BlueAnt is renowned for producing excellent Bluetooth headsets and speakerphones. However the company's latest V1 Bluetooth headset manages to improve on even the best mobile phone accessories that have passed through our Test Centre, with an intuitive voice control system and excellent sound quality.
The BlueAnt V1 Voice Control looks similar to most Bluetooth headsets. We aren't a fan of the light grey, striped finish; we like Bluetooth headsets to be as inconspicuous as possible, so a plain black or dark silver finish would have been preferable. BlueAnt is generous with included accessories, packing in two ear hooks, two rubber ear tips and two foam ear tips. They ensure the BlueAnt V1 Bluetooth headset is comfortable to wear even for long periods.
At the heart of this Bluetooth headset is BlueAnt's BlueGenie voice user interface. Requiring no recording, training or tweaking to work, the interface responds to a range of voice commands, so you don't need to deal with a multitude of buttons. When you turn on the V1 for the first time, the headset's voice will immediately guide you through how to use it.
Operation is simple and involves simply pressing the BlueAnt button and speaking a command. Commands range from a simple ones like "answer" or "ignore" to others like "switch headset off", "check battery" and "what can I say?" (which is excellent if you've forgotten what menu you're in). The BlueGenie system is simple and effective, and it recognised our voice almost every time we spoke a command.
Our main complaint is with the speed dialling list, especially when paired with an iPhone 3GS. iPhone users are forced to rearrange their favourite contacts list to match the V1's — slot one is assigned to the command for voicemail, slot two to the command for home, slot three for office and so on, so you'll need to edit your favourites list to match. There are a total of nine speed dial positions on the V1, but the last four positions are dialled by saying "call speed dial six" etc. instead of an actual contact name.
Sound quality is, as we expected from a BlueAnt headset, excellent. Users can choose between two modes of voice isolation: standard and max. The former is for normal environments, while the latter should be used if there is significant background noise. These modes can be switched during a conversation by pressing the multifunction button; a voice lets you know what mode you are in, either "voice isolation max" or "voice isolation standard".
We managed to achieve crisp and clear incoming and outgoing audio when using both modes. Slight background noise is still evident, especially in particularly noisy environments, but for most part audio was crisp and clear in both modes.
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