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.
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.
- 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 â€˜Voice Isolationâ€™ Standard & Max settings adjustable to surrounding noise environments
- â€˜On-the-Flyâ€™ 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
BlueAnt Wireless today released the much anticipated Z9 Bluetooth Headset as part of the companyâ€™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 BlueAntâ€™s patented Voice Isolation Technologyâ„¢, 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 â€˜Voice Isolationâ€™ modes that a user can switch between when making a call â€“ â€˜Voice Isolation Standardâ€™ for use in normal everyday environments providing a natural sounding voice while removing mild background noise and â€˜Voice Isolation Maxâ€™ 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. â€œBlueAnt 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. Weâ€™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.â€?
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 (CEAÂ®) for â€˜outstanding design and engineering in cutting edge consumer electronics productsâ€™.
â€œBlueAnt continues to focus on product development as well as our efforts to further differentiate BlueAnt from other brands. BlueAnt stands out because itâ€™s not a â€˜Me Tooâ€™ brand. Weâ€™re doing things our way and that means weâ€™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,â€? said Peter George.
BlueAntâ€™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
It sits very comfortably in the lower part of the ear, and is as unobtrusive as such a headset can be
The ability to clip it to an item of clothing is pretty useful