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Why that great review of your crappy headset wasn’t a lie

Bluetooth LogoWhile there have been a lot of products we’ve reviewed, or skipped reviewing that were very obviously purchasing reviews on Amazon, one thing has stood out and that’s that people’s experience with Bluetooth headsets is widely inconsistent.

Factors such as where your phone is in relation to the receiving Bluetooth portion of the headset started to disappear as manufacturers got their act together and implemented better antennas, but once we reached the “truly wireless” stage of Bluetooth earbuds, it’s back with a vengeance.

First off you should probably understand that Bluetooth doesn’t really go through water, and you’re made up of 70% or greater water in one form or another. 2.4ghz is the resonant frequency of water according to some random page I read and believe wholeheartedly for this cup of coffee. Energy from BT signal gets turned into slightly agitated water molecules.

You’re a meat shield. But in general this has been worked around with better antennas, the BT protocol you’re using, and a usable sampling of bounced signals.

So now we come to the truly wireless era. In this day and age truly wireless means that the left and right earbuds are not connected by a wire, generally live in a charging sarcophagus, have a three hour battery life and can be recharged three times in said mummy case, and the thing is recharged via a wire that goes to the case that’s attached to an adapter that’s attached to miles and miles of electrical wire.

The current setup with most BT headsets is you connect your device to either the left or right ear and broadcast stereo to it. It connects to the other ear and transmits one channel to it. Apple has it a little different with their tech in that the phone connects to both earbuds and the phone is responsible for splitting and transmission, but that’s Apple.

So anyway a BT signal has been sent to the receiving earbud on one side of your head. That BT earbud now has to talk to the one on the other side of your head. Due to the size of these things it’s easiest to talk using equipment that’s already on board, in this case a Bluetooth chip attempts to talk to a BT chip behind a meat shield.

And on some people it works perfectly. In some environments it works perfectly. I can tell you my EARIN M-1s I reviewed work great when I’m outside, when I’m in 90% of my office, and when I was on a plane without someone using Bluetooth earbuds next to me. However change the perfect scenario and you start experiencing dropouts.

While at CES talking to a company that claimed to have the best, they said that a dropout every 16 minutes was considered the best case scenario you could hope for and unnoticible to the average users. Not sure if that was the truth or the martini he was drinking was affecting his pitch, but who knows?

Shape and size of head, conditions where you use it, position of transmitting device, etc all affect things.

So what’s the solution?

I mentioned before that you might want to hold off for a bit on the “truly wireless” revolution and that’s because of a meeting I had with a company that showed me that for left and right ear you either do it Apple’s way, which has its own set of issues (where the right ear can drop out and the left still go due to positioning of a phone,) or you use something like a magnetic induction chipset using your noggin as the conductor to communicate from left to right.

And evidently that’s what the future holds. Abandoning attempting to blast BT across your head sack and instead using you as an antenna.

Will that fix it? No idea. But it appears to be a case of companies rushing to be first to market, realizing we have a problem if your head is shaped differently or you’re in a wifi rich environment, and then going back to the drawing board.

Oh, also, that review could have been a lie of your crappy headset. Lots of companies spend lots of money hiring people to give them nothing but good reviews all over the place. Just I have a set I love, 30% of reviews I read hate it, figured I’d spread what I learned or didn’t at CES.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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