Bluetooth headsets are a challenging market to be in. Ears are a difficult and unique part of a human's body to design for, so manufacturers not only must manage good call quality, but also fit and style for a reasonable price.
Hong Kong, Taiwan-based i.Tech Dynamic tries to address call quality and affordability with their i.VoicePRO 901, a Bluetooth headset with dual microphones and noise-filtering abilities that sells for $70 on Amazon. The 901 is one of more than two dozen headsets made by the seven-year-old company, and most Americans will first come across the device in an in-flight magazine.
The device has three buttons located on its outside; a large multifunction button used for answering or canceling calls, among other things; a smaller button to mute calls; and an oval button on the bottom edge for volume manipulation. The two buttons on the edge are separated by a blue status light.
One of the 901’s microphones is located in a notched hole on the cheek side of the headset for voice reception, while the second microphone faces outward to capture ambient noise.
The device offers voice dialing, last-number redial, call transfer, auto-relink and mute. It charges via a USB cable or AC adapter, both included. It's rated to charge in less than three hours and is rated for up to five hours of talk time and up to 100 hours of standby time.
The 901 has multipoint technology, and can connect to two devices at once.
In testing, I found the i.VoicePRO 901 to be a middling Bluetooth headset. Callers were loud and clear coming through the headset, but I was told that, while intelligible, I sounded "muddy" on the other end compared to other Bluetooth headsets I've previously tested.
The headset did cut out a reasonable amount of ambient noise from a New York street, however.
I found the fit of the 901 to be inadequate. The headset comes with only one medium sized silicone earbud, as well as an ear hook with a rubber guide that holds the hook to the ear. I tend to use the smallest of silicone earbuds for headsets and headphones; without that size available, the headset managed to stay near but not in my ear canal -- certainly not snug enough that I would risk walking around town without the ear hook. That's a problem, particularly for women, and it's only exacerbated by the fact that the plastic earpiece itself (beneath the silicone) is fairly large.
I found the ear hook to help the situation, but the rubber guide made it a little tough to get on at first.
The headset's range of 33 feet was suitable, and its weight -- 0.42 ounces -- was helped by the fact that it's built almost entirely of plastic.
In terms of style, the i.VoicePRO 901 is the digital equivalent of a 1982 Chevrolet Caprice -- boxy, thick, and overly large (it's two and a half inches long) compared to the competition. It does not in any way curve to the face, and its glossy plastic face is imprinted with a cross-hatched design to mimic the finishes on more expensive headsets.
The i.VoicePRO 901 is a utilitarian take on a Bluetooth headset, and for the most part it delivers on that promise with reasonable, no-frills call quality. But more stylish and capable Bluetooth headsets can be had for the same price.