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Not only do its Bluetooth headphones for iPods and MP3 players sound great, they spare the snags and hassles of being draped in wires
For years, as innovations such as wireless keyboards and laser mice appear, I've found Logitech (LOGI) to be a reliable source of PC accessories. I have to admit, though, I was a bit skeptical when the outfit became one of the first to deliver headphones that let you listen to digital-music players using wireless Bluetooth technology.
But after listening to music through a couple different versions of the headphones, one for MP3s and a companion model for iPods, I'm a believer. Listening to Coldplay and Alicia Keys on Creative's Zen Touch and various iPods, I was struck by the remarkable clarity and depth of sound -- better than I have encountered with many other headphones, both high- and low-end. Even bass came through well.
The Logitech headphones win big on the design front, too. The MP3 version comes in shiny black. You listen with foam-covered earpieces that wrap around the back of the neck with a flexible, molded-plastic yoke. A separate Bluetooth 1.2 wireless transmitter, measuring 1.25 inches by 2.5 inches by 0.75 inches, plugs into the digital-music player or any device with a standard headphone jack. The iPod-only version comes in gray and white.
Both headphones are surprisingly comfortable, weighing slightly less than 3.2 ounces, and each is capable of smooth reception at up to 30 feet. At the gym, I ventured slightly further than that from the transmitter, but found the headset still worked well, despite an intervening wall.
On the right earpiece, you get volume controls that are easy to find by touch because of slight indents on a circular control interface. The iPod version, because it uses pin connectors common to most newer iPods and iPod minis, also has track control on the earpiece for skipping forward or back.
While you do have to turn the sound up more than with earbud headphones, you don't have to make it so loud that the music becomes distorted. And the added bulk is compensated by styling that elicited appreciative comments.
A big concern is the battery-indicator function. To avoid draining the music player's batteries, Logitech includes rechargeable lithium-ion batteries in both the headphones and transmitter. The charger cable has two plugs to simultaneously handle both components, with battery life rated at up to eight hours per charge.
But I found the transmitter drains at a faster rate than the headphone receiver. While there's a status light that blinks red when the battery is close to drained, it would be more useful to hear a warning tone, one that becomes increasingly strident as the battery expires.
More than once, I found the headphones useless after the battery on either the transmitter or receiver died suddenly. Also, the addition of an off switch on both would have been helpful.
Another gripe: Occasionally the Bluetooth connection between transmitter and headphones would get out of sync. While I quickly figured out how to re-match the two, novices might have trouble doing so without the manual nearby.
All in all, Logitech's wireless headphones are a great extra for digital-music lovers. With them, you can enjoy listening without the annoying clutter of wires -- and stash your player safely away in a pocket, bag, or on a belt clip.