- Call-button location makes for easy access
- Folds up neatly for easier storage
- Some controls awkward to maneuver during calls
- Subpar call quality
If you’re sold on hook-based headsets and want to spend $80 or less for a headset with voice prompts and earbud accessories, put the Motorola Oasis on your list of potentials–but folks with small ears need not apply.
The Motorola Oasis ($80 as of March 1, 2011) Bluetooth headset looks a bit like a folded-up miniature-golf putter. Its shape is unusual–the Oasis’s hook is squarish by design–and its boom microphone folds inward, so ferrying it around is easy. Also unusual is the placement of the Call button: It’s located on the boom, whereas on all other headsets I’ve tested the chief button sits somewhere around the ear’s curve or adjacent to the ear. The novel position of the Call button took getting used to.
Finding an acceptable fit required both hands, along with some futzing and shoving. The part of the headset that accommodates the volume controls and mute buttons (the “putter” portion) is bulky, and this hook shape perches over the ear. Plus, the earbud fitted with the smallest cover still felt too large for my ears. Pushing the earpiece in helped anchor the Oasis to my ear somewhat, but overall the fit did not feel comfortable, secure, or balanced.
Adding to that discomfort, I usually wear my hair down, I depend on eyeglasses frequently, and I wear dangly earrings. Those three things adversely affect the overall fit of a headset like the Oasis. In my case the loop in particular competed with my eyeglasses’ frames.
That said, a male colleague with larger ears who tried out the headset reported that the fit felt reasonably comfortable.
Picking up calls, initiating voice commands (“Call Scott Mobile”), and ending calls were all a cinch with the Call button–once I got used to its unique location. Even though the button is small, the tactile feeback after pressing is firm and appropriately deep.
The volume controls and mute button, on the other hand, were trickier to access, and I found that I had to steady my ear with my thumb to have a good shot at pressing them properly. I liked the voice prompt that came when I powered on the Oasis, as it advised me of the battery situation (“medium,” for instance) and reassured me that my phone, a Motorola Droid X, was connected via Bluetooth to it. Too bad the mute button lacked an audible cue as to whether I’d switched it on or off.
As for call quality, the Oasis’s performance was mostly below average. Callers consistently noted a metallic sound to my voice, and on some occasions they had to strain to understand me. Overall, this robotic sound was tolerable for quick calls, they said, but annoying during longer conversations.
On my end, people’s voices sounded clear enough some of the time, but I experienced some choppiness.
If you’re sold on hook-based Bluetooth headsets and you want to spend $80 or less for a unit with some bonus voice prompts and earbud accessories, put the Motorola Oasis on your list of potentials. Ultimately, though, I recommend you look elsewhere. Folks with tiny ear canals definitely need not apply.