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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Nokia BH-905i bluetooth headsets review

Today we will review the Nokia BH-905i headphones the nice people at WOMWorld have sent me.

The BH-905i is Nokia's headphones "flagship" without a doubt. The plenitude of features is just amazing. At the first glance, the device looks nice, but gives little to no clue about the beast within.

The headphones measure just 190mm x 140mm x 35mm and weight 167g. They are very well balanced, sturdy and have a good grip. The finish and materials used are top notch. The feeling is premium as it is the price.

I used the headphones for every purpose I could think of, voice calling, listening to music and playing games (they were wired at the time). The accessories contain adapters for VoIP calls and a 3.5mm iPhone compatible AV connector.

One blazing feature of the BH-905i's is the multi microphone active noise control (also known as noise cancellation) that eliminates pretty much every ambient noise.

What is Active Noise Cancelling?
Active Noise Cancelling reduces the ambient noise using multiple microphones. The microphones capture the ambient sounds, and then play them back inverted(out of phase), which cancels the initial noise out.

The carrying case is a pleasure to hold, has a carrying dongle, and a nice leather like(may actually be leather, I couldn't tell) material bag for the accessories. This bag avoids spreading the wires all over the place and keeps things nice and clean.

The headband is very easily adjustable with very soft and gripping ear pads. The shape of the head band gives the headphones a very subtle classy look, unlike most premium headphones, who'll make you look like a jet pilot when you wear them.

The outside of the left headphone is pretty clean, with no controls on the side at all. On the bottom however, is the Active Noise Canceling (marked ANC) switch, and the Nokia standard charging port.

The noise cancellation works like a wonder with these headphones, and gets a lot of help from the digital signal processing (DSP).

On top of the headband there is the Nokia logo carved on a metal plate.

On the bottom of the right headphone there are the volume keys and the 3.5mm audio jack port. The jack port can be used with the included cables so you can use your headphones in pretty much every situation you can think of(excluding scuba-diving and bungee-jumping of course).

The Active Noise Cancelling works in any situation, but you must be careful to switch it off, because otherwise it will stay on and drain your battery. It would have been nice if Nokia included some standby timeout to switch off the ANC when the headphones are not in use.

On the side of the left headphone are the media controls and the power button. The media controls include fast forward, play/pause and rewind buttons. The power buttons is kind of a multi purpose button because it has different functions depending on what you do. First of all it works as the power button if you long press it, it can be used to answer and end calls, as well as to turn on the bass boost.

The bass boost has 3 stages. Initially it's turned off, but if you press the power button slightly you will hear a beep. That means stage one of the bass boost. Press the power button again and you will head two beeps, which takes the bass boost to stage two. You can guess what it does if you press the power button again right? Stage three, which is also the loudest.

If you want to turn the bass boost off, press the power button again. Remember that to turn the bass boost off you have to get to stage three first.

The bass boost works only via Bluetooth, so it's not available while being wired in.

The bottom of the headband is covered in a nice leather-like(again, it may actually be leather) material which feels very nice and soft when you wear the headphones.

As I said before, in the unboxing post I am a freak when it comes to listening music. I'm not the kind who likes it louder than hell(well, maybe sometimes I do), but rather the type who wants crystal clear sound. And this puppy fits right there. The cleanest sound I have ever heard on a pair of headphones.

Pairing the headphones with a phone is as easy as pie. Just hold down the power button until the led glows blue and then pair it with your phone.

The call quality is great, I could hear the incoming calls loud and clear, without any problems. On the caller's end, they did hear ambient noise, but still heard my voice crisp and clear. The headphones include support for answering, ending and rejecting calls, redial last number, voice dial support, call mute and switch calls between headset and phone. This may depend on the device you use, all I can say is they worked with the Nokia E5.

I managed to squeeze about 15 hours of battery life on one charge, mostly listening to music, and some phone calls. That happened over Bluetooth with ANC turned on.

My conclusion is this:

Don't be fooled by the welcoming aspect of the headsets: there lies a beast within. With these headsets, I have seen the largest contrast between what they can do, and what they look like. I've seen headsets that looked like Marshall stage speakers with a headband that could not raise to the BH-905i's level.

Are you an audiophile? If yes, the Nokia BH-905i is for you. Use it as you wish, it will bring home the bacon each time. The price may seem a little high, but I assure you is well worthed. Just test a pair and you will be convinced. The balanced midrange and treble performance is a must for any audio freaks such as myself, and the fact that it works both wired and wireless takes the cake. I don't think there is a single audio device in the whole wide world that you can't connect with the BH-905i. The array of adapters included in the package covers them all.

Here is the unboxing video again, in case you missed it: