nXZEN nX6000 Bluetooth headset

November 28, 2007

(Yeah, here I go again, but I promise to keep this one short.)

A couple of weeks ago I quickly reverted to the ever-reliable Jawbone after being disappointed by the Motorola MOTOPURE H12; never giving up the fight, I decided to give yet another headset a shot at the crown (there's two levels there, think about it ;), and so I purchased the nXZEN nX6000.

When I first heard about this product earlier this year, I kind of dismissed it without much thought, but repeated high praise (and from people presumably in the know) compelled me to give it a chance. I wish I hadn't.

It felt OK in my ear, but it couldn't decide if it was an on-the-ear or an in-the-ear device, which made long talks quite uncomfortable.

It will come as no surprise that I liked its super-plain looks; I thought it kind of steampunk'ish actually. A negative side-effect of the simple look is the lack of buttons — the "multi-function" button does everything, and uses a hard-to-learn hold/press/tap system that only Samuel Morse could love. Overall the buttons felt nice and had a good action to them, but I would have liked to have seen at least one more button take the load off the multi-function hero.

And now, the noise-cancellation. Every headset I've used since the Jawbone has disappointed me in this department, and sadly, the nX6000 is no exception. I knew it wasn't going well, when, as I was talking to my girlfriend while walking outside, she said, "I can hear all the cars and the wind." There were no cars and no wind to speak of (and as far as I know she's not that kind of crazy). Further, she could hear everything I was doing while wearing the headset — opening my car door, turning the car key, typing on my keyboard — and could even tell me what the TV was saying in the background.

I'd half a mind to think the headset was broken — could this really be what FrontWave Extreme was all about? I seriously doubted it, but didn't care enough to order a replacement to find out.

My girlfriend, and everyone else I talked to with the device, told me there was a faint echo to everything I said. It was also noted that it sounded like I was talking from inside a closet or a bathroom, and my voice was repeatedly described as "tinny" (a complaint not uncommon of Bluetooth headsets).

On the positive side, the nX6000 could get quite loud, and so being able to hear the person on the other end was a non-issue.

Should I quit, or try out the BlueAnt Z9?

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