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Image Gallery: Hands-free solutions from Etymotic, Aliph, Nokia, and Spracht

In just over a month, you will not be able to use your cellphone in your automobile in Washington State without some kind of hands-free solution. Hands-free laws are in place now or coming soon to many other states and areas of the world so now is a good time to take a look at some of the solutions available to you besides the standard wired hands-free kit included with your cellphone purchase.I had the opportunity to personally evaluate the Etymotic hf2 wired iPhone stereo headphones, Etymotic EtyBlu Bluetooth headset, Aliph Jawbone 2 Bluetooth headset, Nokia BH-903 Bluetooth stereo headphones, and Spracht Bluetooth speakephone. They all have their strengths and weaknesses and it really comes down to your own personal preference when selecting a hands-free kit that fits your specific needs. However, I did find a new personal favorite in the bunch that I plan to use myself now that I can no longer just hold my phone to my head and drive.
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In just over a month, you will not be able to use your cellphone in your automobile in Washington State without some kind of hands-free solution. Hands-free laws are in place now or coming soon to many other states and areas of the world so now is a good time to take a look at some of the solutions available to you besides the standard wired hands-free kit included with your cellphone purchase.

Etymotic brings years of research to the iPhone with this new headset.
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Lifting the flap on the front of the retail box reveals your first look at the headset.

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The headset, controller, and 3.5mm headset jack are packed in foam to protect the headset in the retail box.

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You get the headset, assorted eartips, filter changing tool with filters, and pouch to carry the headset inside the box.

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There are three different types of earbud tips included in the package. I found the standard 3-flange tips to be the most comfortable and usable for my ears.

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There is a microphone and answer/end button on this small controller.

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A standard sized jack fits into your iPhone without the need for an adapter. The jack does have require compatible ports to use the mic and I have only gotten it to work with the iPhone.

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The Etymotic headsets come with small filters and a couple spares are provided. You have to use the tool to replace the filter, that should last for 6 months.

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The 4 foot cable lets me use the headset with my iPhone with ease.

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While the hf2 earbud tips fit into your ear, they are very comfortable and barely protrude from your ear. The soft touch rubber covering keeps the cable from tangling.

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The etyBLU comes well packaged in an attractive package.

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You can lift up the flap and catch your first glimpse of the etyBLU in its foam bed.

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After you slide the foam block out of the box you will see the headset, boom, and charging cable.

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Everything you need is included in the box, including a small carrying case. There is no A/C adapter since you can use the USB cable to charge up the headset.

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The BLUmaxx boom can easily be taken on or off, even during a call.

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Volume is controlled by a rocker located on one side of the device.

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The MFB is flush with the outer panel of the headset and is a bit difficult to find and press when you have the headset in your ear.

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There are 2 holes on the boom mic that are slightly offset so you need to make sure you have the correct side towards you mouth.

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The etyBLU is quite compact when viewed from the side.

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I found the headset fits best without the earloop, but still was a bit uncomfortable after wearing it for a long time.

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Aliph enclosed the new headset in slick packaging the has the headset mounted on a pedestal above the box contents.

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Card stock piece of packaging that describes the headset and it functionality.

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The Jawbone 2 is highlighted in the packaging.

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There are some more details and a slick image of the Jawbone on the back.

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There is a plastic piece that needs to be removed to take out the Jawbone and Aliph has the directions clearly printed on the packaging.

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This small box is found in the compact packaging.

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The USB cable can be used with a PC or with the included power brick.

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The proprietary connector is new, but smaller than the first generation headset. The connector is also magnetic so it is easy to insert the headset into the charging port.

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The Jawbone 2 still connects to the charging port on the back of the headset.

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This small box is also included in the packaging and is very well designed to hold all the accessories.

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The top of the box clearly lists what is inside the box with letters corresponding to spaces in the box. The box is so small you can easily pack it along.

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See how well designed the earbud and earloop storage slots are in the box?

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Both leather covered and wire loops are included in the packaging. I prefer to wear the leather model and find it very comfortable.

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You can choose to mount the earloop on either side so you can wear the Jawbone on the left or right side of your head.

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As you can see this new Jawbone is much more compact than the first model. No buttons are readily visible, but there are two present.

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The earbud fits perfectly and is a pleasure to use for long periods.

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I cannot even tell I am wearing a headset with the Jawbone 2 and that is the way a headset should be to- keep you using it all the time.

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In typical Nokia fashion the box looks great and is quite compact.

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The contents are stored is a solid plastic container with everything arranged efficiently.

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A thick multi-language manual and foam earbud covers can be found in the bottom of the box, along with a very compact Nokia A/C adapter.

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You will find more cable and a lanyard with this headset than you see on other headsets due to the unique design.

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These rubber covers are on the headset by default and their triangular shape actually does a good job of staying in my ears.

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The controller has a couple of buttons and a display. You charge the headset via the controller too.

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I think this type of application is perfect for OLED displays and Nokia did a good job of implementing one on this headset.

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The controller hangs down around the neck lanyard that is actually very comfortable. It may bounce when running so some type of pocket is good to use in this case.

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There is a small box on the right earbud cable for the mic and answer/end button.

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The Aura is also well packed in a bright orange and white box.

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The box holds quite a bit of gear in a dense, compact form factor.

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The back shows you the headset and states how you can use it.

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The box includes everything you need, included a car charger, VoIP cable, a manual, and more.

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A cable to connect to your cordless home/office phone, VoIP cable, and external mic and cable are included.

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You can always keep the speakerphone topped off when you are in the office or out and about.

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The device is long and wide, but about an inch thick to include two large speakers.

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All the buttons are located along the bottom half of the front.

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There are three areas where indicator lights appear in green, blue, and amber colors.

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There are ports for charging, connecting to a 2.5mm cable, and external mic.

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The bottom of the device slides out to then fit over your visor for a secure and simple mounting solution.

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