Iqua 603 Sun Review

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$99.99
Editor's Choice

Pros: Solar panel extends battery for days; Comfortable; Clear, loud audio

Cons: Bulky; Cannot pair multiple devices simultaneously; No noise-canceling technology

Verdict: This solar-powered headset provides superb battery life, good audio quality, and a warm-and-fuzzy feeling by helping the environment.

Accustomed to reaching for your Bluetooth headset only to find its battery is drained? Take a good look at the Iqua 603 Sun Bluetooth headset, which sports a solar panel that provides almost unlimited power. Combine that with strong audio quality and you've got a strong hands-free contender.

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Iqua 603 Sun Design

The 603 Sun might not be the prettiest or most compact headset compared to other stylish options from Plantronics and Jabra, but it is just the right size to keep in a bag or coat pocket. Measuring 1.9x 1 x 0.5 inches and weighing about a half an ounce, the black unit looks chunky, but is light enough to wear all day on your head, or around your neck with the included lanyard. The charcoal face of the headset sports a solar panel, which is also a multifunction button.

A rubber earpiece on the spine of the device fits into your right or left ear, and the top of the device holds a volume control, which is also used to redial the last number and initiate voice commands. It stayed firmly in our ear, but we appreciated the included flexible loop attachment that can fit in either ear; it made the headset feel more secure while walking around. A mini-USB port is located on the right side of the device for charging--on rainy days, of course.

Virtually Infinite Standby Time

No one can match this headset's stellar solar panel, which can charge the earpiece in any available light--indoors or outdoors--to extend the talk and standby time of the headset. Out of the box, you have to charge the 603 Sun with the AC adapter for two hours. After two weeks of being powered on and with frequent use (30 minutes of talking per day), we never had to reach for the AC charger. Exposing the headset to indoor office light and minimal daylight was enough to keep the headset on standby while intermittently taking calls. Not having to worry about turning off the headset at night was joyous.

Performance

Pairing the Iqua 603 Sun with the BlackBerry 8830 was easy. While indoors, calls sounded extremely clear and were devoid of echo, both to us and our caller. When walking around New York City on a winter day, we could hear voices clearly, but callers occasionally asked us to repeat phrases and complained of street and wind noise. To be fair, Iqua doesn't claim to incorporate any noise-canceling technology into its headset.

The range on the headset was decent, but nowhere near Iqua's reported 32 feet. Audio started to crackle at 24 feet, and by 30 feet we couldn't hear our caller's voice at all over the static. The 603 Sun does not support alternating between two paired Bluetooth devices.

Iqua 603 Sun Verdict

The Iqua 603 Sun is a breakthrough for those who hate remembering to recharge their gear. The Motorola Motopure H12 does a better job at wiping out background noise, and the Aliph Jawbone is more stylish, but those looking for a long-lasting headset with decent audio quality will find this green Bluetooth accessory well worth the price.


Related Links:
BlackBerry 8830 World Edition4-Star Review
A versatile smart phone that connects to both CDMA and GSM networks to keep business travelers connected at home and abroad.

Bluetooth Headsets Under $80
Volume, clarity, and comfort on the cheap.

Motorola Motopure H12 4-Star Review
Blending high style with excellent noise-cancellation technology, the Motopure H12 is a superlative Bluetooth headset.

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Laptop Mag & Tom's Hardware
Accessories Type Bluetooth Device
Size 1.9 x 1 x 0.5 inches
Weight 0.5 ounces
Company Website www.iqua.com