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BH-905i - the good, the bad and the ugly

Round two of testing: I paired the Nokia BH-905i with my Blackberry Bold 9700. Then I hopped onto the MRT to visit a close by mall, especially the game arcade with very loud and noisy games going on.
  • The good: I didn't had to pick any profiles and stuff, it just worked. The accept call button on the right side of the Nokia headset works as advertised, as does the play and volume buttons. Calls are clear and music from the Blackberry player is processed in high quality. The noise in the train was pleasantly quiet only sounds in the human spectrum, like the PA announcements and unfortunately the squeaking of the breaks, were clearly audible. Switching active noise canceling on/off makes a huge audible difference. Especially inside the arcade it was almost quiet, a pleasant walk through a place that usually gives me a headache in less than 30 seconds
  • The bad: Noise cancellation seems to be for the headset user only, not for the person you talk to on the call. Either I haven't worked that out or we have a case of massive #fail. I did a few conference calls today with the kids playing FPS in the back. I didn't hear a thing, but my partners on the other end complained about the background noise. SWMBO called me in the arcade. I heard her crystal clear and she couldn't understand a word of me. In disbelieve we switched phones. She went into the arcade to enjoy the active noise cancellation. When I called her I could hear the full spectrum of the surrounding sound inferno - and barely her voice. I hope that is either a setting mistake (I studied the manual but didn't find anything) or something that can be fixed with a firmware update. I'm actually surprised about this failure. I'll run a test against the Jawbone to see if that one is better in preventing sending noise.
  • The ugly: You can hear yourself walking. With headset on and noise cancellation on every step becomes a pat-pat-pat. Quite irritating. Anyway walking with a headset that mostly covers your ears in my climate here isn't something I plan to do. The other interesting finding: you can actually hear the noise cancellation. Anthony (junior #1) pointed it out: there is a very faint, very deep hum. Seems the sound and anti-sound are a tiny tipsy bit phase-shifted creating a very long and low wave.
That's for now. More testing with iPhone, iPod and iMac coming up, as well as the calling death match with the Jarbone.
Stay tuned

P.S.: The adapter cable I missed yesterday is called AD-77 adapter and just not part of the package (I don't know if that is the package in general or just my demo set)

Posted by on 09 November 2010 | Comments (4) | categories: After hours Nokia Travel


  1. posted by Volker Weber on Wednesday 10 November 2010 AD:
    The ANC you switch on/off on the left only affects you. There is no setting for the other two microphones that pick up your voice. The ANC switch IS on the left, is it? Otherwise you are wearing it the wrong way.
  2. posted by Stuart McIntyre on Wednesday 10 November 2010 AD:
    I have the BH-905i as well, and hadn't even considered that noise cancellation would work on the outgoing mics- they are noise-cancelling headphones that have integrated microphone.

    I haven't seen any headsets that filter noise on the mic side - do you have any examples of this?
  3. posted by Volker Weber on Wednesday 10 November 2010 AD:
    Stuart, the Jawbone is what comes first to mind for outgoing NC. It picks up vibrations from your cheekbone to tell the difference between signal and noise. Also most headsets from Plantronics provide a more standard way to suppress noise by putting two mics on the arm.

    But it's pretty obvious that I don't spend much time on phone calls. Emoticon smile.gif
  4. posted by Stephan H. Wissel on Wednesday 10 November 2010 AD:
    @Vowe: Yes it is on the left Emoticon smile.gif The ANC switch has quite remarkable effects. When I switched it on my steps became loud and all the rest softer.
    With no outgoing noise cancellation I'm not sure if the headset is fit for the task of being "the last headset you ever buy"
    Emoticon huh.gif stw