Blue Ant Z9

I first came across the Blue Ant Z9 ($99.95) headset when I covered it for Gadgetell, and my initial impression was that it looked very cool. As I had just about decided that I was going to get a iPhone at that stage I figured that it would be a good time to test the headset out, especially on my trip to the UK as that was going to incorporate airports, motorway journeys, hotel rooms, office etc.

Before I explain how I got on with the Z9 let me share a couple of things with you:

First, a picture as I think you will agree that it looks very cool indeed.

BlueAnt Z9 - With Ear Hook.jpg

I particularly liked the clear ear hook that helps make the Z9 very unobtrusive and the sleek black finish on the small unit just exudes quality.

In fact when you get to the bottom you will see some more pictures.

Second, the truth is I don’t like headsets. I want to like them in that they are cool, safe and legal, but there is something about them that makes me feel a total idiot when I am wearing one. I tend not to be able to remember what button does what, and because I refuse to walk round with one stuck in my ear on the off chance that someone calls I tend to end up in a flurry of hands, phones, ears and thumbs trying to stick it on my ear and answer it at the same time. Invariably I either miss the call or end up taking it on the phone anyway.

But putting all that to one side, I really found the Z9 comfortable. The ability to pair with the iPhone, V3 and Mac Book on the trip actually worked really well. Switching between the three was OK in that it is a case of pressing a button once, twice or three times but it would benefit hugely from some audible confirmation, or even the ability to name each option. Answering and terminating a call is a case of pushing the same button once or twice, so this is where I start to get confused – all this pressing of the same button when you are driving is as dangerous as talking on the actual phone I reckon.

The quality of the calls was great, both mobile phone and Skype on the Mac Book. I can see that if you are sat at the computer all day and use a mobile a lot this would be a great headset, as it is very light and very comfortable while doing a solid job both in the functionality and fashion stakes.

I liked it, will use it when I need to use a headset and would certainly be happy to recommend it.

Features

  • Winner of a CES 2007 Innovations Design & Engineering Award
  • Bluetooth v2.0 technology
  • Dual microphones for pure speech
  • Revolutionary Voice Isolation Technologyâ„¢ produces outstanding noise suppression, wind noise reduction and echo cancellation, with zero voice distortion
  • Separates the desired voice signal from background signals enabling crystal clear communication in the noisiest of environments
  • Incorporates ‘Voice Isolation’ Standard & Max settings adjustable to surrounding noise environments
  • ‘On-the-Fly’ switching between multiple devices (up to 3)
  • Automatic connection & reconnection with notification
  • Different ring-tones for known and unknown contacts
  • Innovative tie clip for attaching to shirt or cuff, when not in use
  • Stylish, translucent ear hook
  • Firmware upgrade via USB on your PC NOT your Mac though!
  • Small & lightweight (just 1.5â€? in length & weighs only 0.35 oz)
  • Up to 5.5 hrs talk-time or 200 hrs standby
  • Locally based customer support center
  • 2 Year replacement warranty

Press Release

BlueAnt Wireless today released the much anticipated Z9 Bluetooth Headset as part of the company’s first step into the global distribution of its products. Awarded for its innovative design at CES 2007, the Z9 leads the next generation of Bluetooth headsets with its stylish design and use of dual microphone, noise reduction technology via BlueAnt’s patented Voice Isolation Technology™, a revolutionary proprietary Digital Signal Processor (DSP) software solution.

Voice Isolation Technologyâ„¢ uses sophisticated techniques to separate the voice signal from all background noise, enhancing and isolating all frequencies that affect voices coming in to and out of the headset and resulting in noise suppression, wind noise reduction and echo cancellation.

In addition, the Z9 incorporates two ‘Voice Isolation’ modes that a user can switch between when making a call – ‘Voice Isolation Standard’ for use in normal everyday environments providing a natural sounding voice while removing mild background noise and ‘Voice Isolation Max’ to provide superior intelligible voice clarity for use in extreme noise environments.

Weighing in at only 0.35 ounces and measuring just 1.5 inches in length, the Z9 is also one of the smallest Bluetooth headsets on the market today. It can be clipped neatly onto a tie, shirt, blouse or cuff when not in use and comes equipped with a stylish, translucent ear-hook further reducing its presence when worn.

Senior Vice President, Peter George, says that testing demonstrates that the Z9 is a clear winner in the stakes for sound clarity. “BlueAnt has dedicated over 2 years to the developmental and testing phases for the Z9 to ensure the highest quality noise elimination and call clarity is achieved. We’ve developed the technology and made the comparison. The Z9 has come up trumps in terms of its performance giving consumers the quality they want in this type of personal device.�

The consumer and industry buzz for the Z9 began late last year when it was awarded the prestigious 2007 International Innovations Design & Engineering Award by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA®) for ‘outstanding design and engineering in cutting edge consumer electronics products’.

“BlueAnt continues to focus on product development as well as our efforts to further differentiate BlueAnt from other brands. BlueAnt stands out because it’s not a ‘Me Too’ brand. We’re doing things our way and that means we’re tapping into the groove of what people want from their accessories. They want them to complement their lifestyle and be able to cope with the demands of their daily routines,� said Peter George.

BlueAnt’s Z9 is a sophisticated addition to the already, highly successful BlueAnt product range. The Z9 Bluetooth Headset offers a range of advanced specifications making it one of the most innovative Bluetooth headsets to be launched to date

BlueAnt Z9 - Male Lifestyle.jpg

It sits very comfortably in the lower part of the ear, and is as unobtrusive as such a headset can be

BlueAnt Z9 - Shirt Clip.jpg

The ability to clip it to an item of clothing is pretty useful

10 thoughts on “Blue Ant Z9

  1. Wayne LeFevre

    This one looks pretty cool. (As cool as a headset can look… 😉 ) It reminds me of the one I have – the Jawbone. This looks a little smaller, though. I like the volume buttons.

  2. John

    I also have the Jawbone, and while awesome, it is huge. I also confess to not liking the “hidden” buttons on the Jawbone.

    I have the Blue Ant Supertooth Light visor handsfree for the motor and it is very good, and has a huge battery so you can just leave it the car for months. Good product, solid, charges by USB and they wisely give you a wall charger unlike other stingy people (hello Nokia and Apple). Sound quality pretty good too.

    Edit: shirt clip = genius. Wayne, where do you put your Jawbone when you’re out and about but not using it?

  3. Chris Marshall Post author

    What is wrong with the Jawbone buttons? The Z9 are small and a little fiddly with big fingers but they are easy enough to use.

  4. John

    The Jawbone has a single button “hidden” behind the outer surface of the headset, which is very cool in theory but takes some force to push and as a result really jams the headset into your ear every time…after a day’s use it gets boring. I would prefer a normal button.

    Other than that (and the size) the Jawbone is truly an amazing piece of kit with very impressive noise cancelling.

  5. Wayne LeFevre

    Except now! I don’t know if it has to do with Leopard or Skype, but for some reason the Jawbone shuts off about 1 minute into the conversation. I haven’t tried it with iChat yet. Anyone have any difficulty with Skype lately?

  6. John

    I will try mine tonight with Skype on Leopard. The Jawbone does support multiple pairings, right?

    Are you using the Skype beta or release version?

  7. Wayne LeFevre

    @John – It should support it OK. Just the zeros for the code. I’m using the latest Skype beta. I’m not sure if it’s my ISP or the Internet in general, but the later in the day the suckier Skype becomes. Also, the bluetooth symbol in the menubar always drops to the three dots when I try using the headset and will flip back and forth. I guess that’s saying that it is losing the pairing??

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