Sunday, January 04, 2009
Gadget rant: Plantronics 360 Bluetooth headset
This is the Plantronics 360 Bluetooth headset, a reasonably-priced model at around 35 bucks. OK, I'll stop fawning over this monument to stupidity and get this out of the way right now: Don't get one. And keep in mind that I haven't even used this thing yet.
My first Bluetooth headset, a Jabra BT350, finally gave up the ghost a while back. It was a damned good headset and served me well for about four years. But nothing lasts forever, and in dire need of one, Mrs. Poolbar gave me hers to use since she never used it anyway. While working from home one day, I left it on a table in between calls and one of our cats ran off with it. We looked all over but I suspect it's in some part of the house only the cats know about. Anyway, yesterday I finally picked up a new one.
This morning I wrestled the package open (product packaging is a rant for another day) and popped the headset out, along with the charger. My first thought was, "What the hell? What kind of Bluetooth headset these days comes with an AC charger? I looked at the protective cover on the headset's charger receptacle and was happy to see the well-known standard USB symbol there, meaning I could just use any one of my eleventy or so USB cables to charge the headset. Not so fast there, Sparky.
When I lifted the cover I saw immediately that the receptacle is NOT a standard USB port. Fan-freaking-tastic! It's a USB port, but it's Plantronics' own proprietary USB port! I was dumbfounded. Why on earth would Plantronics develop their own special USB port when mini-USB ports already exist? And since Plantronics offers an optional USB cable to charge the headset, why the hell don't they just ship the headset with that cable instead of a wall charger that surely costs more to produce?