At a Glance
- Solid sound quality (when close to the phone)
- Audio quality declined before reaching range limit
- Hook attachment is tiny, easy to lose
The tiny and lightweight Nokia BH-804 headset offers a sturdy fit, but call quality regularly took a hit well within range.
Smaller and far narrower than my stubby thumb, the Nokia BH-804 Bluetooth headset ($120 as of December 1, 2008) feels superlight. Of all the headsets I’ve tested, the 0.25-ounce BH-804 is the lightest–but not by much. (The Plantronics Discovery 925 weighs 0.28 ounce.) Factor in the headset’s dainty size, and the BH-804 feels even lighter and, not surprisingly, very discreet.
You can place the BH-804 directly in your ear without the supplied earhook. It felt comfortable to me, even though the smallest earbud cover I used was slightly oversize for me. The earpiece shifted a bit when I bopped my head around, and it also tended to dislodge when I was walking and talking.
Turning the BH-804 into a hook-based headset requires some effort, especially if you’re as klutzy as I am. I attached an itty-bitty strip–Nokia calls it the earloop holder–into the back of the headset, and then inserted the hook through the hole in the strip. After moving the hook around, I found a workable position, though it was not comfortable. The hook is like a wide-shaped U, with no give, so in my case it felt like it was just hovering there. I’ll take the loopless version any day, thank you.
Call quality varied. Most of the time, calls sounded crisp and loud. Calls were equally clear in the car–the people on the other end couldn’t tell I was on a noisy freeway. Great call quality is all very well, but I felt like I had to carry my cell phone around with me constantly to keep it that way. That’s fine in the car, as my phone is just sitting there in its nook below the steering wheel. But at my desk, it was often a whole other story. On many occasions, when I moved away from my handset, 9 feet or farther away, call quality deteriorated rapidly. My voice sounded scratchy and some sentences became garbled. The BH-804 also did a so-so job dealing with extraneous noise: Callers could hear the music–particularly the beat–in the background, but we could still chat.
The BH-804 has two buttons: a multifunction key (which allows you to activate voice dialing, for example) and the volume rocker. I would have preferred the multifunction button to be closer to the top of the headset, but I got used to its placement quickly. The slender volume rocker button took a while longer to get accustomed to, but both gave good feedback when pressed.
(For more on the other models we tested recently, see our Bluetooth headsets chart. To read our advice on selecting the right headset for you, see our Bluetooth headset buying guide.)