10 great Bluetooth gadgets

Go ahead, cut the cord. These cool and useful Bluetooth devices help you phone, print, present and more -- all without wires.
  • (Computerworld)
  • — 21 November, 2008 08:18

The Logitech diNovo Mini is a great go-anywhere keyboard, but where it really shines is in the living room, controlling your Media Center PC.

The Logitech diNovo Mini is a great go-anywhere keyboard, but where it really shines is in the living room, controlling your Media Center PC.

  • 
The Logitech diNovo Mini is a great go-anywhere keyboard, but where it really shines is in the living room, controlling your Media Center PC.
  • 
The Polaroid PoGo Instant Mobile Printer painlessly (and wirelessly) gets snapshots from your cell phone on to 2-by-3-inch prints with adhesive backing.
  • The Mindstorms NXT kit from Lego lets you create various robots that respond to programs you create and transmit via Bluetooth.
  • BlueAnt's Supertooth 3 hands-free speakerphone, which mounts on a car's sun visor, lets you use voice commands to dial and answer mobile calls.
  • The Aliph New Jawbone is a better class of Bluetooth earphone: stylish and comfortable to wear for hours at a stretch.
  • The Kensington Vo200 Bluetooth Internet Phone saves you money by routing your calls over VoIP. The handset stores and charges right in your notebook's PC Card slot.
  • The Baracoda D-Fly scans bar codes and uploads them to your notebook, handheld or smart phone, where you can comparison-shop for similar products online.
  • Logitech diNovo Mini Bluetooth keyboard
  • Yamaha's NX-B02 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker packs two speakers in a single box and sounds like a much larger speaker system.
  • The Sony Ericsson MBW-150 Classic Edition watch connects to your phone to show you who is calling or that a new text message has arrived.
  • The VP6600 ExpressCard Media Remote from Interlink Electronics is a tiny yet surprisingly powerful remote control for making presentations. It charges and travels in your notebook's ExpressCard slot.

Watch for calls: Sony Ericsson MBW-150 Classic Edition watch

Whether it's at a meeting or a wedding, sneaking a look at your phone to see what calls or texts you've missed is an obnoxious habit. But we're all guilty of it at one time or another. Sony Ericsson's US$300 MBW-150 can put an end to this loathsome behavior; it's a wristwatch that's an extension of your phone.

The 2.7-ounce MBW-150 Classic Edition is nicely styled, but at 0.6-inch thick, its stainless steel case is a little chunky for me. At the bottom of the stylish analog time dial is a small Organic LED screen that shows who is calling or that a new text message has arrived.

Connecting with my phone was a snap, although it took me a while to master the device's five control buttons. The MBW-150 really came into its own as a way to control my phone's music collection. It not only shows what track is playing, but the three buttons on the left side can pause, move a track or change the volume.

The Bluetooth radio has a range of 20 feet, and its battery lasted for five days' worth of calls and music. The watch kept excellent time and kept running after the Bluetooth radio shut down. (I was, however, disappointed that it didn't automatically change from daylight-saving time to standard time.) With the MBW-150, I can keep my phone in my pocket, where it belongs.

In your ear: Aliph New Jawbone earphone

If you're like me, using most Bluetooth earphones is nothing short of torture. Aliph's second-generation Jawbone (US$130) is a pain-free way to chat on the phone while leaving your hands unoccupied to do more important things, like driving, cooking or taking notes on an important call.

Weighing 0.4 ounce and measuring 2.0 by 0.5 by 0.5 inches, the new Jawbone is half the size and weight of Motorola's HS850 and other popular Bluetooth headsets. Stylish and comfortable to wear for hours at a stretch, the Jawbone comes with an AC charger and a variety of earplugs and rings to suit different heads.

Connecting to my phone was a snap and took less than a minute; its 15-foot range was plenty. The device's Achilles' heel is its hidden switches, which take a little getting used to. But before long I was able to use Jawbone to adjust the volume, accept and reject calls. Its battery was good for four and a half hours of calling.

The audio was generally echo-free, although the unit's microphones (it has two for more accurate audio) didn't pick up all my words until I started using a smaller earplug, which held the device more securely in my ear. At that point, calls came through loud and clear without weighing me down.

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Brian Nadel

Computerworld
Topics: bluetooth
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