A couple of years ago, it was de rigueur (well, kind of) to be seen sporting a Bluetooth headset. People would wander around in their offices, restaurants, and even shopping malls, with headsets sticking out of the side of their heads. You don’t see that any more. I guess looking like a member of the Borg from Star Trek isn’t fashionable for long.
Nevertheless, Bluetooth headset manufacturers are still churning out products. And the latest from Jabra is actually pretty neat. The Jabra M5390 USB Multiuse headset connects not only to mobile phones via Bluetooth but can also be used to hook up to desk phones and soft phones like Skype via a USB dongle. It’ll even let you … wait for it … connect to two Bluetooth devices at the same time. That means it’s simple to switch quickly between a Skype call and a cellphone call. Or, if you want to confuse yourself, listen in to both calls at the same time.
Setting up the M5390 is a snap. Pairing the device with a Nokia E71 took just seconds. Pairing it with a Windows 7 machine took slightly longer, but isn’t complex enough to have you tearing your hair out (provided you follow the instructions). Both Windows and Mac are supported.
Jabra says the design and wearing style is optimised for office staff, managers and specialists who spend most of their time in the office — and less on the go. I found the headset to be comfortable, even after hours of constant use.
The M5390, which costs R2 188, has an extended protrusion so that the microphone is closer to the mouth than most Bluetooth headsets. This helps to optimise call clarity in loud office environments, Jabra says, but it means the device is much bigger than standard cellphone headsets. Call quality is great — other than the occasional hisses and scratches on Skype and on the mobile networks. The USB dongle has a range of 70m, though walls and other environmental factors will obviously reduce that.
Jabra says the device has a talk time of six hours and standby time of 60 hours. The headset is charged via USB.
Perhaps the coolest thing about the M5390? In between calls, you can stream music to it from your PC. On the downside, the headset is big. Your colleagues will stare at you. They may think you’ve become a Trekkie. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral