Bluetooth headsets is something you either love or loathe, and I believe that there is no real middle ground here. After all, you don’t see people carrying a Bluetooth headset around but not using it, do you? While the higher end ones like the Aliph Jawbone are priced slightly out of the reach of most folks who are currently running a tight ship, it is nice to see that the mid-range market still has plenty of choices to choose from. By choices, I mean in terms of branding as there is very little to differentiate one from the other in terms of technology and design. The SolarVoice i908 Bluetooth headset takes a slightly different route as its name implies, and you can read more about it right after the jump.
If you’re one of those who charges up every single device each day before retiring for the night, then the SolarVoice i908 Bluetooth headset is not for you. After all, this model was developed to help eke out maximum performance by harnessing the power of the sun, although it does make one wonder – how many corporate executives these days would spend most of their time outdoors, apart from leaving the office building for lunch? Even then, would you be eating by the sidewalk at some al fresco cafe, or do you spend your chow time indoors at a restaurant?
Nice to know that i.Tech has included a cradle for the SolarVoice i908 Bluetooth headset which can be pasted onto a strategic location on your vehicle’s dashboard, allowing one to place the SolarVoice i906 there while driving in order to soak up the sun’s rays. It is best located in the middle, since leaving it at the sides have a higher chance of obstruction due to the vehicle’s A pillar throwing its shadow at certain angles. Cloudy days don’t really play nice with the SolarVoice i906 as I found out – it works best under direct sunlight, making this a great beach companion.
I too was an unwilling participant in testing out the SolarVoice i908’s toughness, as I had dropped it onto the concrete floor a handful of times – good thing it worked normally and did not shatter into different parts. There was one time when I was sweating profusely after spring cleaning my apartment, and the headset fell onto the bathroom floor which was wet. The moisture didn’t affect the headset at all, and I suppose it is mildly “waterproof”, so to speak, but that doesn’t mean you can rinse this through your washing machine or go swimming with it!
You get a transparent plastic over-the-ear clip-on that can be attached to the SolarVoice i908 Bluetooth headset for a much more secure fit (alongside a few rubber earbud sizes to cater to different people), but I found it to be more uncomfortable when wearing it. Perhaps that’s the reason why I tend to drop the SolarVoice i906 quite often from my ear while making brisk walks (and sweating), but if you’re fairly sedentary then you can make do without the transparent over-the-ear clip if you wish.
Compared to a regular Bluetooth headset, it has a slightly longer battery life thanks to the solar panel, and there is always the much faster option of juicing it up via a USB cable or through the included power adapter. I do suffer from dropped connections from time to time, but that is more the exception rather than the rule. Bluetooth connectivity doesn’t really work as advertised though – in an empty living room, I did not manage to go further than 5 meters away from my cellphone before the reception fizzled out instead of the theoretical 10 meter range.
All in all, the SolarVoice i908 Bluetooth headset is decent enough for everyday use, as I have no major complaints against it apart from the fact that it falls out far too easily if you don’t use the transparent plastic over-the-ear clip-on. Otherwise, communicating with family and friends using this is a joy, and it certainly beats having to mess around with tangled up wires from a wired hands-free kit. The inclusion of a small solar panel doesn’t hurt either, just don’t expect it to work miracles if you tend to spend most of your time in the office, arriving at home when dusk falls. It is more suitable for frequent travelers as well as those involved in plenty of outdoor activities during the day, as that would maximize its novelty factor.