2. Design, Features and Conclusion
Some headsets have decided to take a more "minimalist" approach to Bluetooth design - not the Cardo S-800. Unlike the Jawbone, which has received rave reviews on many a web site, the S-800 has lots of buttons and configuration options for the user.
The main control button is on the face of the headset. This makes it very easy and intuitive to answer calls. The Power button is separate and located under (or over - depending on which way you are holding the headset) the main button on the bottom (or top) of the headset. the power button also has two other functions attached to it - it is used to pair the headset to your phone and it is also used as a "hot dial" button (more about that later.)
On the Side of the headset near the back of the unit is a mini USB charging port and a Multi Function Wheel. The Multi Function Wheel handles the volume control, redial functions, call waiting and conference call features and "Swapping" between active phones.
On the back of the headset is a "One size fits all" In the Ear Speaker.
While all the features are great - I did find the buttons a little small and sometimes complicated to operate at the correct time.
The S-800 is a feature rich headset. It handles the basic features found in most Bluetooth headsets - answering, rejecting, dialing back, call waiting, etc. It is designed with a built in audio balancing and noise cancellation technology. The good news is that the user doesn't have to push anything or configure anything for this to work.
The S-800 has some additional features that many users might find quite useful. One of the innovative features is "Hot Dialing." The Hot dial button is the control button also used for power and pairing. Just tap it and speed dial #2 on the phone will be automatically dialed. Tap it twice, and Speed dial #3 is called - three taps dials Speed Dial #4. I found this to be a great feature for quickly dialing often used numbers.
Holding the same button for a few seconds and a battery indicator is displayed using the LED lights.
One of the very cool features that I really liked was the Locate the Headset feature. Just press the Multi Function Wheel in the up position for five times after dialing a call and the headset buzzes until you find it.
Another nice feature is what Cardo calls "Swap" technology. You can pair your S-800 with two phones and push the MFW inward in standby mode to switch between the two phones. For real road warriors who carry more than one phone or if a couple is sharing headset - I guess this would be quite helpful.
As with all Bluetooth Headsets, the bottom line is always "how does the caller sound and how do I sound when using this headset?" Well, I put this to the test. I called people using the Cardo S-800 and then called back using the Jawbone and the Blue Ant z-9. Most people told me that I sounded better on the S-800 than on the Jawbone. I heard others equally as well on both. The Z-9 and the S-800 seemed to be about equal is overall sound quality.
The Noise cancellation was not as powerful on the S-800 as it was on the Jawbone or the Z-9 - but it did a pretty good job of isolating the voice and minimizing the background noise. Over all, people I called while using the S-800 told me that I sounded as good as when using the device without a headset - which is exactly what you want to hear.
From the user end - the S-800 displayed great audio quality. On my end, calls were always loud and crisp and clear.
The Cardo S-800 is a great little headset. The button design is a little quirky. There are some awkward pushes to do to activate all the features and it is tough to remember which one to push for which feature. That being said, the feature set is outstanding. For more technically inclined people, this a very feature rich headset.
Most importantly, sound quality was very good as was batter life.
- good sound quality
- good construction
- lots of features
- great technology
- buttons are small and awkward
- square design is not as "fashionable" as other designs
The Cardo S-800 Bluetooth Headset can be found at: http://www.cardowireless.com/products.php for US$84.99. I found it for US$50.00 on a couple of web sites as well.