How We Test Bluetooth Headsets
To ensure Bluetooth headsets meet real-world demands, we've designed a series of rigorous tests. These assessments encompass the examination of call quality, connectivity, range, and battery life.
Bluetooth headsets have evolved from optional accessories to essential tools, particularly for hands-free phone conversations while driving, especially if the car lacks built-in Bluetooth functionality.
Our evaluation of Bluetooth headsets is meticulous and involves rigorous testing both in controlled environments, such as our PC Labs, and real-world scenarios. Below is an insight into our testing procedures:
Call Quality Assessment
The pivotal criterion we examine is the call quality of Bluetooth headsets. We initiate various calls, directed at live individuals and voicemail systems, to evaluate the clarity of conversations on both ends.
Our assessment covers indoor and outdoor settings, assessing volume levels and speech intelligibility across different contexts.
We endeavor to pair headsets with diverse models of cell phones. Our procedure entails conducting tests on multiple devices connected to the same wireless carrier, followed by a round of tests on devices linked to an alternate wireless carrier.
We gauge the automatic pairing capability of the headset and assess the ease of initial pairing and subsequent re-pairing with multiple devices.
Evaluation of Range
While most Bluetooth headsets offer a range of approximately 15 feet for clear calls and 30 feet for calls with potential static, exceptions exist.
To gauge the impact of distance on speech quality, we engage in a controlled test. While moving 60 paces away from the phone in a straight line, we maintain an ongoing conversation with an answering machine, observing the degradation of speech quality with increasing distance.
Comfort and Fit
We scrutinize the headset’s fit options, investigating the comfort it provides within our ears while utilizing the various earpieces included with the headset.
Battery life is of paramount importance. We subject the headset to a continuous playback of an audiobook via a connected phone. The phone remains plugged in to preserve its battery life. Positioned approximately a foot away, we employ a microphone linked to the headset, connected to a PC running Audacity recording software. This setup allows us to determine the duration the headset operates before its battery is depleted.
Evaluation of Stereo Features
Stereo Bluetooth headsets have evolved to accommodate media playback alongside calls, resembling wireless headphones. Our assessment encompasses the playback of high-quality music at bit rates of 320 kilobits per second or lossless formats. We evaluate sound quality from both a computer and a mobile phone. Additionally, we observe how the headset handles transitions between songs and incoming calls during music playback.
Control Features Examination
Our analysis extends to examining control features such as redialing and voice dialing, often accessible through prolonged presses of headset buttons. We also explore any supplementary control features integrated within the phone, including built-in voice commands.
Noise Cancellation Assessment
Given the significance manufacturers place on noise cancellation, we devote special attention to the headset’s performance in noisy environments. We test the headset in various noisy situations, such as bustling city streets, windy areas, or within a car with windows down, to assess its noise-filtering capabilities during transmissions.
Our comprehensive evaluation process provides valuable insights into the performance, usability, and overall quality of Bluetooth headsets, catering to the diverse needs and preferences of users.