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Nov 2009 02

Hardware Review: Sony DR-BT21G Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Headset

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Sony DR-BT21G
Sony DR-BT21G

In 1994 Jaap Haartsen and Sven Mattisson has a stroke of genius when they invented the personal area networking (PAN) protocol known today as Bluetooth for Ericsson phones.   By the year 2000 it was pretty widely known that Bluetooth was something hot!  A lot of major companies jumped on to the Bluetooth Special Interests Group with the intent of developing some really neat technology..  And ever since I heard about the protocol I immediately though, "they need headphones that use those!!"..

Well set the way forward machine to 2009 and I FINALLY have a set of stereo headphones that use the Bluetooth protocol!  Yay!   I know they have actually been out for over a year but it took me this long to find a pair that I thought would be worth having, AND I had a device that would actually support it.

I have at home a Mac Mini (which I love) that supports all the various Bluetooh profiles and can fully support these headsets, and I have an iphone which I thought could too..   I use these headphones with my Mac Mini to listen to all my streaming music as well as my Ventrilo machine when I'm playing games..  It works very well..  Upon discovery of the device the Mini installed 2 new sound devices for output, and one sound device for input.

Apparently these have to have a "headset" device and a "headphones" device depending on how you use them..   In headset mode you get mono audio output, and the mic (cleverly disguised as a hole) works too..  In headphones mode the mic doesn't work.  At first I wanted to complain about this.. I mean you either get mono with mic or stereo, but no stereo with mic?!

Then it occurred to me that the only time I would use the mic would be with my phone (more on that in a second) or when talking in Vent. or Teamspeak... neither of which would use stereo anyway..  So stereo headphones AND a mic would be pointless..

The battery life seems good too.. The box says it's rated for 11 hours of either headphone or headset(+mic) use and 100 hours of standby time..  I can't talk to the standby time as I tend to charge things pretty often, but I believe the 11 hours of headphone time..  I have yet to actually run out of juice while using them so.. shrug

All in all I like them.. I think they were a good purchase and I would recommend them.. They are light and comfortable and fold up nicely when you want to store them..

Pairing is simple and works well, though I had an odd issue the first time I paired with my Mac.. For whatever reason I had to reboot my mac to get anything to work post pairing.. I think that was more due to the fact that my mac hadn't been rebooted in like 4 months hehe.. It was starting to act wonky and I have all manner of stuff running on there so this was likely me, not the headphones..   Also it appears that "Teamspeex" doesn't fully support these, though Ventrilo and everything else works perfectly.

My only real complaint about them is that they must have a wall charger instead of just a USB charger..  This is a really.. really minor complaint and I hesitate to even mention it..  I just thought it was odd that it had a wall charger instead of a computer one.. but it occurs that a lot of folks may never actually use this device with a PC, but rather entirely with a IPod like device or their phone..  At which point they are still near a computer..  shrug still its minor..

The other complaint I have has nothing to do with this device, but rather my iPhone.   I have the first generation iPhone and it can't suppport the A2DP connection required to listen to music.. Which pisses me off..   Not because it can't do it, but because it totally can do it and Apple has it turned off for the original phones in order to get you to upgrade to the newer iPhones.. (If you have a 3G or 3Gs it works fine)

Good job Sony..

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