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February 14, 2008 / Marco

Nokia BH-604 Bluetooth Headset Review: Part 2 Keys, Pairing and Performance

In my first post regarding Nokia BH-604 I talked about why I purchased this stereo headset and what benefits it provides. Now let’s move on to the juicy segment: keys, pairing and performance.

Keys

Locating the keys found on the Bh-604 isn’t difficult at all. If you place the headset over your head and then touch both speaker pads, you’ll notice that one speaker pad has two big keys pointing toward your front and back, and the other speaker pad doesn’t. The pad which has the keys should be placed on the right of your head and the pad which has no keys should be placed on the left of your head. The headband easily allows you to adjust the length of the headset on top of your head.

Nokia BH-604 has five keys, and two of them are flush with the outer surface of the right speaker pad. The big top key is called the Multifunction key, and the big bottom key is called the Play/Pause key. The Multifunction key provides various functions in different circumstances. For instance, to switch on the headset you should press and hold the Multifunction key for two seconds until you hear a beep. Alternatively, to switch off the headset press and hold the Multifunction key for five second until the headset beeps.

The other 3 keys are called Fast Forward, Rewind and Volume. Fast Forward and Rewind are located on each outer surface of the headset, on the front and back side. The Volume key is placed at the bottom of the speaker pad below the Play/Pause key and can be pushed to the right and left to increase and decrease the volume. The charging socket and the microphone are located on each side of the Volume key.

Handling calls and listening to the music via these keys is easy as pie. The following lists summarize the function of each key in different environments.

Basic functions

  • Multifunction key: hold for two seconds to turn on the headset, and hold for five seconds to switch off the headset.
  • Volume key: press forward/backward to increase/decrease the volume.
  • Multifunction+Volume up: press and hold for five seconds to clear pairing and volume settings.

Call handling

  • Multifunction key: press once to answer or end a call, press once to return the call to the headset if it has already been switched to the phone, press twice to reject a call, press twice to redial the last number when no call is in progress, and hold for two seconds to activate voice dialing.
  • Play/pause key: press once to mute/unmute the microphone during a call, and hold for two seconds to switch the call from the headset to the phone.

Music playback

  • Play/Pause key: press once in the music player to start playback, press once to pause/resume playback, hold for two seconds to stop playback.
  • Rewind key: press to move to the previous track, and hold to move toward the start of the track.
  • Forward key: press to move to the next track, and hold to move toward the end of the track.

Pairing

For those who have used bluetooth for a few times, pairing Nokia BH-604 with a handset takes just a few seconds. You just turn on the headset, turn on Bluetooth on your handset, search for available Bluetooth devices, select Nokia BH-604, type the passkey “0000” on your handset and hear the handset sound through the headset almost instantly. Moreover, if you set Nokia BH-604 as Authorized in the list of previously used Bluetooth devices, the phone gets immediately paired with the headset as soon as you enable Bluetooth on your handset.

Although pairing Nokia BH-604 with my N82 was quite straightforward, I had some difficulty pairing it with my Dell XPS M1210 notebook. At first the notebook refused to find Nokia BH-604 regardless of my efforts, so I cleared the pairing and volume settings using Multifunction key+Volume key. Having done so, the notebook also joined the list of devices which are capable of taking advantage of Nokia BH-604. Fortunately now I can pair both the notebook and the Nokia N82 with Nokia BH-604 without any hassles in spite of the fact that I had to go through the process of pairing the headset with the phone once more.

Performance

Nokia BH-604 functions as advertized. It is a solid stereo Bluetooth headset which is very easy to wear for many hours, offers fantastic sound quality, provides a decent battery life (more than 18 hours of music playback and talk time), and has easily identifiable keys. Its speaker pads are so big that you won’t hear the surrounding noise as you wear it, and this is a benefit for crowded environments. The volume and base are also fantastic. It is also an excellent tool for voice calls as the voice comes in and reaches the interlocutor perfectly. If you’re listening to music and someone calls, the music gradually fades and as soon as the call ends the music resumes.

If your Bluetooth-enabled device offers the A2DP profile, you can use Nokia BH-604 to listen to music as if you were using a wired headset. However, the performance with different devices varies. For instance, Nokia BH-604 pairs well with my N82 and offers all music-related functions there, but I cannot use the headset to, say, move to the next or previous track when it is paired with my notebook. So don’t expect everything to function with all music devices. It would be safe to assume that all Nokia devices with the A2DP profile get the most out of the headset.

The only issue I encountered while using the headset is that upon pressing a key to perform a certain action, the pitch of the music tends to decrease a little for a few seconds. I’m sure this is not related to my S60 screen reader, Nuance TALKS, because the same happened with my notebook and JAWS for Windows. Also, Nokia BH-604 doesn’t function well with whatever screen reader, Symbian or Windows, I tried. That is, speech tends to be cut on a regular basis, and the headset doesn’t instantly reflect what happens as a result of a key press. In my opinion, though, this has to do with the underlying Bluetooth technology and specifications not the headset per se.

At the end of the day, will I ever revert to my wired headphone and headset? Never, wherever I can find bluetooth access. Will I ever stop using my Nokia BH-604? No, until it stops functioning!

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Easy to wear for long hours,
  • Fantastic volume and base,
  • Decent battery life,
  • Readily identifiable keys,
  • Charging via the standard Nokia Compact Travel Charger AC-5,
  • No dependence on visual instructions.

Cons

  • A little on the hefty side,
  • Rather expensive,
  • Not 100% screen reader friendly due to the underlying Bluetooth technology,
  • A bit difficult to pair with non cell phone devices for the first time.

Related Info: Nokia BH-503 or Nokia BH-604?

Nokia BH-503 Review

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Claus Hansen / Feb 16 2008 6:51 pm

    I also own a pair of BH-604 which i use with my N95, and the sound quality and bass is awesome, cant’ recommend them high enough. A must with a N95 !

  2. Martin V / Jun 28 2008 8:09 pm

    Presently using Plantronics P590 but dont like the constant flashing and the fact they run down if I forget to switch them off.

    Does the BH 503 automaticaly power down or go into standby mode when not in use for a period of time or do they run down and completely if left on…..

    thanks for any enlightenment …… MV

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