The Metal Headset
Made almost entirely from aluminium, a new headset has been launched by Bluetrek, a part of the ModeLabs Groups which specialises in mobile phones using new generation technology. This product is the Metal and it arrives with the claim of being the world’s thinnest and lightest Bluetooth headset. When you consider that this headset weighs just 5.5 grams with a thickness of 4.2mm, it would be difficult to doubt this claim.
Removing the various pieces of kit from the packaging revealed the main Bluetooth ear-piece module, coloured black in the case of the review sample (there is also a silver version), measuring 49.8 x 15.6 x 4.2mm. There are two ear hooks, suitable for those with small or large ears, and six rubber ear buds of various sizes. Three of the buds are the flat type and the other three are for those who prefer a more in-ear style of wearing such a device. When not being worn you can slot the ear piece into a docking station with a belt-clip attachment that comes as standard with the product.
Completing the package is a concertina style mini Quick Start Guide which provides just the bare basic instructions. There is a more comprehensive document but this is only available online. The Quick Start Guide does mention a URL to download this document but this just returned an error message when I tried it. You can view the English version of the Bluetrek Metal manual on this link.
Powering the Metal is carried out via an appropriate USB connection and the package contains several items to help with this particular task. There is a small USB adapter which slots over one end of the ear piece to create the necessary type of socket. This adapter can be store in the docking station when not required. You also get a short USB extension lead plus an in-car cigarette lighter plug with a built-in USB port. The presence of this latter item does indicate that the product’s developers feel the Metal will often be used to provide hands-free calling from within a car.
As well as in-car powering you could recharge this device from a computer. I opted to use a USB-mains adapter (not part of this kit) to recharge the ear-piece from the mains. During the powering process, which takes an initial four hours, a red light will glow. This light will turn itself off once the charging has been completed.
The ear-piece has, what could best be described as, three micro sized control buttons. The centre button is for turning the Metal on (a long seven second press) and off (just three seconds this time) plus used to activate the Talk mode while those buttons on either side are for adjusting the volume level. I found it to be an almost impossible task to locate and use the correct button when the Metal was attached to my ear Even when I removed the device from my ear, pressing just the required button was a little on the fiddly side.
Using the Metal with a Sony Ericsson W980 handset provides rather fuzzy quality audio. It was useable but the quality was disappointing. The Metal has an estimated talk time of up to five hours and standby rated at up to seven days.
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