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The Nokia BH-501 is a stereo headphone set that connects wirelessly to a compatible mobile phone using Bluetooth connectivity. They facilitate mobile communication and music listening without the need for awkward trailing wires.
Inside the box you will find the headphones, a standard Nokia Wall Charger, user instructions and a warranty card.
Before you can use the headphones you will need to fully charge the battery.
The battery is charged using the supplied charger, which is a standard Nokia phone type charger. The battery takes around 4 hours to fully charge from flat. There is a Led on the headphones outer earpiece that shows red when charging and turns blue when fully charged. Unfortunately there is no battery life indicator so you have no warning that your headphones are about to fail. The headphones are powered by an internal, non-serviceable, rechargeable battery. The phone can be charged hundreds of times, however there will become a time when the headphones will no longer be chargeable and have to be thrown away.
On the subject of battery life according to the manufacturer the batteries are estimated to last around 11 hours for both music and talk time. I've not managed to match this estimate and have personally experienced around 6 to 7 hours on a single charge. As with all battery powered items the length of use can vary, I like my music loud and this would no doubt drain the battery at a higher rate. The battery, being rechargeable, also means that there will be a gradual decrease in performance as the batteries shelf-life nears.
Once fully charged the next thing you need to do is to wirelessly link your phone and the headphones together (known as pairing). This is a relatively straight forward task and involves turning on Bluetooth on your mobile phone, putting the headphones into discovery mode (by holding down a button on the left earpiece) and once "found" by the mobile entering five zeros on the phones keypad to link the devices. This process will vary slightly on different phone models but the principle will remain the same.
Once charged and paired the headphones are now ready for use.
The headphones are extremely light and sit rather comfortably on your head. They mount in a rather unconventional manner and hang over your ears with the main brace sitting on the back of your head. How comfortable these would be for somebody with a mass of hair or maybe a ponytail remains unanswered, fortunately I am thinning! The grip is good and the headphones don't slip due to little hooks that rest over your ear lobe. Probably not ideal for joggers though.
My only concerns about the headphones are the build quality. They have a lot of plastic joints and parts that could quite easily be broken if dropped or mishandled. Before purchasing these headphones I discovered that this is a common concern/complaint of the headphone owners.
The headphones have three buttons on the right ear pad. The main functions of the buttons are for turning the headphones on and off, answering a phone call and changing the earpiece volume.
When listening to music the controls on the headphones are solely for adjusting the headphones volume and unfortunately there is now way of changing the song being played or navigating your music library. With this in mind I found that making a play list on the mobile phone in advance to be invaluable. You can of course change your desired song from the mobile itself if required. As the only controls on the headset is volume up and down then any EQ changes to tone will also need to be made from the mobile handset.
Despite the lack of functionality the sound of the headphones is really good with quite deep bass tones and bright crisp treble. The volume is quite impressive too and can easily drown out external sounds such as traffic.
With a compatible mobile phone handset you can also use the headphones to make and receive calls. An incoming call can be answered or rejected by pushing the headset buttons or the usual handset buttons. The earpiece has an integrated microphone so you can answer your calls hands free. The quality of this microphone is rather good though it can also pick up distractive sounds if in a loud and busy location. Outgoing calls however need to be dialled in the usual manner from your handset.
So to conclude, a really good sounding set of headphones that are comfortable to wear, and have a good battery life. The only downsides are the lack of track selection function button, possible build issues and the non replaceable batteries.