Review: BlueTake 400 GII

The Bluetake BT400 GII is a handsfree Bluetooth device (May 28th, 2004)

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Product Manufacturer: Bluetake

Price: $80

The Good

  • Works as advertised, better than anticipated battery life. Decent sound quality from microphone (nearly as good as talking directly into the cell phone) Great for voice dialing. Great range from the handset and almost no static ever.

The Bad

  • Discomfort, only right ear for wearing, conspicuous- people ask me what the \'Star Trek\' thing on my head is, since they can\'t see a wire going to a cell phone. This is nice for the alpha geek in me, but not very good for day to day interaction with regular folks.

The Bluetake GII 400 is a handsfree Bluetooth device that hangs on the ear and works with most Bluetooth-enabled cell phones.

Bluetake makes a number of Bluetooth devices, from USB host adapters, USB host adapters with flash memory on board, to Bluetooth wireless print servers and even a Bluetooth cable/dsl router. They have an impressive line-up of products and really are investing in Bluetooth technologies in a way I haven't seen from many other companies who make one or two BT devices, maybe a mouse and keyboard, or only market the handsfree device. Bluetake makes them all.

The Bluetake is relatively easy to use. It has two buttons for adjusting volume up and down and one button that does all the rest, from powering the device on and off to answering, initiating, and ending calls. This do-it-all button is lit with both a red and blue LED to indicate different status modes. It comes with a removable silver cover and several of the covers in different colors so that you can change it as fashion dictates.

Using the Bluetake BT400 GII

To turn it on, hold down the button for about three seconds until it beeps twice with a high pitched beep. Powering off means holding it down for another three seconds until two low-pitched beeps are heard. When the phone rings, you will hear both the phone ring (provided you have not made it silent) and hear the ring in your ear from the Bluetake GII 400. Press the button once to answer the call and speak normally. Press the button again to end the call.

Voice Dialing

If you have set up voice dialing on your cell phone, simply press the button on the Bluetake once, wait for the prompt beep from the cellphone heard through the GII 400, say the name of the person to call, and which number to call, work / home / mobile, and let it proceed to dial. I love using this feature. I would never voice dial from the phone itself, but with the Bluetake I find myself doing it all the time.

Battery Life

I wear the Bluetake for hours during the day. I keep it powered on at least four hours a day. It seems to last about a week on one charge and starts beeping to let the user know that battery life is low. I was surprised when I first heard it because I thought I would have run out of battery long before I did.

Comfort of Wearing the Device

The Bluetake BT400GII weighs about 25 grams. It clips on the ear in much the same way the earphones Continental provides for viewing movies on international flights do. The hook is hinged on the earphone and you open it perpendicular to the earphone, place the hook on the ear and then fold the earphone close to the head, so that the ear is sandwiched between the hook and earphone. This works well for a lot of people, but it limits the device to being worn only on the right ear.

I'm over-sensitive to things worn on my ears and my head. I find that after about a half hour of wear that I get headaches from wear. This is not unique to the BT400GII but other headphones and sunglasses also give me this experience. If you too find wearing sunglasses uncomfortable over the ear or nose bridge after a half hour then know that this product may cause you similar discomfort. I wear it for hours during the day, not consecutively, even though I would like to.

Using with the Macintosh

On a Bluetooth-enabled Mac, there's no real way to directly connect the BT400GII to the Mac. The BT400GII only has a handsfree profile, not a headset profile. What this means is, if you wish to place a call from the computer, you must have the Bluetooth-enabled cell phone on, associated with the Click to enlargecomputer, and have the BT400GII on and associated with the cell phone. From Address Book in 10.3, select the person to call. Control-click or right-click on the phone number of type of number and select Dial with (substitute name of your Bluetooth-enabled phone here). The phone will proceed to dial and you'll speak through the BT400GII.

For Windows users Bluetake includes a software program that performs much the same task as what the Macintosh is already able to do with Address Book. You may find this useful to know if you are new to Macintosh and still find yourself using a Windows machine occasionally.

Voice-dialing is a wonderful thing. With the GII, the tone that prompts me to speak the name of the contact to dial is loud and clear. There is hardly ever any static through the ear piece and the range from handset to GII is a true thirty feet. Bluetake cautions the user to wear the phone on the same side of the body as the headset but I have not noticed any interference when ignoring this instruction.

Bluetake informs me that a future version of the GII device will have a headset profile as well.

by Victor Marks


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