If you own a 3rd generation, 4th generation or iPod Photo model digital music player, you might find the iBlue iPod Handsfree module to be a worthy addition to your iPod accessory collection. This plug-in module uses Bluetooth to interface with your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone, to provide you with a handsfree voice kit. With this product, you no longer will need to remove your earbuds when your phone rings as it will allow you to answer the call, talk, hang-up and go right back to listening to music.
Sent to me by Semsons & Co. Inc., the iBlue package includes:
Earphones with volume control and microphone
USB charging cable
My first task was to charge the module’s internal batteries. This is accomplished by plugging on end of the included USB cable into a free USB port on your computer, and the other end into the iBlue. During the charging process, the LED on the face of the iBlue, will blink Green. When charging is complete, the LED will turn to Yellow. The internal rechargeable battery has 4 hrs of talk time or 100 hrs of standby time.
The iBlue module is just a white plastic blob with the remote / earphone jack connector, USB charging connector and an LED on the face. It’s a simple design which is similar to other iPod accessories like the iTrip.
The handsfree part of the iBlue is the earbuds and microphone set. They plug into the top of the iBlue by a smaller than 3.5mm plug. Between the earbuds and the connector is a small egg shaped control. The control has a volume wheel on the side, and a button on the top. The button has several functions. Holding it down for 2 seconds will toggle power. Holding for 3 seconds while powered on, will put the iBlue into pairing mode. Pressing once when a call comes in, will answer the call and pressing once while in a call, will end the call.
Pairing with my Sony W600i phone, was a snap. The only interaction required was for me to put in the 0000 passcode when prompted on my phone. Once that was complete, I was good to go. Listening to music through the earbuds is comparable to listening through Apple’s own earbuds. They are even the same color ;o) But now when the phone rings, the LED on the iBlue will start flashing, and an oscillating beep in the earbuds will sound. At this point, you can either press the button on the controller to answer the call, or if your mobile phone has an auto answer setting, the call will automatically start. Either way, music will stop flowing through the earbuds, and you can listen and talk to the caller through the earbuds and microphone built into the controller. Sound quality for calls seems decent. Clear and with adequate volume. During my testing, the person on the other side of my calls said I sounded normal. I was a little worried since the microphone hangs about 8 inches or so from my mouth.
When your call is done, you can press the controller button to hang up. After you do this, the music will start playing again. The only problem here is that the music doesn’t pause while you are in a call. Nope, it keeps playing, you just can’t hear it as it is muted. So, when the call completes, the sound just turns back on again. I would rather that the audio paused when a call comes in or is initiated.
The only other testing that I did with this product was to see how much space I could put between the phone and the iBlue before the call audio dropped out. I was pretty impressed that I could walk around my whole house without the call audio breaking up. This was while my phone was in my basement office. Not bad!
The iBlue Bluetooth Handfree device is easy to use, easy to setup and makes a useful accessory for 3rd generation, 4th generation and iPod Photo models. Here’s hoping an iBlue for the latest iPod models will be available soon.