Cobra Bluetooth over-the-head Headset – product review
Dec 2011 - We recently had the chance to review the Cobra Delux CBTH1-Plus over-the-head style Bluetooth Wireless headset for use with cellphones. This single speaker design, has an adjustable “boom” style mic that can be positioned for optimized voice pickup in noise environments as well as being comfortable to wear for extended periods.
Pro - Microphone has excellent noise cancelling, clear voice reception, 20hr talk time, comes with USB and car charger.
Con - Single speaker design won’t sync with Android and iOS tablets under Bluetooth 2.0 paring
Overall - Good product - for those that want an over-the-head / over-the-ear headset - it is a very mechanical well made and electrically strong product for cellular communication.
The headset comes as a very complete kit - the single ear headset with swing down microphone, a USB charging cable and a USB interface car charger for travel. The device is one of the new trend of not including a wall power supply converter, and instead going with a USB power compatible connector. The headset control has a multi-function switch that is used for power, answer/end call and pairing/mode control, as well as separate up and down volume control.
The first step in the testing of any Bluetooth device is being able to easily pair the devices. With a cell phone or a laptop computer, the device was automatically found, identified and paired in under 45 seconds. Under iOS, this task took almost 100sec to both find and identify the device. Without restarting either the phone/computer or headset the connection was maintained when the Bluetooth visibility was switched off. Under iOS, the headset had to be turned back off, then on to re-sync after the chane in visibility.
The device did not auto identify with any stereo tablet device - Android or iOS when the Bluetooth search looked for devices. On one of the Android devices (running HoneyComb 3.0) it gave the error message of “unknown device found, unable to connect”. Our assumption is that the tablet version of the Android OS handles stereo sound and microphones differently from that of the cell phones, and hence the single speaker design did not show compliance.
The next thing we found was that the single ear side of the headset has very good sound isolation. Without anything playing in the speakers, the background noise is damped out well for a non-active noise cancellation system and voice came through very clearly.
The people on the other end, indicated the sound from the microphone was clear, and had no “air” sound that is common with a lot of cellphone microphones. The sound was much more useful than with most small “ear dongle” style headphones, especially when used from a car with background road noise or leaving messages on voicemail. The voicemail test is generally one of the weakest areas for headsets, as the digital recording for the message playback is usually plagued by the noise caused by the interaction of both recording sampling distortion as well as the packet sampling for the Bluetooth transmission.
The headset was then tested with clarity on playback of voicemail messages and the issuing of voice dialing / voice control commands of the phones. It behaved very strongly on both.
The over-the-head style was comfortable for extended ~4+ hrs of use. It would be nice if the “hold” bracket were extendable to allow for more positioning options of the headset. This was a noted minor annoyance on the product but is not bad enough to steer someone from the product. It worked well for both testers with and without glasses.
Overall, for a cellular Bluetooth headset that is to be used in either a vehicle or industrial workspace with a high white noise background, it is a strong product, that worked well and was liked by the majority of reviewers. Based on the price, these are a very good and well made product.