Honeywell Airlite 740 Bluetooth Headset

Author
Logan King
Editor
Aron Schatz
Posted
March 27, 2009
Manufacturer
Honeywell CE
Views
62399
Honeywell Airlite 740 Bluetooth Headset
When you think of Honeywell, what do you think of? More famous for their thermostats than their electronics, today ASE Labs the Honeywell Airlite 740 bluetooth headset up for review.

Page All: Viewing All Pages

Page 1
Intro

Since its introduction a few years ago, Bluetooth has gone from a niche idea to a part of the everyday lives of many. No where is this more apparent than the strong market of Bluetooth headsets for cellular phones and computers. Today, ASE Labs has one such product from Honeywell CE in the Airlite 740.

About Honeywell CE

Honeywell has been a major international supplier of various goods since 1906, and Soyo Group is a respected consumer electronics company that has been around since 1987. Together they formed a joint venture of Honeywell CE, a fully owned subsidiary of Soyo Group licenced by Honeywell. Through the Honeywell CE brand, Soyo Group is able to market its products to a wider audience.

Quote

The Honeywell Trademark is used under license from Honeywell International Inc. by SOYO Inc. The Honeywell Consumer Electronics line is designed using only the most cutting-edge technology delivering long-lasting, quality products. Although we at SOYO are strongly focused on our products, our primary goal is to develop a lifelong relationship with each of our customers by providing excellent reliability and customer support through a variety of accessible brands.


Packaging

The device packaging lists the various abilities. Of note were the six hour battery time, the Digital Sound Processing technology and full Bluetooth V2.0 + EDR compatibility. It also mentions that it is compatible with cell phones, laptops and PDAs.
The rear of the box shows pictures of everything to be found inside (also written out on both sides of the box). This includes the headset itself, the ear hook (which is usable in both ears as well as removable), the AC adapter and the USB cable, as well as the five different ear caps.

Packaging FrontPackaging Back


Upon opening the package, you are greeted with a nicely designed three-piece plastic sheath. Everything inside is well protected, and the package itself was conscientiously designed so that it could be both easily opened and put back together without problems, in case you want to keep the packaging.

Interior PackagingInterior Packaging Back


Specs

  • Bluetooth V2.0 + EDR Certified
  • Dimensions: 1.5"(L) x .7"(W) X .5” (H)
  • Weight: 9 g (.32 oz)
  • Compatibility: All supporting Bluetooth headset and hands free devices
  • Range: 10 meters (33 ft) outdoors, 5 meters indoors.
  • Background noise reduction, echo cancellation and automatic volume adjustment.
  • Two-color LED Status Light
  • 1-Year Warranty
  • AC and USB charge capability
  • Security: Paring, encryption and authentication.
  • 6 hour talk time, 200 hour standby time.
  • SKU: BT-HWP740

Laptop/computer connectivity isn’t explicitly mentioned in the official specs as it is on the front of the box, so it will be tested to determine how closely the Airlite 740 follows the Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR standard.

Package Contents

The package includes everything seen on the outside of the box, including a manual for everything. There is one thing of note, however: As it is shown on the box, the USB cable also included for charging the headset is shown as being just as long as the AC Adapter. However, in reality, the AC adapter is about 4 feet long and the USB cable is only 6 inches long. That being said, this may not matter to you in practice (more on that later); and the cable itself is simply a standard 8-pin USB converter, something commonly used for digital cameras.

Package Contents


The multiple ear caps themselves are a nice touch that would be nice to be seen in all similar devices. Everyone has different ears, and it is nice to not have to compromise with a one-size-fits-all design. Neither the packaging nor the manual mention why there are different caps for both indoors and outdoors, leading me to assume that there are differences in how well they prevent sound leakage.

Something to keep in mind: The Airlite 740 does not come charged, and the manual specifies a 2-3 hour charge time; so know that you cannot use the product right out of the box.
Page 2
Product Design

The product itself leaves a few immediate impressions when viewed for the first time. For example, the headset is quite small and pretty minimalist. The dark purple color also looks quite good, appearing black from most angles; and the glossy finish that the unit has is pretty slick. Compared to my previous Bluetooth headset (an old Jabra BT350), the Airlite 740 is half the size and half the weight. The buttons on the unit are integrated nicely into the design, are easy to use and also function as mentioned inside the manual.

Size Comparison


The removable ear loop is flexible, allowing it to fit to your ear; and once the correct ear cap was installed (which may be a minor annoyance if you have large fingers) the speaker fit into my ear well. It altogether fits quite a bit better than the BT350 ever did, and the lower weight is quite noticeable. While some may complain about the ear loop being a removable design rather than a swivel design (which is what is on the BT350), I felt that the removable piece works quite well by itself. It doesn’t fell flimsy despite being flexible, and it will probably be easier to clean than a fixed swivel loop would.

One thing that is notably negative about the design would have to be the way the charge cable plugs in. While both of the included cables fit securely and snugly, neither the AC cable nor the USB adapter can actually be inserted all of the way. The plug only can be inserted to its middle point rather than plugging in all of the way. This seems to me to be a potential oversight, as while the plugs themselves seem to post little danger of being unplugged accidentally, having the plug inserted in such a way could lead to a better chance of the plug itself getting bent or otherwise damaged.

Setup

Testing for the Airlite 740 was done in two steps. The first tests were done with a Dell XPS M1710 laptop running Windows Vista Ultimate, which has an internal Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR module. The second tests were done with an LG Chocolate3 (VX-8560), which has Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR functionality.

For the laptop connectivity tests, the default Dell Bluetooth connectivity software was used in connecting the two devices. The device connected no problem, and offered multiple options for its use (Hands Free Telephony, Headset).

Connected.pngBluetooth Options.png


However, due to a Vista-specific oversight on Microsoft’s part, the Windows Vista Bluetooth drivers themselves no longer actually offer audio over Bluetooth as was the case on Windows XP. Instead of allowing audio to be played or recorded over the headset, a driver installation dialog pops up asking you to install the (nonexistent) drivers for the headset whenever you try to force it to be used for audio. Therefore, the ability to actually test the headset against the claims towards laptop usability was compromised.

Driver Error.png


Something that is important to keep in mind is that this is not a problem with the Airlite 740 itself, as many other headsets have this problem; but instead a problem with the Windows Vista Bluetooth drivers. There are workarounds for this, but they are not guaranteed (my efforts to use the most common one were met with failure); so if you plan on buying this headset for Skype or similar functionality make sure you have the proper set up (either a non-Vista OS or a Vista OS set up as will be discussed later in the review).

On an unrelated note, the device is not usable while it is plugged-in, be it with the USB cable or the AC adapter. While this would have been a nice feature for use with Skype or other similar computer services, it at least justifies the shortness of the USB charge cable included.

With that in mind, we turn towards its use as a cell-phone headset. The first thing that was tested was its range. The box names a functional range of 10 meters outdoors and 5 meters indoors. The tests were performed by determining how long the receiver could maintain a connection with the phone as the two were separated from each other. When connection was lost, a measurement was taken at the distance where it was lost. The measurements were done in metric for accuracy and then converted to imperial. While the tests were being carried out, notes were also taken regarding the performance of the device (interference, sound quality, etc.). Everything was carried out this way in an effort to keep all testing under controlled circumstances.

The battery life of the device was also tested, in this case using a couple of different ways. First, the phone was put into mp3 playback mode, playing music through the headset until the battery died. After the battery had been recharged, a staged phone conversation was done to perform the second test. The headset was placed in front of a speaker as music was played while the other phone in the conversation had similar treatment done to it. The headset was checked in 20 minute intervals until the red battery indicator began flashing, upon which it was checked in 5 minute intervals (and then every minute after 20 minutes had passed since the indicator had come on).

Testing
The first cell phone tests that were carried out were the functional range tests.

Range Chart.png


As you can see, the testing managed to show off considerably better numbers than what was specified (particularly indoors). The manual specifies a 5 meter (16.4 feet) range indoors, and testing ended up showing a functional range of 6.55 meters (21.5 feet), and even then it stayed connected for a little over 8 meters. Similarly (though admittedly less impressive) was the outdoor range. The manual specifies a range of 10 meters (32.8 feet), and testing ended up proving it wrong once again with a functional range of 11.5 meters (37.7 feet), with a maximum range being a little over 40 feet.

There are a few things that were noticed during testing. For example, when testing the indoor range, it was discovered that a nearby computer (a desktop computer idling with no wireless of any kind) was badly compromising the range of the device; slashing the functional range all the way down to around 2.2 meters (7.2 feet), so that is something to keep in mind. Also noted was that the sound quality was quite good until the device reached about 85% (on average) of the maximum distance. When that rough area was reached, sound quality became quite poor. Finally, after the unit passed the 20 foot mark in outdoor testing, static began popping up in the device reception (though it never really occurred in the indoor testing).
Sound quality of the device under normal use was quite good, being fairly close to that of the actual phone speaker itself. The manual warns to try to use the headset on the same side as the phone it is connected to is holstered, though alternating the sides of the two devices didn’t seem to make any discernible difference regardless.

The battery life tests were also promising. In the first test, the headset battery managed to last well over the 6 hour time quoted on the packaging, coming in at a good 7 hours and 23 minutes average. In the second test, the unit managed a very respectable 6 hours and 48 minutes average, which is still notably above the time quoted on the box. For the second trials, there was also a sound quality test at the end of each test to determine how much the sound quality had trailed off under low battery power; where it was determined that there had been a negligible effect on sound quality right up until the last 10 minutes or so of battery life.

The final thing that was tested was the differences between the indoor and outdoor ear caps to see whether or not the different designs were done in order to minimize sound leakage. While there was a notable difference between how much sound was let in with the outdoor caps compared to the indoor caps, the outdoor caps were also less comfortable to use. They also seem to have lowered the sound quality a little bit (through muffling, mostly), and furthermore aren’t offered in the same sizes as the indoor ones. While the idea is good, the actual functional difference between the two sets honestly doesn’t make the compromises seem worth it.

Conclusion

With so many different options for when it comes to Bluetooth Headsets, it can seem confusing which one best suits you. However, the stylish and compact design combined with the usability that its multiple earbuds and flexible ear loop offer make the Airlite 740 a potential candidate for anyone who is in need of a headset. It has acceptable range and sound quality, includes a comprehensive amount of equipment in the packaging and fully conforms to the Bluetooth standards. Official pricing has not yet been announced, but expect it to not cost much more than the older Airlite 700 at the lower end of the spectrum (under $50 or so).

Image


ASE Labs would like to thank Jason of Soyo for making this review possible.

Comments

images/siteimages/upload/2009/03/27/2960lhu.png Range Chart.png images/siteimages/upload/2009/03/27/2961lu5.png Connected.png images/siteimages/upload/2009/03/27/2962l60.png Bluetooth Options.png images/siteimages/upload/2009/03/27/2963lk0.png Driver Error.png images/siteimages/upload/2009/03/27/2977lma.jpg Packaging Front images/siteimages/upload/2009/03/27/2978l35.jpg Packaging Back images/siteimages/upload/2009/03/27/2979l9p.jpg Interior Packaging images/siteimages/upload/2009/03/27/2980lck.jpg Interior Packaging Back images/siteimages/upload/2009/03/27/2981lf0.jpg Package Contents images/siteimages/upload/2009/03/27/2982lkk.jpg Size Comparison

Title

Medium Image View Large