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Review: Jabra FreeSpeak 250 bluetooth mobile headset

By Vipul Shah

I received Jabra FreeSpeak 250 few weeks back and was not sure what to think of it till I used it for three weeks daily for more then one hour. Initially I found it too delicate especially when compared to Plantronics M3000 which is as robust as one can make it. But once you wear Jabra FreeSpeak 250 for more then a week its difficult to give it up It has many design improvements over what competition offers today. Though it looks very similar to Jabra FreeSpeak 200, there are many improvements which makes it good buy. Unlike previous versions blue color, Jabra FreeSpeak 250 is black-gray color unit with better MiniGel earplugs.

Voice clarity is excellent when you are in air-conditioned car. I use it even when I am not the one driving car as it is far better then using handset. When not in car or quiet office don't bother using this or any other bluetooth headset. I am yet to find a bluetooth headset which works well in noisy environments of train or bus or while walking on road.

Jabra FreeSpeak 250 claims to have 8 hour of talk time and 240 hours of standby time. I could test talk time and it did come close to their claim, I had to recharge it after talking for 7 hour 35 minute. Standby time couldn't be tested but I found it sufficient and comparable to Plantronics M3000.

Those who don't want to look ridiculous would love Jabra FreeSpeak 250 behind the ear design and its 23 grams weight which is very comfortable on ear for using it more then hour. Behind the ear design allows you to make it almost invisible when driving. Plantronics M3000 has protruding front of cheek design which makes it very visible to anyone who cares to even glance at you.  Three buttons on Jabra FreeSpeak 250 are spaced apart to avoid any confusion. When you switch on or switch off headset it gives audible indicators as well as blue flashing LED.

MiniGel earplug used in this headset deserves special attention. It is created from Jabra's patented soft gel like material. It helps you get maximum volume and clarity when pushed properly inside ear and also allow you to wear it for hours without pain. Apart from directing sound in to your ear canals it also blocks out other sounds when properly worn. You can wear Jabra FreeSpeak 250 on either ear by just turning MiniGel earplugs right or left. You get 2 extra earplugs since these earplugs are most delicate part of headset which can go bad.

Process of pairing the headset with phone or other device is very simple. Jabra FreeSpeak 250 worked well with Nokia 6310i, Siemens S55, O2 XDAII, Nokia 6600 and Sony-Ericsson T630. It worked up to 8 meter distance from phone. It worked well with my PC equipped with Belkin Bluetooth adapter. Like most new headsets released last year, Jabra FreeSpeak 250 supports both Headset as well as Handsfree profile making transfer of calls in both directions between headset and phone possible. All phones released recently support Handsfree profile.

Charging takes 2 hour on its cradle cum belt clip. You can't use the Jabra headsets while it is charging; Plantronics M3000 could be used while it is being charged. Jabra FreeSpeak 250 comes only with 220V or 110V charger depending on which version you buy. This means you can't use it all over the world. Universal 110-220V charger should have been inside the box to make it most useful to globe trotting tri-band phone users.

At US$99 it is a very good buy.

Copyright 1997-2004 Dr. Raj Mehta. All rights reserved.