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March 25, 2008 / Marco

Nokia BH-503 Review: Stereo Bluetooth Headset for Fashionmongers

You might have read Nokia BH-604 Review: Part 1 and Nokia BH-604:  Part 2 of my Nokia BH-604 stereo Bluetooth headset review. The BH-604 is one of the best stereo Bluetooth headsets I’ve ever seen, and the +18-hour battery life it offers cannot be easily ignored. I currently use it at home as my major headphone because it’s also compatible with my Dell XPS M1210 notebook.

Why buy a new headset then?

On the face of it, my BH-604 satisfies all my audio-related needs. However, it cannot be easily worn in outdoor environments due to its bulkiness. The BH-604 offers a stable headband which is to make sure the headset remains secure while moving around or taking a walk. While Nokia has done a great job with the headband, the earcups are so big that they might make you feel a bit uncomfortable in the public. What’s more, if you wear the headset for more than, say, 20 minutes, you should take care of your hair after removing it because the headband tends to alter your hair. Obviously using a comb in a taxi and in front of those who are still staring at a big headset isn’t everyone’s preference. That’s why I decided to look for a second stereo Bluetooth headset with similar functions but with a special focus on wearability and fashion. My pursuit continued for a few days until I came across Nokia BH-503. I was also lucky enough to buy a $160 headset at a rebate price of $90.

What is Nokia BH-503?

In terms of keys and functions, Nokia BH-503 is in essence similar to Nokia BH-604. That is, all BH-503 keys are located on the right earcup and it allows users to move back and forth among songs, move forward and backward in a track, alter the playback volume, stop/pause/resume the playback, receive calls, and switch to the music player application. However, the BH-503 has smaller earcups and offers a unique approach to the issue of wearability by means of a laid-back design. Put differently, it has a neckband rather than a headband: IMG: Nokia BH-503, taken from Nokia. Unlike the BH-604, the neckband isn’t a mechanically-adjustable tool, and might require a bit of getting used to. Once, however, you are accustomed to the neckband and the tiny earhooks which have been designed to keep the headset in a solid position, you’ll never put it down. The BH-503 weighs 105 grams, offers more than 11 hours of talk time and music playback, comes with the Nokia Compact Travel Charger AC-5, and, like the BH-604, has a soft carrying pouch. It is compatible with various V2.0 Bluetooth profiles including A2DP and HSP, and can be paired with any A2DP-compatible device using the universal “0000” passkey. All BH-503 keys can be found on the right earcup and, unlike the BH-604, it has no sideway keys. The only minor issue I face upon using the BH-503 is that the Volume Up/Down keys are upward buttons, meaning I should press either of them using my index finger while holding the bottom side of the right earcup with my thumb.

New discoveries

In my post about Nokia BH-604 I stated that I can’t use the playback keys on the headset to control the music as I connect the BH-604 to my notebook. Well, it seems that I’m partially wrong here because this just applies to Winamp. Both Nokia BH-503 and Nokia BH-604 are fully compatible with Windows Media Player 11 and can move the user back and forth among songs. As another upside, I just discover that I can take advantage of the headset microphone to record using ALON MP3 Dictaphone. This means that if, for instance, I go to the seaside and decide to record the wave sounds, I need not keep the N82 in my hands as I wear the BH-503.

Final thoughts

As I have the experience of using two fabulous Nokia stereo Bluetooth headsets, I suggest that you take into account the unique features each one provides before making the final decision. Do you want superior battery life? Go with the BH-604 as it provides up to 18 hours of talk time and music playback. Do you need a fashionable headset for outdoor use which doesn’t make you feel a tad uncanny? Select the BH-503 as its eye-catching design generates nothing but admiration. Do you fancy a super-loud audio volume? Choose the BH-604 as its cups fully cover your ears so as not to let extraneous sounds in. Are you in need of a relatively small headset? Buy the BH-503 as its 105-g weight cannot be compared with the 250-g weight of the BH-604. Finally, is your uttermost concern audio quality? Snap up either of them and you won’t be regretful about following my advice. Currently the BH-503 is slightly more expensive than the BH-604.

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Robert / Oct 10 2008 2:10 am

    A note about controlling Winamp. Simply enable “Global Hotkeys” in Winamp’s settings and you can control it as you do Windows Media Player. (Options –> Preferences –> Global Hotkeys –> tick off “enabled”.)

  2. pranit / Aug 1 2011 12:33 am

    hey guyzzz……. Can nokia bh 503 used for windows based mobile phone n if yes then how???

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