Gennum nXZEN PLUS 5500 Bluetooth Headset Review8.3
The nXZEN PLUS is Bluetooth 1.2 compliant as is standard with most new releases. The pairing process is routine and fairly simple. The device has the capability to be paired with 3 devices simultaneously.
As advertised, the nXZEN uses the patented FrontWave Extreme noise canceling and echo suppression algorithm. The main objective of this technology is to reduce background noises to a minimum. With the earpiece sitting in your ear canal, it performs as advertised and does not disappoint. Whether be sitting in loud traffic or in a noisy office the nXZEN PLUS is one of the better devices on the market for hearing clear incoming calls when the environment appears that it is not possible.
For voice transmittance from the users end, it incorporates dual microphones. Although successful at reducing incoming interference, outgoing voices sometimes tend to provide a static background when speaking in these same noisier atmospheres. Removing yourself to a quieter place (putting your windows up in traffic) solves this problem instantly as the dual microphones adjust to amplify your voice.
Gennum places the advertised range on this device at 10 meters. In-house testing at their facility has shown results of up to 20 meters with a relatively open space. I performed a comparative test paired with the Motorola RAZR and came to similar results. Inside the average house, going from one room to the next, I was able to get clear reception for approximately 11 meters (36 feet.) Performing the same test in a large open space, I achieved maximum results of 16 meters. Of course results can vary according to the phone and spacial aspects, but these numbers are good for everyday use and small office settings.
The benefit of the PLUS (5500) over the 5000 is the ability to pair the device with your mp3 player. This is really a great feature for someone who is looking for the latest technology in their headset. While simultaneously connected to an iPod using the included stereo headset and the Motorola RAZR, I felt completely comfortable that I would not miss any calls while enjoying some music. When an incoming call arrives, your music automatically drones out and you are alerted of the call.
nXZEN-5500 and an iPOD Nano
A consistent critique of this device is the controls on the nXZEN. With a total of 5 buttons, I would recommend keeping the included quick reference guide handy for the first week or two. As you can see the large side button is referred to as SIDE. Routine answering and ending of calls is a breeze using the large side button. The PINCH buttons are located on the bottom of the device towards the microphone and are used for pairing, transferring calls, muting and more. However, it is important to pay attention to the number of beeps necessary to perform each operation. The volume controls are discreetly concealed by a rubber layer and fairly easy to operate with 2 buttons (one on top and one on the bottom.)