Review by Michael Oryl on Monday January 26, 2004.
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Nokia HS-3WOne of the down sides of using a Bluetooth headset is actually a social problem, not technical. You look like an idiot as far as most people are concerned.
Avoiding that problem was the supposed to be the draw of the Ericsson HBH-20. It had a traditional earbud that you wore in your ear that was connected to a Bluetooth base by a....dare I say it? A wire. My initial impression was one of "Why bother?" The wire defeated the purpose as far as I was concerned.
But the reality of the situation is that the shorter wire to the clip-on base is far better than a full length wire to a handset that is in your pocket. But regardless, the HBH-20 never sold well. Sony Ericsson is now trying to revive the concept with their HBH-200, and now Nokia is getting into the game with the HS-3W, the subject of this review.
The HS-3W is a pretty little device. The main body is about 7cm long and uses a magnet to secure the earbud when it is not in your ear. No clicking it into position, you just kinda get it in the area and the magnet sucks it into place. Very easy to grab and insert into your ear when a call is coming in. It would have been cool if a hang-up switch were integrated into that setup so that you could end the call by hanging up the earbud, much like a traditional land phone.
The entire package is pretty light. At 32.5g (as opposed to the claimed 29g), it is not all that much heavier than some normal headsets that are on the market. The nice thing is that most of the weight is not focused on your ear, but on your jacket or shirt where the base is clipped. The clip on the back of the base is fairly standard and works well. The clip and the entire back of the device can be removed to expose the battery. The sides of the base are rubberized and contain the power and volume buttons. The buttons are poorly designed and very hard to press. I am of the belief that a button should not require real force to operate, and these certainly do require force.
The HS-3W supports both the Headset and Hands Free proiles, which means that it will pair with just about any handset that supports any type of Bluetooth headset. Speaking of paired devices, it can manage up to 8 pairings, though only one can be active at a time. Nokia claims 4 hours of talk time for the HS-3W since their own handsets use the more battery intensive HV1 protocol. My tests using a Sony Ericsson T68i, a more efficient HV2 device, resulted in over 5 hours of talk time. My guess is that the HS-3W would fall a little short of 4 hours with a Nokia handset.