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      04.12.2003 19:34
      Very helpful



      Aside from the hype about the ban on talking on the phone whilst driving (which I fully support, but don't get me started!!) I don't like having a phone stuck up against my head. I'm not a pretty-boy, model, good at building stuff or a lottery winner - I need my grey matter for my job as an engineer. The thought of spending hours with a microwave emitter zapping what grey stuff is left (after years of drinking whisky, coffee and lack of sleep, probably not much) does not fill me with joy. Add to that a good friend who died of a brain tumour nearly four years, aged 30, with a tumour on the side of the head where he always held his mobile and located where the phone aerial was, I'm not convinced about their safety.. Wow - is that a record? - two contentious issues in one paragraph. Careful, or I'll get into religion and politics next.... Modern business requires a mobile phone, sad, but true. What to do then? Last year I read up about this wonderful new Bluetooth technology (now being used for the N-Gage phones), which is radio frequency connectivity standard. There are plenty of mobile phones which support it, I happen to have the Nokia 6310i. Brilliant phone, but it doesn't like being dropped on Welsh roads for some reason. Anyway, I found that Jabra manufacture a Bluetooth earpiece, which would connect to the Nokia. I ordered one from the US ('cos it was a lot cheaper than the UK back in December last year) and got it delivered. Open the very fancy box and inside is small earpiece thingy, a charger/cradle, power supply and a few gels (squidgy ear pieces that connect to the main body and direct the sound down your lughole...) Charge it up (and the earpiece will last for about 4 days on standby or about 4 hours continuous waffling) and then turn it on. Very detailed instructions on how to get it to connect to the phone and that was very simple. Slip it over your ear (which takes a bit of practice) and y
      ou are away... "I am One of about two hundred and fifty thousand". You look like a Borg. Get used to it, get over it!! It has a blue flashing diode, which is a bit cool, but otherwise it is relatively unobtrusive. Take it out of the charger or press the power button and it will autoconnect to the phone. When you do anything on the phone or the earpiece, the diode flashes a bit faster - a bit like a puppy when it gets excited...It's supposed to indicate to people that you are on the phone, but that only works if (a) they are behind you and (b) they know what the flashy bit means! Sound quality - excellent. The gel directs the sound straight down your ear. In my case I have to put my finger over the other ear to stop the words passing straight through, but it is very clear. I thought that because the microphone was up on my cheek, it would be poor - not so, no-one has complained. In fact, it seems very directional and I only had complaints about noise on a telephone conference whilst in Heathrow sat under the tannoy. The unit is very light, and once it is over your ear, you hardly notice it (or rather, I don't but then maybe I'm thick skinned!) I'm wearing it at the moment and do so for hours a day with no discomfort, other than when my boss phones. The radiation it emits is only 1% that of the phone and is also radio frequency and not microwave - like talking on a cordless landline phone. The range is pretty good, good reception from about 20 feet, as long as it is unobstructed. That means that the mobile doesn't have to be close by at all - and for you physicists out there, the intensity of the microwave radiation drops off according to the reciprocal of the distance squared...So, mobile on the windowledge, me sat no where near it. With the buttons on the earpiece, I can answer calls, end calls, increase, decrease the volume and, by setting up voice tags, voice dial. Press the power butt
      on until it beeps and then say the voice tag - easy as that. I had some problems getting the right version of the earpiece for the Nokia - the first one kept dropping the connection. A few words with the Jabra reps in this country (Jabra based in San Diego) and they requested the earpiece back and replaced it with the correct version with no hassles. Ten out of ten to them for after Sales service. Compared to some earpieces that look very silly (big silver disk over your ear) the Jabra is very neat. Comparing experiences with the Nokia version users, it is also much more comfortable for long periods of time. Downsides. You look a right plonker walking around talking (apparently) to yourself. Unless people approach from the side of your head its on, they won't see it - so you get a lot of two way conversations. I amost got arrested in Australia for having a conversation on it whilst in the queue for the agriculture check - the guy checking the documents thought I was barking (not far off the truth!) I also got some weird looks sitting in Heathrow making the odd comment, apparently for no reason. Certainly gave me plenty of legroom in the departures lounge. I think it is excellent. It does exactly what it is supposed to, works well and is pretty robust, I've thrown it around helicopters in the Gulf of Mexico, three Australian trips and it still keeps working. Recommend it to anyone with a Bluetooth phone - just check the version you need! Resistance is futile, prepare to be assimilated....


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