Nokia BH-601 Stereo Bluetooth Headset Review

Introduction
Developing with time, the telephones transformed from far back in something much more than communication means. The technologies continuously change and without interruption we see more and more “first in the world” inventions, that decrease the inconveniences and increase the potentialities of our mobile phones that already transform in not only a lap top with telephone module but in a pocket assistant with many various functionalities. When multimedia is referred, strongest significance has the sound and picture that are symbols of the young people since generations, thanks to innovations like the pocket photo camera and the portable personal music player. But the reproduction of music by telephones became already a mass phenomenon and in order to gain clients the producers add more and more facilities, like this discussed here, and namely wireless stereo earphones, for listening music based on the Bluetooth technology, which makes them conformed to mobile phones stipulated for this. This is a combination between the many-years experience of making earphones intended for music and the convenience of the comparatively new wireless Bluetooth technology.

The device presented by us was produced by the leader on the mobile phones market, Nokia, and is intended mainly for work with mobile phones but as Bluetooth is a universal technology used also in many other devices (lap tops, portable computers, etc.), it may be used with them too. You can use them also in order to listen to music from your computer; there is a Bluetooth adapter in the set too (to be connected to USB port) for your computer.

The set includes:

    • Nokia BH-601
    • Charger
    • USB Bluetooth dongle
    • Extra Earpads
    • Manual


Design:
When the matter is earphones whose main purpose is listening to music, there are various types of designs, which differ in the purpose (the place) of listening, as well as in the way, in which the earphones have to be hanged and stand to your head. Nokia BH-601 are earphones directed to young people with the idea that they will be used mainly on the street where your mobile phone will be the source of your stereo; that is why they were created with medium size and modern behind-the-neck design, which hangs the two earphones stable around your head, without being necessary to have a solid and easy to be seen “bridge” between them (like it is with other types of earphones and most of these that are for home use). Their body is made fully of plastic in order to keep the weight lighter, and the colors used are contrast silvery grey and black, colors that are neutral in principle. As the size is easily noticeable (the earphones are not of the type that go into the ear) the producers used a clever trick to make them suitable for various groups of people thanks to their universal unobtrusive design. Impressive are the forms that are quite square in contrast to the most such earphones that search for round vision: the earphones themselves are almost square, with slightly rounded off edges, and the fastening element binding them is with permanent width and looks like an ark. In our opinion, thereby the device assumes a retro-modern appearance but in the same time is good for sport, as well as for more formal clothes, which makes the earphones universally directed to big circles of people.

The earphones avail of music control buttons; this is thanks to the AVRCP Bluetooth profile, which activates them like a remote control for the telephone. They all are located on the area of the right earphone, and there is no one on the left; we would prefer to have them dispersed, but in such case it would be necessary for you to control them with two hands, which also has its disadvantages. You will find here buttons for the level of sound (+ and -), Power Button, which acts as Pause/Play and Songs Change Buttons (next and previous), that anyway cannot be used for Fast-Forward and Rewind.

The buttons themselves have common performance – they are not very embossed, but they can be felt comparatively easily; these for the sound are over the central big plastic with the Nokia logo, these for the changing of songs are with mirror location, and the Pause/Play Button is at the behind, vertically oriented. The buttons are pushed mildly and this is felt; the only strange thing is the delay in the reaction of the Play/Pause.



Nokia Company has probably not relied on the service lights to supplement the appearance of the earphones; two very small, almost invisible LED-s are used that blink behind. The one lights in blue or red indicating the work regime of the earphones, and the other one blinks (lights) in green upon charging. Most other earphones of this type have big lights clearly visible even on daylight, which blink in any possible ways catching the attention. Personally for us the directness here is a better solution.

Functionality:

Just like other devices based on the Bluetooth technology, BH-601 must be paired with your telephone before starting to work. This pairing is done in a familiar way, through an algorithm used on a big percentage of the Bluetooth earphones on the market, and namely: in a switched off position the Power button has to be pushed, kept pushed and after the earphones are switched on, up to several seconds the one LED starts to blink in blue-red, then you have to search the earphones on your telephone (or another device, to which you are going to connect them) and after entering the code (0000) you are ready.

Nokia have provided also an opportunity, if your phone cannot deliver stereo music signal via Bluetooth (does not support A2DP profile) you can connect the device to it, in order to use it as a headset and additionally to an external music player. In order to do that, after you have paired it with the telephone, switch it off, switch off the Bluetooth of the phone too (or the entire telephone) and put in the earphones in pairing regime again (hold for about 10 seconds the multi-functional / power button pushed) and then connect them to the music player.


The buttons are for the music functions, and a little bit strange combinations are used for phone calls. Upon phone call received usually with one push of the Call button is responded, and with two pushes it is refused but:

In order to dial the last number used you have to push simultaneously the multifunctional (calling) button and the Volume Down.

The multifunctional button + Volume Up will activate the voice commands of your telephone.
In order to deaden the microphone during conversation, just push the Volume Up + Volume Down simultaneously.

Performance:

As these are stereo earphones for music listening, we will assess them not only by how they are heart during conversation but also by how the music that you listen through them is heart. Naturally, the assessment for sound is subjective to a certain extent here again, but we will compare them with competitive models, as well as with standard (wired) earphones of higher class.

Listening of music:

The intensity of sound is at a quite high level, when you intensify it to the end (this is indexed through Beep sound) – you can without a problem listen to your music even in the noisy environment of the street or the bus. Comparatively tight, the earphones stand closely to your ears. Unfortunately the quality of the sound is not at such a high level: no clearness at the high frequencies, which are comparatively weak in intensity too, the medium frequencies are flat and sharp and even though they sound hard they are not clear. There is no dynamics at the low frequencies, but they are quite well expressed in comparison with the other sounds from the earphones.

During a conversation:

Here we stay with relatively mixed feelings: as these are earphones for listening of music, it is expected the sound to be very good but during a conversation it is very clearly felt that the sound is not very good, because the human voice has very complicated sound arsenal – the voices sound hollow, flat and monotonous. The sound intensity in both directions is medial, but the person who you have the conversation with hears you even worse, with a permanent noise (cracking), while you are talking, and your voice sounds deeper than it is.

Although 601 does not have DSP, it is relatively usable in a medium-noisy environment and on the street remained usable, when the street is not very noisy zone; the fact that the microphone is behind helped for decrease of the influence of the wind while walking.

The Battery Test of the BH-601 gave very pleasing results with total of 530 minutes of battery life, which is almost 9 hours.

Comfort:

The earphones are put relatively easy: you can have problems if you have long hair and want it to remain above them, and not held tight below, but this is also not a mission impossible. You must put them to lie right on your cochlea, and the headband to stand freely behind your neck. As the earphones are a little bit hard and stiff, if you put them on and take them off often, you will see that this is done more slowly and a little bit harder than it should be done. Unfortunately, the earphones are not the most convenient that we can imagine, even on the contrary: in 25-30 minutes use they start to hurt you. With us the most unpleasant effect had the bending at the beginning of the headband, which goes over/above your ear and the fact that the earphones themselves tighten up the ears to the head. If you use them for a longer period of time, it will be necessary for you to take them off, in order to give a rest to your head and ears.

It would not be bad, if the producer has used softer and more flexible headband, which is not so tight, and a covered with rubber part around the ears would be a pleasing complement.

Conclusion:

The stereo of Nokia has its advantages and disadvantages in balance. It is a matter of taste whether you will like them as a design but they are quite neutral and suitable for any style, and the lack of bright lights makes them unobtrusive. They are not convenient for carrying because of the fact that they are very tight and chafe the ears, as well as the head. The sound for the music is mediocre, and it is weak for conversation. Combined with the inconvenient functionality, this is not the best choice for mobile music.

Pros

  • Neutral design
  • High level of sound
  • Solid bass

Cons

  • Unwieldy upon longer carrying
  • Weak sound during conversation
  • Unsatisfactory presentation in the sphere of the medium and high frequencies
  • Unhandy control of functionality

PhoneArena Rating:

5.7

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