We'll cut to the chase: we like the Nokia BH-101. In a market saturated with cheap-looking and poorly performing headsets, this $40 earpiece stands out, thanks to its tasteful design and reliable call quality.
Like the Samsung WEP310, the BH-101 stands out, ironically, thanks to its small size. Although it appears shorter than the WEP310, it's stockier, with a thickness of 0.8 inches. The black rubbery face and silver rim will blend in anywhere and look less conspicuous than most of the other headsets of its ilk. Although the rubber-coated hooks felt comfortable around our ears, the wide-set ear piece couldn't fit comfortably in our ear, which made it feel too loose. The large Answer/End button on the front is easy to press, as is the volume lever on the side. Oddly, the button for turning on the headset is located on the underside (and it's tiny, to boot).
Good Call Quality
When we placed a call from a restaurant, the volume was decent, and our caller said that although we sounded somewhat garbled, neither the quality nor volume was terrible. When we called her back from the street, we again sounded broken up but still intelligible. We liked the ease of adjusting the volume and how loud it got at its maximum setting.
Range and Battery Life
Like many other Bluetooth headsets, the BH-101 has a rated Bluetooth range of about 30 feet, but the connection started to break up severely around 15 feet. It has a rated talk time of 8 hours; we rarely had to recharge it over several weeks of intermittent use and with occasionally forgetting to power it off.
For the money, the Nokia BH-101 is an all-around good buy. We like the small, understated design, and the voice quality and volume are good in most calling situations, even ones with lots of background noise. The quality and size are on a par with theJabra BT3010, but the BH-101 costs $10 less. Our one major caveat is a design issue: if your ear is on the small side, the device might be too wide to fit comfortably.