RIM sent me a simple little headset a little while ago to try out: the HS-300. It’s not quite as swanky as their HS-700, but seeing as it’s only $50 or so (versus $130), it’s hard to complain.
The layout is exceedingly simple, featuring one giant button on the outside face, a microUSB charging slot on the back, and an on/off switch on the bottom. Pairing up with phones. (yes, even non-BlackBerrys) was really simple, but I found it a challenge remembering which button taps did what… “Was it two taps to mute a call, or three? Or was it a long press? No, wait, that just hung up on them.” Comfort wasn’t too much of a problem; the BlackBerry HS-300 Bluetooth headset came with a variety of ear gels, plus the outer ear hook was removable. I found I didn’t need the hook to keep the headset comfortable and in place, but your mileage may vary.
Battery life was acceptable, and got me through about two days of light calling. I trust the moderate talkers would be able to get a full day of use out of it, while heavy users might need some juice near the end of the day. It lists 4 hours of talk time, but can charge the first 2 in only 15 minutes. Luckily the headset provides audible prompts when levels are low. The sound quality was perfectly acceptable, and good and loud in busy environments thanks to automatic volume control. I was a little irked that it wouldn’t stream music, which has become something of a required feature for me these days.
One of the biggest advantages of the HS-300 is its size. As you can see, the thing nearly disappears in my monstrous paw. For something that you might only use occasionally, and want to be easily portable and rarely noticed, the HS-300 will do well. Overall, I’d recommend the HS-300 as a basic Bluetooth headset for those who don’t have one at all, but any seasoned headset-wearers may not find its battery life or feature set up to snuff.
If you’re thinking of getting one, the HS-300 can be found in the official BlackBerry store.