Kensington recently released new Bluetooth Stereo Headphones and as promised here’s our review. The headphones, also entitled the BT3071, sports the Bluetooth 2.0 protocol and uses the A2DP profile to wirelessly steam audio from any compatible device. These stereo headphones are fairly affordable and function a whole lot better compared to the previous generation of Bluetooth headphones.
Device Compatibility – 5/5 stars
From some tests, I found the Bluetooth Headphones to work seamlessly with the array of devices I paired it with. It was compatible with the Bluetooth built into a Sony VAIO running Windows XP, a Dell XPS M1530 running Windows Vista, and a Apple iMac running OS X Leopard. In addition it played nicely with the LG enV and LG Muziq mobile phones. And to top that, it also worked with the Sony PlayStation 3! If you’ve got a fairly modern Bluetooth-enabled gadget, chances are that you won’t have any problems.
Headset Functions – 3/5 stars
The Stereo Headphones also feature a built-in microphone allowing it to double as a wireless headset.. This means you’ll be able to answer calls when paired with a mobile phone and can be used for VOIP when paired with a computer. The downside might be that the audio to contained a bit too much static, which I didn’t experience with other Bluetooth headsets. It shouldn’t be much of an issue for taking calls occasionally, however you probably would want to get a different headset unless you wish to irritating the person on the other end of the phone.
Physical Controls - 4.5/5 stars
The headphones sport a few neat little controls right on the headset including a pause/play button and a track back/forward toggle on the left side and volume controls on the right side. The controls worked without any issues with Vista’s Media Center, Windows Media Player, and Apple iTunes. They worked with cell phones as well. The only issue was the lag in responsiveness of the controls. Most people will often end up clicking again causing something unwanted to occur. From my experience, be patient and wait a second or two after clicking on a key.
Wireless Range – 5/5 stars
The Kensington Bluetooth Stereo Headphones are officially benchmarked to offer a 66-foot (20 meter) range. From my experience going any further than 30 feet from the paired device would result in cracking sounds. Any obstructions such as walls severely crippled the range. I found there were no issues as long as I was contained within the four-walls of an average-sized room. Overall the range is more then enough to have freedom to move around without being tied to your device.
Battery Life – 5/5 stars
The battery life was quite impressive since it lasted about a week even with a couple hours of use each day. It is officially advertised at 23-hours of stereo music playback and 19-hours of talk time. These Kensington Headphones probably had the best battery life I have seen on any of the bluetooth headsets. The BT3071 has a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery which can be re-charged using a standard USB to mini-USB cable. An AC Adapter was not included, but fortunately just about everything we own these days has a USB port which should do the job.
Audio Quality – 3/5 stars
Any audiophile will surely laugh at the sound quality of these headphones, however the majority of consumers probably won’t notice anything unless its mentioned to them. Setting aside frequency range which lacks on most levels, the quality is plentiful for most people. One thing that everyone will notice for sure is the occasional chops and breaks due to the wireless component. I personally found these great for listening to podcasts or watching TV shows on my laptop without disturbing others and having the freedom to move around and do other things without being tied up.
Overall I feel the Bluetooth technology still has some quirks to workout, but despite that, these headphones make the best of it. I originally felt the headphones were uncomfortable, however it wasn’t an issue after a few days of use. The majority of those who purchase this will probably be satisfied with these. The Kensington Bluetooth Stereo Headphones are available for purchase now and are much cheaper than Bluetooth Headphones were last year. These headphones have a MSRP of $79, however if you shop around you’ll be able to find them for as low as $65!
Buy: Kensington Bluetooth Stereo Headphones – $65 (via Amazon with NO TAX + SHIPS FREE)
Links: Kensington.com BT3071 Product Page