Cell Phone Headsets
Comfort, style and trade offs
All cell phone headsets basically suck. From a comfort, style and usability standpoint the basic headset is an emerging technology. The best ideas in wearable communications are yet to come. Today's efforts are uncomfortable and sloppy looking (unless you like the space cadet look) and let's face it; they aren't the most reliable technology. If your car failed as often as your cell phone and headset you'd get it repaired. When it comes to mobile communications we're conditioned to accept a certain level of unreliability and poor service.
Now that the truth is out, we can go from here and try to limit said deficiencies. Earlier in our Parents Guide to Cell phones we mentioned that the cell phone is just a poor but early effort at wearable computing. Well as a handset the cell phone isn't truly wearable until you clip it on and run a headset to your ear. Now it's a truly poor wearable communications device. Today's headsets are a trade off in comfort and efficiency no matter which you choose. You have only to discover which is the least annoying to you.
Your choices for comfort include the following two ways you can go with a cell phone headset.
- In-Ear: Also called ear bud. These can operate without a mouthpiece or "boom" meaning your voice is transmitted through vibrations picked up inside your ear. Sitting in your car with an inner ear headset will make it look like you're talking to yourself.
- Over Ear: Comes in two styles, flex grip that clips on to your earlobe or over ear clips. Both can be painful after extended use, but so are ear buds so you can't win.
Comfort is a personal thing. Some people don't mind sticking things in their ear while others would sooner stop a bullet with their ear than slide an ear bud inside. Clip on options that go either over your ear or under your ear lobe, as in the flex grip headsets, are the alternative. Either way the headset is designed for short term only. As anyone who ever worked at a call center can tell you, any headset gets painful once you've been wearing it for over an hour. If you can tolerate something being plugged into your ear then the ear bud is the least conspicuous choice.
Now let's take a look at some Cell Phone Headset Features.