Headphones come in two distinct classes -- on-ear and in-ear. Users, who prefer to do their listening on the go, usually prefer the in-ear kind because they are so small and light and are ideal for discreet use with mobile phones, especially when they are Bluetooth-enabled.
But you pay a big price for size and convenience. Other ambient sounds leak in -- and for serious music premi’s, this is a no-go: They will endure the bulk of on-ear headphones for the pleasure of shutting out the world and concentrating on their favourite sounds from Brahms to Bismillah Khan -- except during an incoming call !
The Groovez Bluetooth headphones BTHS800 from the UK maker STK, is a fine exemplar of this second category -- and a good combo of price and performance among headphone launches this year.
A neat swivel, folds each earpiece so that the whole packs snugly into a semi-rigid travelling case shaped like a rugby football. It charges through a USB cable and works on a full charge for some 10-12 hours of active use. The mike is cleverly buried into the left earpiece and the music pauses automatically if there is an incoming call on the mobile phone that you have paired with the headphone. The play-pause, previous-next, volume up-down controls are conveniently positioned on the left hand phone while all call controls -- take call, end call, reject call etc can be done with the right hand using a single multifunction switch on the headpiece. You can also connect the headphones with a cable in case your mobile phone or music source does not have Bluetooth.
You can also use the headphones to voice-dial a number -- provided your phone supports voice recognition. The phone claims a digital noise cancelling feature but we found this to be rather overstated. For Rs 3,990, the BTHS800 is a good value bundle of features crammed into a nice comfortable housing. We would not hesitate to take it along, the next time we have to face a long and boring rail or air trip!...