Review: Samsung HM3300 delivers impressive call quality
Samsung touts the Near Field Communication (or NFC) capability of its HM3300, which in the case of a Bluetooth headset, means that pairing is even simpler than normal. Instead of turning on my phone’s discoverable mode to search for the $50 HM3300, followed by a tap to connect them, I just placed the headset’s front side to the handset’s NFC antenna. It worked just as advertised. While this pairing sequence was faster, the benefit of using the NFC feature wasn't really a big deal, as pairing is generally a non-event anyway. Whoop-dee-doo, in other words.
I was, however, pleased with the HM3300‘s bundle of accessories, which includes small, medium, and large ear-piece covers. I wore the unit with––and without––the provided ear hooks. Both wearing styles felt lightweight, discreet, and comfortable. I typically avoid loopy contraptions on my ears, mainly because of my prescription eye glasses and hair tangles––and I find hooks to be generally distracting. But in the case of the HM3300, going hookless lacked the stability I like when making calls. Donning the headset with the hook felt reasonably stable on my small ear; emphasis on the “reasonably,”—because the plastic hook is not bendable, it doesn’t curve to grip the ear.
In the past, some of Samsung’s monaural headsets looked a bit stick-like, but the HM3300’s oblong design is more appealing and softer against the cheek, compared to its more rectangular predecessors. While the headset’s main call button and volume strip are dainty, they are easy to access—unlike the dedicated on/off switch, which is tiny and proved impossible to flip while wearing the headset.
According to my callers, sound quality on the HM3300 was terrific––my voice sounded crisp and natural, almost all of the time. Plus, my yabbering lacked any robotic or metallic tinge, which is sometimes very pronounced among Bluetooth headsets. During a drive with strong breezes gushing through the car, the HM3300 handled the windy environment admirably. It reduced the choppiness by shoving it into the background, and although my voice sounded somewhat muffled, callers could still easily understand what I was saying.
The HM3300 also supports audio streaming, and my music sounded clear enough but wasn't spectacular. Call me a snob, but I wouldn’t generally use a mono headset to stream music or podcasts over Bluetooth; I’d opt for a set of stereo headphones for the improved audio quality.
Even though the HM3300 lacks more sophisticated call handling features (such as answering by voice alone and caller ID prompts), or a complementary smartphone app, its stellar call quality outweighs these drawbacks and makes it a solid, if simple, contender.