BlueAnt Z9 Review
Connecting to other Bluetooth devices is very easy: to enter into pairing mode you just have to press the multi-function button and hold it for about 5 – 6 secs, until it starts to give out a blue twinkling light. From there you have to follow the standard procedure and enter the ‘0000’ code. Although Z9 is a small and light device, it is really very functional.
An interesting fact that is worth mentioning is that, upon activating the voice isolation technology, a man’s voice sounds, telling you „voice isolation max” or “voice isolation standard”. This is actually a very convenient method of signaling the activation of a function, because otherwise all those sounds with different duration and intensity can be very confusing when trying to convey their message to the user. It was high time that devices started ‘talking’ to us. We hope that this is just the beginning and we’ll be able to find such accessories in more and more devices.
In order to facilitate the activation of the voice isolation technology, the designers have assigned the task to the multi-function button, which has to be pressed once for the purpose. How do you end a call then? Well, you only have to press the multi-function button and hold it down for about 3 seconds. So, what actually happens, is: ‘it was nice talking to you. Bye”....1.....2....3 seconds; end of conversation. Not very convenient, is it?
In the beginning of this review we already mentioned that the USB cable from the set is used both for charging and for updating the firmware with the most up-to-the-minute one. The procedure is described step by step in BlueAnt’s support. The whole process of updating takes no more than 15-20 min. The headset that we tested had firmware V1, which we immediately updated with the latest possible version (V2.2). According to data from the update history, the changes from the previous version are expressed in the Update of Voice Isolation DSP code to improve removal of noise in windy conditions, while maintaining a voice signal that can still be clearly heard. The firmware version can be seen from the headset’s name, e.g. BlueAnt Z9 V1.
According to the information, provided by BlueAnt, the headset should be able to go for 5.5 hrs of talk time or 200 hrs of standby time. We did a test with the sound at maximum volume and voice isolation technology also at max. The headset performed far below our expectations with 3.4 hrs (206 min) of talk time. However, it has outperformed Plantronics’s smaller models 655 and 645, also equipped with DSP.
Small headsets would normally have smaller range: for example, the performance of JX10 (10 m / 32.8 feet) or Motorola H9 (17.5 m / 57.4 feet) is there to show us that the smaller the size of the headset, the poorer its performance gets. We were therefore surprised to find out that, in spite of its small size, BlueAnt Z9 does not have such a disadvantage and with its 26.5 meters (86.9 feet) is one of the leaders among the small devices.
Signaling the loss of coverage is very convenient, too: you hear a sound, reminding you that you’re out of coverage and so you will not miss a call because you think you have coverage when you don’t.
BlueAnt Z9 performs comparatively well during conversation. The voices that you hear are loud but shrill, with predominantly high frequencies. The person at the other end of the line hears your voice even louder and sometimes it could be necessary to turn down the volume a bit. On this end, the voices are flat, without high frequencies and sometimes they are so loud they are even unintelligible. You won’t be able to have a conversation if there is loud music around you; you cannot rely on the Voice Isolation Technology either, no matter if it is in standard or max mode.