BlueAnt Z9 Review
In order for a new product to be successful on the market, it has to look good and to be able to attract the attention of potential buyers. With this in mind, the company’s designers have come up with a really interesting look, combining smooth shapes with slightly rounded edges. Its dimensions are 41 x 17.5 x 11.2 mm (1.5 x 0.69 x 0.44 inches), and its oval shape makes it look even smaller. If you consider also that it only weighs 10 grams (without the earhook), you can count it among the lightest and smallest headsets on the market.
As it can be seen from the pictures, Z9 is made mainly of black plastics with very few silver elements and a metallic-colored front part. The loudspeaker is protruding and its end is covered in soft black rubber (which, however, could have been softer), so that it does not cause discomfort when worn for longer. This eartip can be unscrewed, which is very convenient for cleaning it. However, we would have deemed it logical that there were other eartips with different sizes included in the set, but no such options are provided. We’ll check later whether this has an impact on the comfort while wearing the device or not.
The hook is made of hard plastics and the material does not allow it to be bent to the shape desired. As you can see, the hook is translucent and therefore it is almost invisible on your ear and it is not seen at all from afar. It is attached on a rotating mechanism, which can turn round endlessly in any direction, making the switch of the headset from one ear to the other really easy. The rotating mechanism is attached to a metal plate, which at first sight looks like a useless designer feature, but a closer look reveals that it is actually a clip to attach your headset conveniently to your clothes, rather than look for a pocket to stick it in when you’re not using it: thus you also have a quick and easy access to the headset whenever you need it. This is a very good solution offered by Z9’s designers.
The headset’s navigation is done through three buttons, located right where you would expect to find them. The company’s logo is inscribed on the multi-function button, which follows the curve of the headset and is therefore difficult to feel; however, pressing it is easy and gives a characteristic click and tactile feedback. The light indicator has the function of backlighting the multi-function button in red or blue, imitating the way an ant changes its color: from blue to… red. The other buttons are the two volume keys, located to the side of the device, rather spaced-out and allowing you to put your index finger and your thumb on both buttons and adjust the desired volume really fast and easy. The buttons themselves are bulging and therefore easy to find: there is no way you can miss them. Moreover, if you have sensitive fingers, you can even feel the relief of the „+” and „-” symbols, which, on their part, require a bit more strength to press, but nevertheless are convenient and easier pressed with the fingertips.
We were about to feel very satisfied that the good design is not at the expense of any compromise, when we came across a problem. As we have already mentioned, the headset can be worn both on your right and on your left ear. However, some of the functions (e.g. call waiting, disconnect/transfer) can be activated by pressing simultaneously „+” and „-”. Well, when wearing it on the left ear it proved impossible to press both buttons with your thumb – the only working option that we thought of, was to turn your left hand so that your index and middle fingers point downwards and thus to press the two keys. It’s not that this movement is difficult, but it causes inconvenience by being unnatural.
Normally we are used to the mic being located as close as possible to the mouth. In this case we have something like a button located closest to the mouth, which does not have any other functionality, apart from looking nice on the device. Now you may ask: Where’s the mic then? Well, it’s not a microphone, but there are two of them, positioned rather strangely on the headset’s side, opposite the volume keys. Later on we’ll have to check whether this position impacts the headset’s performance.