During those heady days as we were watching Star Trek when Lt Uhura was receiving and sending messages through space she would twist that “ear-thing” in her ear, we had never heard of Bluetooth. I certainly had no idea how that device could work. I just thought everything Lt Uhura did was cool and it was all done with poise and dignity. So, it’s no surprise that as soon as I plugged the WEP200 in my ear I had an overwhelming desire to sit up straight and say, ‘Hailing frequencies, open!'”
So, does this device measure up to my childhood fantasies? Is it cool? Let’s start at the beginning of this adventure into Time and Space.
I wanted to find a Bluetooth device for my Samsung a920 (which has been reviewed and much discussed here). You need a phone that has a voice recognition system.
The good people at Samsung suggested the WEP200 and sent me the product. I was amazed at how small it is. It’s basically a little longer than my thumb from the first joint.
It comes with a charger and a couple of ear pieces of slightly different sizes: small, medium and large. You also get a 85 page manual in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese and a pamphlet which explains the initial setup. Please read that one carefully!
First you must charge up the headset. The charging process uses two pieces. One is the “charging case” (where you place the headset) and the other is the “travel adapter” which plugs into an outlet and the case. So I carefully placed the headset in it’s case and while it is charging the light on the headset is red. While the WEP sucked up juice in it’s little “coffin”, I prepared my a920 for Bluetooth use. First I go to the Settings (Bluetooth/Enable-ON) to Turn Bluetooth ON and make sure it’s Visible for this new device. That’s important because the phone and the WEP200 have to Discover each other. Sounds romantic, doesn’t it?
Now, after about 2 hours the WEP200 has “cooked” long enough and the indicator light turns from Red to Blue showing me it has a full battery and it’s really for use.
Here’s what confused me at first: at this stage you turn on the WEP200 so it can be seen by the phone. But, the normal mode of turning on the WEP (Hold main button down until blue light flashes) is NOT the proper mode for the setup communication needed for this first step. I spent a few frustrated minutes trying to get the phone to See the WEP with no success until I decided to read the instructions again. And this time really pay attention.
Now I realized that I needed to HOLD the Main WEP button down until the blue light Stayed on. AHHHHH! The WEP200 is now in PAIRING MODE!
At this point, I went to the phone’s Tools/Bluetooth menu to ADD a New Device and had it Search and NOW it Found the WEP200 with not much effort. It listed the WEP by name and I confirmed by typing in a passcode (supplied with the documentation) and, Voila!, the WEP200 was Connected!
I made and received calls and the sound is quite good! I asked the people I was speaking to if I sounded any different without the headset and generally they were satisfied with the quality from their end. I know I liked what I heard from MY end! In some cases it sounded better than just using the phone by itself. Using the WEP200 is simple. There’s a Multi-purpose button that is used to turn it on and off, answer a call, hang up and answer a second call while you are on the first call. There’s two buttons on the side which control the volume. The top volume button lets you turn off your mic simply by pressing AND holding it down. Holding it down again turns the mic back on.
While wearing the headset I will hear tones that indicate the head is on Standby (conserving juice). Depending on the phone standby is expected to be last 70 hours. If you wear this for any length of time be aware of changes in tones which will indicate the battery losing juice. It will also flash red when it’s about to run down.
After wearing it all day at first I noticed that I only needed a recharge after the second day. And this is with it turned off at night.
Ok, so here is my only complaint. As I mentioned it comes with three sizes of ear “hooks” which are supposed to somehow twist and lock INTO your ear. It seems like the smallest hook is attached by default on the headset and I wore that for days. The WEP200 kept falling out. I know I have odd ears and have had trouble with various earbuds for years, but the word on the (virtual) street is that in this case I’m not the only one with problems here. I tried the Medium size hook several days later and that did hold in my ear. But it felt uncomfortable, sometimes just downright irritating. It’s as if I had to magically find the secret twist to get it in my ear so it stayed in and felt normal. And that’s just annoying. I shouldn’t have to practice how to put a device in my ear to get it right.
Others have suggested substituting Jabra EarGels with the supplied hooks and as this seems an economical solution I can’t see why not try it! The WEP200 is a really nice device. It works well and I would hate to see people discouraged from using it because of ear fitting problems. I think Lt Uhura would approve!
A talented and Emmy-winning digital special effects technician by trade, Cecilia has also made her mark over the years as a writer in video editing magazines. Her CV includes HBO’s "From the Earth to the Moon" and SciFi Channel’s "Frank Herbert's Dune" and "Children of Dune". The most recent Visual Effects work was done for an online film: "Eye of the Bennu". This project was notable for being the first film made entirely by people only communicating over the Internet. No one has ever actually met in person. A virtual film made by virtual people. Cecilia is currently making props for a short film project about a violent monk. Hmm.