At a Glance
- Provides estimated available battery life
- Comfortable on the ear
- iPhone battery gauge
- Lacks A2DP streaming support
- Audio quality suffers mildly in noisy environments
Comfortable Bluetooth headset strikes a pleasing balance between performance, design, and price.
Finding a Bluetooth headset that fits snugly in the ear and feels comfortable to wear can be tricky. Fortunately, the Plantronics M100 ($80, price as of 9/1/2010) satisfies on both counts. The M100 has other strengths, too; but a few weaknesses leave it in the middle of the pack.
Available with five different color accents, the M100 distinguishes itself with a lightweight, svelte design. It weighs 9 grams (0.32 ounce), and comes with three different-size ear gels and an over-the-ear loop that feels comfortable and easy to place, despite being fairly rigid. The device is notably less obtrusive than some of Plantronics’s previous offerings.
One point that impressed me: Upon sliding the power switch, the headset reports the number of hours of talk time left, and it appears to do so accurately. Plantronics rates the M100 at up to 6 hours of talk time and up to 10 days of standby time; plus, as the specs promise, I found it charged efficiently, requiring just 1.5 hours to achieve a full charge.
Plantronics positions, and prices, the headset in the middle of its lineup. As such, I wasn’t surprised to find the audio quality good, but not knock-my-socks-off great. The headset has dual microphones and DSP (digital signal processor) noise cancellation. While callees were generally satisfied by the headset’s clear audio, occasionally even the built-in wind-noise reduction and echo cancellation couldn’t squash the background noise in places like a crowded restaurant. Moreover, while I was largely satisfied with the audio, I could sometimes perceive a hissing noise during calls.
The headset charges via a micro-USB port, and has volume and disengage buttons in addition to the power switch.
I liked how the headset paired quickly with Bluetooth-enabled phones, and particularly loved the iPhone battery gauge that popped up on-screen while the headset was paired with the phone. The various voice prompts were convenient, and the buttons were easy to feel by touch. I did find that to hang up a call, the headset pressed into my ear a bit more than I liked, but that’s a minor gripe–especially considering that the headset felt comfortable in-ear for extended periods of time.
Some other Bluetooth headsets may have better audio quality, but its conveniences, long battery life, and comfortable fit–together with its reasonable price–make the M100 headset a solid choice, especially for iPhone users.