I don’t often do reviews about hardware, it’s not really my thing, but occasionally I find something that really impresses me (or in this case my colleague Phil Caines). I asked Phil to write the review because after I upgraded my phone (from a Nokia 6800 to a Nokia E-61) I found my bluetooth capabilities seriously degraded to the point that I couldn’t even use the headset with my new phone (I might just have to write a review about the E-61). Anyway, I gave my S-800 to Phil and asked him to write the review based on his experience with his Nokia N-95, so here goes:
I was taking the Seabus to Vancouver the other day and testing the Cardo S-800 in a public space, one of the fellow passengers (who seemed to have a few loose screws) started to get excited when he saw me talking, he thought he had found someone else with a similar passion for one person conversations. He was very amused and a little disappointed when my conversation ended and I showed him that I was talking into the S-800, it is that small.
This is my first Bluetooth headset, I have held off getting one due to the fear of looking too much like a Trekky. So far this device has addressed my main concern.
Tech + Sexy = Techsy. The first thing I noticed about the Cardo S-800 was its sleek design and small form factor; you don’t need to have a large contraption on your head in order to have full call quality. The sleek and strong lines of this device have a minimal elegance that I appreciate. The small blue lights add a touch of sophistication, and the matte black and silver colourings are always in vogue. It is quite small measuring around 0.8 inch by 1.6 inches by 0.5 inch and it weighs only 0.38 ounces, not a problem for hanging in your ear without the extra ear hanger.
Good things come in small packages. Even though this is my first Bluetooth headset, I am familiar with the feature set of these devices, and the Cardo S-800 has quite a list:
answer, end, and reject calls
voice dial support
with the Hot Dial key you call any of three preset speed dial numbers
a missed call indicator
a headset location buzzer
a battery status indicator
and an auto-answer
There are other features, like the ability to use the device with up to 8 different devices, including the ability to ‘SWAP’ between 2 active devices.
I used the Cardo S-800 with my Nokia N95, and the call quality was pretty good. There were times where the voice on the other end sounded a little fuzzy, but I never received any complaints from the other end, they said that my voice was coming in clearly. I realize that this is not a Bluetooth headphone set, however I played music through the device and the quality was not that good, it didn’t like any bass, and would have obvious distortion at louder levels. When it came to doing the function that it was intended for, talking, it was quite capable.
Bang for Buck. If you are looking for a full featured Bluetooth headset, that looks good, has decent audio quality but you don’t want to break the bank, I would recommend the Cardo S-800. I have seen them retail for just over $30 USD, at that price this is an incredible deal.