Review: Palm wireless headset (series 3)

Palm is no stranger to the wireless headset game and while the company has been pumping out Palm/Treo-branded headsets for a while now, it looks like the folks in Sunnyvale are finally figuring out how to do those Palm-loving chatterboxes right. First off, this is yet another re-branded Plantronics headset–it’s basically the 650 with a Palm logo slapped on the front. There’s one important distinction, however: the Palm version uses the same charging tip as the Treos/Centros, which means that Palm fanboys will have one less charger to carry around. Comfort-wise, it’s about what you’d expect from a recent Plantronics headset; the squishy “soft gel ear tips” are quite comfortable and chances are that you’ll be able to find a snug fit among the three sizes included. This thing is also pretty light at 9 ounces and pairing it with both Palm handsets and non-Palm handsets was painless in our tests. Like some other Plantronics headsets, this one ships with a “charging pocket” and while that adds a little bit of bulk to the package, I found that it’s not a bad accessory to have if you’re looking to throw your headset in your bag without having to worry about breaking it.

In the performance department, the Palm series 3 did well enough, though it’s not going to blow any other Bluetooth headsets out of the water. In our tests, the range was not far from the advertised 33 feet and the sound remained loud and fairly clear, as long as we were within range of the paired handset. I didn’t have the patience to yap on the phone for a full 5 hours, so I can’t tell you whether or not the advertised 5 hours of talk/70 hours of standby is accurate, though the battery life on this unit seems to offer a marked improvement over previous Palm-branded Bluetooth headsets. At the very least, I only had to charge it once every few days while using it regularly.

Downsides? It only uses Bluetooth 1.2 (which is, like, so last year) and won’t stream music from your phone–which seems like a real missed opportunity given the recent release of the more media-centric Centro. Despite these flaws, the series 3 is an all-around decent headset and at a price point of $70 (compared to the $130 list price that Plantronics wants for the same device), it’s not a bad deal for Palm fans looking to carry as few chargers as possible on the road.

For more on the series 3 headset:
– head over to Palm’s website


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