Icon I know I can do this. Under normal working conditions in my office or car the call quality was great. I personally could not get a great fit with the blueAnt without the behind the ear strap but overall it worked like a charm.
I like the idea I can say to the headset, What can I say, and it will provide me with a list of available voice commands. For example with my Android phone I was able to download the BlueAnt Application and have my text messages read to me. That feature alone is rather nice when you’re driving. I cannot see using it long term but it was a nice option to have
Charging and Talk Time
As a Blackberry Storm user I like the that the device uses the micro USB charging tip as it means during travel that is one less power adapter I need to carry. I never timed how long it took to charge the device but the talk and streaming time did last about 5hrs.
I use to be of the mindset have a single headset and use it until it broke. While own multiple wired headsets I usually use one at a time until it develops a short. Robb owns about a dozen bluetooth headsets; he keeps a couple in the truck; a couple in the office; a couple at his home; and several he wears depending on how he is dressed. Yes, bluetooth headsets to Robb are like fashion accessories. I am not suggesting you buy a dozen headsets, but having a couple won’t hurt. The BlueAnt Q1 has made my list of bluetooth headsets to keep.