A2DP rocks

I got a $40 pair of an older model of Bluetooth stereo headphones with A2DP support from Logitech (unfortunately no AVRCP, HSP or HFP profile support), but I am happy with its battery life (7+ hours), 8-meter radius range and acceptable sound quality (bass is good but tremble should have been a bit better). It’s pretty amazing seeing my poor Texas Instruments 195Mhz CPU on my QTek 9100 phone having both BT and WiFi ON, streaming a radio station off the internet, decoding the incoming 192 kbps mp3 and then re-encoding it on the fly in the A2DP format and streaming it on my BT headset.

Needless to say that the rest of the phone almost crawls because the CPU power is barely enough to do all that, but it manages pretty well. And this is with the much-cursed Microsoft Bluetooth stack. Many people were pissed off (because this broke compatibility with lots of BT hardware) when MS ditched Windcomm’s Bluetooth stack and wrote their own for WinMob5 but the reality is, Microsoft knows how to write optimized code for their platforms. Doing the same streaming stuff on my Samsung CPU 300 Mhz iPaq PDA (Win2003SE, Windcomm BT stack wtih A2DP support) it results in stop-gapped playback. It just ain’t smooth when WiFi is ON and the audio comes from the internet. Windcomm’s stack is more full featured than MS’, but not as optimized.

If you are an audiophile and you don’t want to carry with you both a phone and an mp3 player, get a phone with A2DP support (all new Sony Ericsson and Samsung phones do, some others too). Then find a good pair of stereo Bluetooth headphones which are able to deliver A2DP/AVRCP and HSP/HFP with a microphone on them (so you will never miss a call during music-listening). Your stereo Bluetooth headset will be functioning both as a music headset and as a handsfree.

Personally I have a huge experience with *stereo* Bluetooth headphones as I have about 7-8 pairs in my closet (I lost count actually, I am not sure how may I have). These ones have amazing sound quality and features, but mediocre battery life and absolutely terrible reception. This model has almost everything right (amazing product, the most high-end in the market today), but they forgot to have the most important feature done right: sound quality. Therefore, I would have to suggest this model instead, which does everything “ok”. Not super, but “ok”, acceptable. At least it won’t piss you off by implementing one or more major features in a really bad way.

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