Bluetooth headsets make it easy to make and receive phone calls, especially if you’re in an environment where your hands are often busy.
But there are so many choices available that it can be difficult to know which devices are best. If you do some research, you’ll quickly discover that the price, feature list, and build quality varies wildly between different manufacturers. We’re here to help you decide.
The Death of Single-Ear Headsets?
When you think of a Bluetooth headset, you probably picture one of those large rectangular devices hanging out of a person’s ear.
Banish those thoughts from your mind. The era of single-ear headsets is almost over. You don’t need to put up with their clunky design any longer. It’s one of the most important things to know when buying wireless headsets.
Modern Bluetooth headsets almost all use a dual-ear approach. They offer stereo sound, built-in microphones, and call control buttons. They also weigh considerably less than their predecessors, making them much more comfortable to wear.
So here are the five best Bluetooth headsets for iPhone.
Beats was founded back in 2008 by rap superstar Dr. Dre. For a while, the brand’s headphones were accused of being more of a fashion accessory than a serious audio device.
However, Apple made Beats the largest purchase in its history in 2014 when it bought the company for $3.2 billion. From there, the quality started to improve. Because the brand falls under Apple’s ownership, it’s no surprise that Beats gear integrates seamlessly with Apple’s hardware.
The BeatsX include Apple’s W1 chip. As long as you have an iCloud account, the chip allows you to jump between Apple devices easily. Additionally, BeatsX has RemoteTalk. It’s a Siri-compatible way of taking calls and interacting with your iPhone.
You’ll also benefit from quick charging. Just five minutes of charging will give you two hours of constant usage. It’s an essential feature if you spend a significant portion of your day chatting in hands-free mode.
BeatsX headphones are available in black and silver.
Although the number is dwindling, there are still some single-ear headsets worth considering. The best of the bunch is arguably the Plantronics Voyager 5200.
Its key features include a dynamic mute alert (which lets you know if you’re accidentally talking while your headset is on mute), an IPX4 splash-proof rating, and a series of smart sensors.
The sensors can detect whether your wearing your device and route a call’s audio accordingly, plus monitor wind direction and background noise to improve noise cancellation and voice clarity.
iPhone users will appreciate the device’s Siri integration. A two-in-one button on the protruding microphone lets you chat with Apple’s smart assistant. You can also use the button to mute your voice while you’re chatting with someone.
LBell’s folding Bluetooth headset is ideal for active people. If you’re a gym-goer or a jogger, it’s a device worth investigating.
Instead of BeatX’s flexible neck strap approach, the LBell neck strap is weightier and more robust. It’s not going to fall out of place during rigorous exercise.
Despite the LBell’s reasonable price tag, the manufacturer has packed in an impressive number of features. The device includes 6G CVC active noise reduction technology, vibration for incoming calls and other alerts, and an IPX4 waterproof rating.
Most impressively, the headset has a battery that lasts for more than 30 hours of talk time and 600 hours of standby.
The JBL Reflect Mini BT headset is in the mold of the BeatsX. It’s a stylish and lightweight device that boasts high-end audio combined with hands-free calling.
The headset has 5.8mm dynamic drivers and a frequency of 10Hz-22kHz. There’s an inline call management tool on the left earbud’s cable.
Interestingly, the JBL Reflect Mini BT competes with the LBell Bluetooth Headset for joggers’ and cyclists’ attention. It has a reflective strip on the back of the neck strap to alert other people to your presence when you’re out on the roads at night.
You can expect about eight hours of music playback or 13 hours of talk time off a single charge. However, some users have questioned the lack of sleep mode. The headset won’t automatically go into standby after a period of prolonged inactivity, hurting battery life.
The JBL Reflect Mini BT is available in black, blue, pink, and teal.
5. Jabra Steel
The second single-ear Bluetooth headset to make the list is the Jabra Steel. It’s one of the most durable and rugged devices on the market.
It’s specifically aimed at tradesmen or people who work in places where wear-and-tear is naturally high. However, it’s also an excellent option for hikers, campers, and other people who need to take calls in remote locations.
Aside from dust and water resistance and drop protection, the Steel’s creators have thought of other rugged-friendly features. For example, it has large power, voice call, and voice command buttons, meaning you won’t need to take your gloves off to use them.
The voice command buttons will give you a direct link to Siri, allowing you to perform many tasks hands-free.
On the downside, the Jabra Steel does not have volume control buttons; you need to change it on your actual device. For people who are working around loud machinery, it’s not ideal (of course, you could always buy a rugged phone to pair it with).
Away from its rugged features, the Jabra headset also boasts impressive noise cancellation. Presumably, it’s developers’ way of trying to ensure you never need those missing volume buttons.
Headset or Headphones for the iPhone?
As you’ll have probably noticed, the arrival of Bluetooth earphones has meant that the distinction between hands-free call devices and music-focused headphones is becoming increasingly blurred.
While the traditional one-ear earpieces remain firmly in the hands-free camp, many of the leading audio companies are now trying to straggle the divide. What is clear though, is that no matter your usage case, you’ll be able to find a Bluetooth headset for your iPhone that meets your needs.