Review: MacAlly BlueWave Bluetooth Headphones

Walk around and listen to your iPod comfortably (April 20th, 2006)

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Product Manufacturer: Macally

Price: $89.99 US

The Good

  • Listen to your iPod without carrying it around. Great for exercising, doing chores, or wearing clothes that won’t support a belt.

The Bad

  • May be slightly large for smaller heads. No ability to pause or stop what is playing on the iPod. Must remember to turn off the transmitter and the headset receiver to conserve batteries. Short battery life can make this an expensive accessory unless you use rechargeable batteries.

Do you love your iPod but hate those wires? If yes, try the Macally BlueWave and you can listen to your iPod up to 30 ft away with no strings attached. MacAlly's BlueWave consists of a BlueTooth adapter that plugs into the headphone jack on your iPod and a comfortable BlueTooth headset. The headset and adapter require AAA batteries, which are included with the product.

Good Wireless Sound

When you switch on the iPod, transceiver, and headphones the transceiver light glows a bright blue, and the two devices are automatically paired. 30 feet is the maximum distance for BlueTooth devices, so you may experience different ranges depending on whether the line-of-sight is compromised and the nature and density of objects in the room. The headphones provide good sound, but do not cancel noise, so you will be aware of noise around you. A small dial on the left earpiece controls your volumes. The earphones provide a better listening experience than Apple's earbuds with more bass and midrange tones, although treble tones are a bit weak. Wired headphones tend to provide a fuller range of tones than this wireless solution.

Comfortable, but bulky

The well-cushioned pleather headphones are comfortable but lack adjustments for smaller heads. Even with the batteries installed, they are not heavy. When you turn off the headphones, your iPod isn't affected, that is, it cuts off battery use in the headphone only, so you must remember to switch off the transceiver and stop your iPod. Unfortunately, each device has its own on/off switch. Depending on the volume played and the quality of the batteries, expect between 2 to 8 hours of battery life, which prevents this from being an iPod accessory I would use all of the time. The headphones do collapse somewhat but they are too bulky to put in a purse. They are 3.25" thick and 4.5" across, so they can fit easily into a backpack.

For even better sound, use the lineout port on the headphones to connect to your stereo system. This transforms the iPod into a wireless remote that can be up to 30 feet away. You can also use the headphones with your BlueTooth-enabled Mac so that you can enjoy listening privately to your music or watch a movie without disturbing others.

The BlueWave is compatible with 3rd, 4th, and 5th Generation iPods. Owners of first and second generation iPods need to remove the plastic notch on the transceiver for the device to attach properly.

  • Power requirements: DC 3V [1.5V AAA x 2]
  • Speaker: 40mm Mylar cone
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms ± 4 Ohms
  • Distortion: 1% THD at NOM.DEV
  • S/N Ratio: 60dB
  • R/L Balance: ±2dB (mono)
  • Weight: About 170g without batteries

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by P.A.M. Borys


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