updated 01:40 pm EST, Mon January 14, 2008
Etymotic phone headsets
Timing the launch with this week's Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Etymotic has released two new cellular headsets, the hf2 and the etyBLU. The hf2 is based on the company's ER-4P audiophile earbuds (pictured), but is intended specifically for iPhones; this means the inclusion of a microphone, as well as an end/send switch which doubles as a track skip button. The primary feature of the headset though is noise isolation, which may cut out as much as 42dB of external sound. It can be used with standard 3.5mm audio outputs when not attached to an iPhone. The hf2 set is selling now for $179.
The etyBLU creates isolation through an in-ear design, but is foremost claimed to be the first Bluetooth headset with the option of a noise-canceling boom microphone. The bundled mic is said to improve output in otherwise loud environments, to extent that a person can speak clearly when standing next to a motorcycle engine revving at 100dB. An internal mic takes over if the boom is detached. The headset is Bluetooth 2.1-compatible, and should support seven hours of talk time, or 100 hours (four days) of standby. It is currently available for $129.