We are doing a research on a group of earphones, belonging to the ‘on-ear’ (supra-aural) design group; all the previously tested ones were designed for securing behind the neck, which is not the case with the present model – Plantronics 590 feature an adjustable head-band that rests upon our heads, just like most of the home-usage headphones. This has both positive and negative sides – weight is evenly distributed on a larger part of the head, which is supposed to contribute for a lighter ‘feel’, but on the other side there is the clearly seen band on the head instead of the ‘invisible’ behind-the-neck design. To add to their portability when not in use, the former can be folded – their left and right parts going to the inside of the head-band.
Jabra BT620s, Plantronics 590A, Nokia BH-601
The silver and grey-black color combination is used here, too. The headphones have some additional coloring due to the shiny metal details such as the decorative rings on both earpieces and all the buttons - located on the right one.
All of them are on the right side, as with Nokia 601, and not on both, like Jabra BT620. As mentioned above, the four of them are situated in a circle: on the front and on the back, opposite one-another, are the Volume up/down; similarly at the top and bottom there are Next/Previous, also serving for Fast forward/Rewind. The remaining two are Call and Play/Pause, one above the other below the round surface. Despite the fact that they do not take up the entire place as with BT 620, their slight groove enables easy finding and pressing. The four buttons on the ‘circle’ are not so convenient, but still usable - the whole ring is a bit protruding at a slant, which should render it easy to find; however, pressing each of the ‘directions‘ exerts certain force upon the whole unit and makes it move in the respective direction. This causes discomfort – when pressing, you do so upon your head.
In addition there is a two-position on/off switch
– we salute this because it makes it possible to either turn them off for saving battery power or in case you do not want to listen for a while; and do that or switch them on, fast at that, without having to do the tiresome job of holding a button for minutes on end, as with the rest of the headphones we have tested.
Like the other headphones, the on-ear loudspeakers are covered with soft material
. However, we consider it strange that there is no such on the head-band and thus the plastic that it is made of (which is not compact) is in direct contact with your head. We, and in our view most of the users, would like to have softening material here as well.
The service light
is also located on the right speaker and is in the form of a circle that is lit either blue or red. During operation it flashes in blue and, we should think, with a rather strong and unpleasant light at that – very much like Jabra BT 620, but while it can be turned off on the latter, using Pulsar 590 will doom you to constant winking.
The two earpieces are round, but the right one (we can assume that it is the ‘main’ because of its functionality) has a minute bulge on the lower front with a small transparent tube sticking out – this is the microphone and the tube is telescopic, so that one could pull it towards the mouth for better incoming sound quality during conversation.