Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1.    #1  
    [edit 1/14/05: add MW Day 2 thoughts]
    [edit 1/13/05: add volume info, MacWorld Day 1]
    [edit 1/11/05: add description of earloop attachment vs. Sony, q's to answer later, initial fitting, many other answers to q's I've seen in other posts, other changes, signal pass thru body causes worse static.]

    Below, you'll find my basic thoughts on the Cardo Scala 500 Bluetooth Headset, for those thinking of buying one for their new Treo 650. The + section lists what I think is good, the - section lists what I think is bad.

    My question to others who have purchased this headset is, have you found the same issues with sound quality that I have? I'm wondering if you notice the same things, or if mine is a lemon & needs to be replaced.

    -------------------------------------------------

    Future q's: How good at battling WiFi interference? Is that where static coming from? I use mine right next to an Airport Base Station.
    When I hear static, does other party hear static?
    Could various static problems I hear be a problem with implementation in Treo 650, possibly fixed with future firmware update?
    I notice static most at high volumes, but a lot of static noise disappears at volumes similar to Sony. Am I being fair? Am I only hearing "more" static when the volume is high?
    I'll find out how good it really is in a work environment this week; I'll be at MacWorld Expo San Francisco. Going to expo should be a good test of outdoor usage, indoor noisy environment usage, various interference issues.
    MacWorld Day 1: driving, excellent. Could easily carry out a conversation with someone. They were impressed. Walking around streets of San Francisco, with typical people & car noise, could talk thru Scala on the street, although I had to raise my voice a bit for them to hear me. At a hotel where I had a business meeting, was fantastic. Great to keep hands free while carrying out a conversation. Very little static, especially when turning down volume from full blast. The interesting test was on the Expo show floor, a sea of people and loud noise. Other person I was talking to had a hard time hearing me. One thing I did to help was to cup my hand near my mouth. I figured this would "reflect" the sound into the Scala, and that appeared to help on this conversation. Unsure if this was Scala's fault or bad cell moment; bad cell reception on show floor. Noise loud enough at show, hard to figure out how much static was there. I need to do more testing to see where this thing breaks down.
    MacWorld Day 2: walking around on Howard St. by Moscone, I tried calling a friend who's technical & I've called before, so now he knows what Scala sounds like in variety of situations. Big busses, trucks, cars driving by. He tells me when a bus going by very loud, almost louder than sound of my own voice to ME, he says he can hear me, but that I sound "monotone." I'm thinking Jimbo's friend Ned from South Park? I wish I could hear what I sound like in this environment. But he says that he can understand me. I think most headsets would have a bad problem in an environment like this, so the fact that I can carry on a conversation w/o yelling is pretty fantastic. Made a call towards end of day, as most people leaving (I'm an exhibitor so I can stay); call clear. I found that I had to hold up Treo or set on a table to get good reception (not so good when I'm holding Treo at waist level or in my pocket in Moscone). Call was clear, but phone always within a few feet of headset. Nice to see it can handle all the interference in this environment. Battery life doesn't seem to drop dramatically with "Allow Wakeup" mode on; not sure how much more power this is using than normal constant communication w/Scala if paired & connected to phone.

    My suggestion for initial fitting: don't even put ear loop on. Instead, gently press the Scala to your ear, so it's just touching the outside of your ear canal, microphone pointing towards your mouth. Don't force it in; the speaker is not meant to go in your ear canal. It doesn't need to for volume, and this would block your normal hearing when not taking a call. This will give you an idea of what it's supposed to feel like. Then put on the ear loop. Adjust the ear loop's post up or down until you put the Scala on and the speaker feels about the same on your ear canal as it did during the initial test. Then, gently bend the ear loop so it hugs your ear. You'll notice some small indents in the rubber of the ear loop; I found that these make great points for bending the loop to fit you. I would place a finger (fingernail, really) against those indents, and bend in that location. Don't bend too much, just a bit. By making more of the surface of the ear loop hug your ear, you're distributing the weight of the Scala over more skin surface area so it doesn't hurt to wear over time. Similar to an optometrist bending a new pair of glasses. Going thru this process will lead to a nicely fitting Scala.

    Newer BT headsets have caller ID display. Personally, I don't get it. Most of the time I would want to wear the headset. Is it easier to take headset off ear, look at display, put back on? Or look at phone? Do I want to advertise to everyone walking by who's calling me? Seems pointless to me, unless you normally don't wear the headset and your phone is normally put away. If the headset is comfortable, I don't see that as the likely scenario.


    +

    I wear glasses; unit comfortable to wear with ear loop even while wearing glasses.
    Rocker switch (Multi Function Wheel) on back of headset controls power & volume. Slide left or right for volume up or down. Push in & hold for power on / power off. Also controls pairing function.
    Volume control buttons on Treo control Scala's volume; volume controls on Scala control phone's volume. Neat.
    During call, tap MFW quickly for mute, tap again for un-mute. Simple, good interface.
    Has internal ringer, a nice little melody when call comes in; easy to know when someone's calling you.
    Control button & MFW have distinct placement & tactile feel; easy to hit buttons by feel when wearing Scala.
    Click control button to pick up, high pitch tone. Click control to hangup; on control button click or hangup from phone, low pitch tone. I haven't tried picking up a call waiting call yet.
    Scala has support for voice dial if phone supports it (can Treo 650 do this?)
    Use control to transfer call to headset or back to phone.
    Can redial or reject call from Scala's control button.
    Volume can get very loud; great on a city street. I can hear who I'm talking to easily. Volume a problem on Sony HBH-60; driving in a tunnel, even with windows up, could hardly hear other person talking. Volume not a problem on Scala 500. No need for "eargels" or any other extras.
    Shape of speaker fits great in my ear. Tight enough to hear clearly, but not so tight that it blocks out all other sound. You can still hear in stereo while wearing headset.
    Wind-guard technology allows you to carry on a conversation on a windy city street; caller can hear you with little wind noise.
    Very light (.58oz); hardly know it's there.
    Very small; not a big boom. Can wear in public and not look like a telemarketer. You get a few interesting stares, which sometimes become smiles & questions. Sony HBH-60 much more noticable: much longer boom.
    Long battery life: 9hrs talk time; 1 week standby.
    Ear loop can be bent to shape for your ear, making it comfortable just for you. Initially (or for short periods of time) Sony HBH-60 comfortable, but for an entire day, started hurting my ear.
    Once ear loop shaped for your ear, unit stays in place very well; I can shake my head side to side, or move head to side so Scala 500 is down; stays in place with little movement. Sony HBH-60 flops all over the place.
    Ear loop attached to headset via a post at end of ear loop that goes through a hole in headset. You move earloop to 45 degree angle, place over ear, then move headset so speaker enters ear, mostly sits at edge of ear canal. After a few times doing it, becomes a fluid motion, don't need too look in mirror to know it's on correctly. Doesn't use "rubber grommet" setup of Sony. I found Sony harder to put on, more likely to "fall apart" into two pieces in my hand when putting on or taking off. Sony has a tendency to flop around more when I'm putting it on, where I needed several chances to get it on my ear. Often the speaker didn't make it to the edge of the ear canal on the first shot.
    Gray surface you see in pics of this unit is similar "rubberized paint" feel reminiscent of Apple Computer's Newton; very comfortable, grippy.
    Comes with ear loop, eyeglass clip (hangs from glasses-not necessary, but an extra; I wear glasses & ear loop works for me), charging cradle, A/C adapter (plugs into charging cradle), belt/shirt clip & neckband. Lots of goodies in box. Cigarette lighter adapter (plugs in to charging cradle where A/C adapter would normally plug in) not included.
    Feels light but solid, not rickety. No "button rattle" - I've heard this complaint of other bluetooth headsets, such as owner reviews of the Bluespoon.
    Inexpensive for what you get; great value (treocentral.com has great price).
    Looks cool.


    -

    When charging, red light means charging, no light means charged. Would be nice if they had a green in there to mean charged; possible your headset wasn't plugged in at all & you thought it was charged. Minor complaint.
    When placing Scala in charging cradle, I find it best to sit Scala in cradle, then press down on microphone end to engage clips & start charging. I find that if I press down on the speaker end, or use two fingers and press on both ends, sometimes the charging pins don't engage & the unit doesn't charge. Easy to tell if you've put the Scala in right, because either the red light goes on, or doesn't. Minor complaint.
    When hit control button to answer call, physical button "click" is loud; makes loud noise in your ear when wearing headset.
    Makes a loud noise when connecting on making or receiving a call; sounds like several sounds digitally compressed into a single moment, causing a loud noise. Sometimes just sounds like loud static noise.
    Once, just turned itself off. After I had made a call, I didn't turn it off. Hit button to receive call, didn't work. I looked at headset, was off. Fully charged battery. Turned back on; worked fine.
    Range is poor compared to Sony HBH-60. Sound quality on Sony better at further distance from phone. Not a problem if phone is in your pocket, but sometimes you want to leave phone on desk & walk around office.
    Lots of static; pops and crackles during conversations even a few steps away from phone. I use Treo 650; could be different quality with different phones.
    I notice static is worse if I turn away from phone. In other words, if line of sight from Scala to phone, static less than if signal has to pass through my skull.
    Blue flashing light is very bright; probably doesn't need to be bright enough that it lights things up in a dark environment. Not so bright that it lights up car interior; not distracting while driving at night.

    Complaint about Treo 650 w/Bluetooth headsets: doesn't reconnect to headset automatically. I have to hit control button on headset to reconnect to phone. This is true if headset has got out of range of phone, phone is turned off, or headset is turned off. This is true of Sony HBH-60 as well as Cardo Scala 500. This is a problem, because if you walk away from phone, then return to phone, phone not connected to headset. If a call comes in, only rings on phone, not Bluetooth headset until you reconnect by hitting control button. Can be a problem in a noisy environment, if phone in pocket, etc.

    When you hit control button, look at Treo 650 screen: Bluetooth icon in top right corner inverts, showing that Treo now "sees" headset. Problem with this interface is that this is also the method to do voice dialing. If I figure out how to do voice dialing with Treo 650, this might be a problem.

    I figured out a solution to this problem, however: In Bluetooth preferences, hit Menu key, choose "Allow Wakeup" from Options menu. This allows the phone to find the Bluetooth headset automatically. I'm not sure what effect this has on battery life yet.
    Last edited by masri; 01/14/2005 at 12:59 PM. Reason: edit 1/14/05: add MacWorld Day 2 thoughts
  2. #2  
    Have to turn the volume down on my HBH-660...too loud with eargels. I never have to reconnect the phone and my HBH-660 if they get too far apart. Battery eating "allow wakeup" not needed for HBH-660. No eyeglass clip neede for HBH-660. Great range and audio quality on HBH-660. I walk so far away from my phone sometimes I forget I'm using BT. But, HBH-660 does not like wind over the mic, gets staticky on both ends.
  3.    #3  
    "too loud with eargels"

    Could you put a link in this thread to the eargels you speak of? I didn't see this as a standard item that comes with the headset.

    "Battery eating "allow wakeup" not needed for HBH-660."

    Do you know how "battery eating" this mode is? I haven't done extensive testing yet. Specifically, is it only "battery eating" when the Treo doesn't see the BT headset? In other words, if I'm using the BT headset most of the time I use the phone (in standby, waiting for a call), is it an issue at all?

    "No eyeglass clip needed for HBH-660."

    The eyeglass clip isn't "needed" if you wear glasses, it's an extra, a different way to hold the Scala 500 if you wish to. I haven't even tried it yet, although I do wear glasses. I just use the earclip.

    This is all very confusing. It sounds like I want Cardo to improve the sound quality, or Sony to improve the design. Ugh. Isn't there a "perfect" BT headset yet?

    - Adam
  4. mlevi98's Avatar
    Posts
    48 Posts
    Global Posts
    65 Global Posts
    #4  
    Masri wrote:
    "When charging, red light means charging, no light means charged. Would be nice if they had a green in there to mean charged; possible your headset wasn't plugged in at all & you thought it was charged. Minor complaint."

    I just leave it on in the charger and it goes blue when fully charged.


    However...
    The blue light bothered me so I put a small peice of electrical tape over it.

    I wish I could toggle the LED without turning the headset off.
  5.    #5  
    "I just leave it on in the charger and it goes blue when fully charged."

    Really? Since my light just goes out, maybe there IS something wrong with my unit. Maybe I should get a replacement & try that & see if some of my other complaints disappear.

    Do you notice any of the static problems I mention in the (-) section?

    - Adam
  6. #6  
    masri- my light just goes out too. I think that's normal behavior if the headset is off.
  7.    #7  
    Yeah, according to the manual, it's supposed to be red, then turn off after charging is complete. I think what mlevi98 meant is that he leaves the Scala on while charging. Then you see the red light solid, and blue light flashing. When the red light goes out, you're left with the blue light flashing, telling you that the unit is on.

    How about you, 02flhrci? Do you notice any of the static issues I brought up in my review?

    - Adam
  8. #8  
    Adam-

    I do notice all the negatives. The interesting thing to me is that it works flawlessly in my car. I have the phone sitting in a holder attached to the right side of the dash and I have the 500 in my left ear. No problems at all. Walking around, or sitting at my desk, however, I have to hold the phone within 24" of the 500 for it to work properly (static free). The bottom line is that the 500 works pretty well for me, and it was certainly cheap. I am waiting for 4 or 5 TreoCentralers to come to a consensus on the next greatest BT headset, and I will buy that one.

    Sorry to be so long-winded. (Not so long-winded compared to your post lol)

    Jeremy
    Last edited by 02flhrci; 01/11/2005 at 07:14 PM.
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by masri
    "too loud with eargels"

    Could you put a link in this thread to the eargels you speak of? I didn't see this as a standard item that comes with the headset.

    None come with the headset. Buy them at Ragio Shack...the clear ones.

    "Battery eating "allow wakeup" not needed for HBH-660."

    Per PalmOne's own warning in Bluetooth tips.

    Do you know how "battery eating" this mode is?

    Nope

    I haven't done extensive testing yet. Specifically, is it only "battery eating" when the Treo doesn't see the BT headset? In other words, if I'm using the BT headset most of the time I use the phone (in standby, waiting for a call), is it an issue at all?

    Couldn't say. Just heeding the warning.

    "No eyeglass clip needed for HBH-660."

    The eyeglass clip isn't "needed" if you wear glasses, it's an extra, a different way to hold the Scala 500 if you wish to. I haven't even tried it yet, although I do wear glasses. I just use the earclip.

    If it isn't needed, what does it do? I'm actually thinking of buying a Scala for a backup headset to my HBH-660.

    This is all very confusing. It sounds like I want Cardo to improve the sound quality, or Sony to improve the design. Ugh. Isn't there a "perfect" BT headset yet?

    - Adam
    I agree, no perfect headset!!
  10. #10  
    I've not had bluetooth before so I don't have anything to compare with, but I do notice what seems to be a lot of static with this headset and I still can't seem to get it to sit comfortably in my ear and with the ear clip thing. I am really disappointed that Voice Signal Voice Dial doesn't work with it too. My trial period with that program is about to end and I am not sure whether to buy it now.
    Well, it isn't perfect and it makes me crazy, but I still do love my Treo!
    Sprint Treo 650 CDMA
  11.    #11  
    Jeremy,

    "Sorry to be so long-winded. (Not so long-winded compared to your post lol)"

    Yeah I know... I just believe in being thorough. And if this thread helps some other people, then good. This forum has helped me so much already, like the DUN patch and whatnot.

    650now,

    I saw the power usage warning on the Treo when you activate "Allow Wakeup," but this isn't very definitive. I hope to do some tests to figure out just how much this eats the battery. If anyone has seen a definitive response from PalmOne, or someone's already done testing, that would be better. Please post a response.

    "If it [eyeglass clip] isn't needed, what does it do? I'm actually thinking of buying a Scala for a backup headset to my HBH-660."

    The eyeglass clip gives you a way to connect the Scala directly to your glasses. This might be useful if you normally wear glasses & the Scala, and the ear loop is uncomfortable. It's just another option, not mandatory. I find the Scala pretty comfortable with my glasses, but choice is good.

    treo600guy,

    What is uncomfortable about it? Did you try my directions in this thread to see if you could get a better fit? It's not supposed to be like in-the-ear earphones. It just sits on the outer surface of your ear canal.

    - Adam

Posting Permissions