Nokia BH-500 Review

Introduction and Design

There are times when we crave to get away from the everyday rat race and indulge ourselves in the music of a favorite artist. This should not interfere with our daily duties, of course.

Nokia developers offer their own BH-500 as a solution to the dilemma mentioned above. The device is a combination of a splashproof Bluetooth hands-free on one hand, and stereo headphones, on the other. Listen to music without missing a call from a friend, relative, parent, or maybe the boss, phoning to notify you that you have been promoted, even while working out in the park early in the morning.

You will find the following items in the package:

  • Nokia Bluetooth Headset BH-500
  • Nokia Wireless Audio Adapter AD-47W
  • Nokia Compact Charger AC-3
  • Three sizes of rubber pads for earphones
  • User guides


It is quite likely that you mistake BH-500 for a compact MP3 player at first sight - its overall design makes it look like one: it is a device with dimensions of 47 x 35 x 19 mm (1.85 x 1.4 x 0.75 inches), plus the indispensable headphones. The material is matte black plastic with a silver edge on the sides; according to data, supplied by Nokia, the unit’s weight is only 40 grams (1.41 oz.). However, what is interesting is its water-resistance, enabling the outdoor use when it rains, but you should be aware that it would not withstand submerging into water.

All controlbuttons, as well as the green-red-and-blue lit LED indicator, are placed on thefront panel. There are seven buttons: On/Off; Volume Up/Down; Rewind;Fast Forward; Call key; /Pause Key. The easiest to make out are the Call Keyand the Play/Pause key, made of shiny silvery plastic. Pressing the controlbuttons is fairly difficult, requiring the use of your finger tips; most ladieswith long manicure will have some hard time trying to do so, and not only them.Both the Call and the Pause keys are an exception – they are easy to press,even by using the soft part of a finger. From the rest of the buttons surround those two the „+” and „-” protrude the most . Still, the usershould make some efforts to remember their exact location, for they are hard tolocate by touch only. When the sound volume has reached maximum, a short signalwill be heard in the headphones – one that is likely to leave the impression ofa transmission breakdown at the other end of the line.

There is a standard 3.5 mm stereo jack socket on the right side, which enables you to choose among different types of headphones.

You will find the microphone on the upper side and the charging connector, protected against atmospheric contamination by a rubber cap, is just below. The device is equipped with a large clasp for attaching it to the piece of clothing you are wearing – normally to the lapel, the collar, or wherever you might find it most appropriate to do so. It is manufactured in a way that will not leave room for feeling uneasy about losing the unit – it will be secured steadily enough.

The set contains headphones with earplugs along with three differently sized earpads. The users are able to select the most comfortable ones depending on their cochlear duct size.

It is comparatively easy to place the headphones, but it takes both hands to do so. They are manufactured in such a way to strongly reduce the external noise; this will allow for full enjoyment of the music.

BH-500 can be connected to a PC through the Wireless Audio Adapter AD-47W, included in the set. This will enable you to enjoy listening to all the music stored on your computer.



Pairing is done like usual, by holding the on/off button while the unit is switched off, until the LED indicator starts flashing in blue. The device will be thus detected and connected; the code to be entered is “0000.”

During our testing, it was possible to use all the control buttons; however, their functioning depends on the paired device as well.
Besides the standard functions, there is also the opportunity to lock/unlock the keys by quickly pressing/releasing the on/off button.


According to the manufacturer’s specifications, the device should endure up to 8 hours in talk mode or 150 hours in standby; respectively, the operating range should measure up to 10 meters. Having been subjected to testing in real conditions, the device performed quite close to the official specification – 7 hours and 20 minutes non-stop conversation at maximum volume and no change in signal quality at even 28 meters (91.8 feet). Nonetheless, its battery time is fairly lower than that of competitive models such as Nokia BH-601 or Motorola HT820.

Due to the specific design of the headphones, audibility, while having a conversation outdoors will not be disturbed by any noise – it is suppressed by the ear pads. Sound volume is rather high, so you will hardly find yourself at a location with a noise so strong as to find the words of the collocutor unintelligible. Voices sound sharply, which is unpleasant and outright irksome, especially if sound volume is at the maximum level. This makes voices sound rather unreal for the ear, but all the same intelligible.

Though the sound is strong at the other end of the line, you should bear in mind that turning the head will increase the distance to the microphone thus causing your voice to sound more weakly at the other end. To avoid this signal disturbance and ensure a good volume and clear sound for the collocutor’s ear, it is desirable that you place the unit as close to your mouth as possible.

As far as the headphones' main function is concerned, we have been disappointed by their poor performance – when listening to music, sound quality is far lower than what we have anticipated. With a view to the fact that the headphones are noise-proof, we expected their quality to be similar to that of cable ones, supplied with mobile phones (such as the Walkman units of Sony Ericsson, for example), but their performance turned to be much worse. Not a single segment of frequency is fully reproduced, rendering music sound as if played on a low-grade telephone speaker – entirely flat and emotionless. Regrettably, even replacing the original headphones by high-quality ones (thanks to the 3.5 mm socket) did not result in reproducing the type of sound we were looking for, though it did improve the quality a great deal, indeed. Clearly, it is the quality of the chip that is to blame.


Having clipped the unit onto your clothes, you will not sense its weight at all. So, it is the ears that only carry the “load” of the headphones. The holding hooks are soft enough not to cause any discomfort, even after 5-6 hours of wearing.

In case you are not accustomed to headphones with earplugs, you are quite likely to experience a strange sensation when they have been put on for the first time. Inserting them into the cochlear duct reduces the very ability to hear, insulating the external noise and enabling you to mainly listen to the music. Different people may interpret this feeling in different ways – varying from satisfaction to discomfort. However, if you consider this to be rather an inconvenience, there is always the choice of replacing the kit headphones and plugging in ones that are of your liking.


BH-500 will be of interest to you if you go in for sports or simply your days are tense and eventful – in this case what you need is a light, compact, and easily attachable device, with fewer cables than the standard headsets. You can just insert both the unit and the set of headphones into the back pocket of your jeans or in a small handbag. And there is the 3.5 mm jack socket that enables the users to connect standard stereo headphones if different appearance or better sound quality is what they are looking for.

And when it starts raining out of the blue, you can still keep on enjoying the music without causing any damage to your water-resistant headset. It is for this reason that we consider the BH-500 to be targeted at people with an active life-style; the design itself is reminiscent of the favorite personal music player with its good old way of controlling.


  • Splashproof
  • Very light, 40 grams only
  • Option to use standard headphones
  • Button control (depending on the type of the paired device)


  • Buttons are hard to press
  • Shorter talk time at prolonged conversations compared to its

PhoneArena Rating:


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