A few months ago we featured Logitech's Wireless Bluetooth headphones made for the iPod. It was a lovely headset that worked well with other audio playback devices too but sadly it didn't take full advantage of the Bluetooth technology to support mobile phones. Plantronics, the maker of the cool looking Xbox 'GameCom Halo 2 Edition' headset has developed a premium Bluetooth headset that can double up as wireless headphones for audio devices and a handsfree kit for mobile phones simultaneously. The Plantronics Pulsar 590A uses multipoint technology to switch seamlessly between music listening and phone calls by pressing a button located on the right headphone. Sounds interesting?
We were impressed by its futuristic over-the-head design that could be folded over partially for charging on the cradle or for keeping in the bag. The supra-aural headphones rest tightly on top of the ears to provide sufficient grip even while running. For making a phone call, simply extend the telescopic voice tube and press the phone button located on the right headphone to begin conversation.
The universal adapter for connecting audio devices through a 35mm earphone jack defies the conventional look of most Bluetooth adapters in the market with its round slim chassis. There are only two buttons on the adapter making it a fairly simple to use device, even for first time Bluetooth user. The batteries for both devices can last a decent 10 hours, but as a contingency backup, you can connect the bundled 35mm cable and convert it to a wired headphones to continue listening to your music even when the batteries are completely out.
2 for the price of 1
For our audio testing, we hooked up the Pulsar 590A to an iPod nano. Music playback was acceptable and could easily pass off as normal wired earphones. What it lacked was the audio punch and depth when compared to better mid-range headphones. As mentioned, the Pulsar 590A can also be paired to most Bluetooth ready mobile phones. The audio quality of the phone calls was slightly muffled but generally clear enough to make out what the other party is saying. When paired simultaneously to an audio device and a phone, its smart function will alert you of any incoming calls by softening your music and with a buzzing ring tone. When you press the call button on the headphones, the music will be paused to let you converse with your friend and resume when the call ends.
No doubt the Plantronics Pulsar 590A is one of the coolest looking headphones in the market that supports both audio devices and mobile phones simultaneously. It provides convenience for anyone who always listens to music on the go and doesn't wish to carry separate devices. But such conveniences come with a hefty price tag of US$194, which could prevent trendy teens from owning this cool gadget. Audio quality was actually above average, but doesn't justify its premium price as it still falls short of better mid-range cans. This is really our only gripe with the headphones. The Pulsar 590A is really a statement of functionality and you'd be hard pressed to find a more flexible wireless headset with such interoperability. Not to mention that it will definitely be an attention grabber when you're out on the streets.