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Palm has been busy of late with New Treo Smartphones and accessories popping up by the day on their website. One are where Palm was lacking behind the competition was in quality Bluetooth headsets to go with the Treo line. Palm is no longer lagging behind as their new ‘Ultralight Wireless Headset’ is something worth considering. Read on for more thoughts and a full review. The first thing I noticed about the Palm Ultralight was that it looked very, very familiar. I did some research and found that it looked identical to the Plantronics 640 (which had been receiving rave reviews.) Well, it looks identical because it is identical. This is a rebadged Plantronics headset – which isn’t a bad thing.

Palm has separated out the headset from the accessory kit (Plantronics sells them both together) in order, I assume, to maximize profitability. My test unit was a combination of the headest and the full accessory kit.

The official line from Palm’s website is:

‘Hands-free communication just got more convenient! Weighing only nine grams, this ultra-lightweight, Bluetooth(r)-compatible headset features a comfortable, in-ear design. At the touch of a button, you can answer or end calls, get last number redial, mute, and more. Plus, uses your Treo(tm) smartphone AC adaptor for charging eliminating the need to carry more than one AC adaptor when traveling.’

* Bluetooth 2.0 compliant
* Digital Signal Processing (DSP) reduces transmitted background noise for crystal-clear calls
* Get up to 3 hours talk time and 80 hours standby
* AAA Battery powered charger extends talk time up to 9 hours
* Soft gel ear tips comes in three sizes for optimal fit
* Optional ear loop provides added security
* Works up to 33 feet from your Treo smartphone
* Sleek metal case included-accommodates headset and accessories
Compatible with: Treo 700p, Treo 700w and Treo 650 smartphones only

Original: $129.00

Special: $114.99

Ultralight Wireless Headset Accessory Kit

This Accessories Kit includes replacement components for the Ultralight Wireless Headset. Whether you need to replace a lost ear piece or want the convenience of a second charging pocket, you can find what you need in this kit, including:

* Three replacement ear tips (small, med, large)
* Carrying/Charging Pocket
* Charging Adaptor for Palm(r) Treo(tm) Smartphone AC Adaptors
* AAA Battery Charger
* Ear Loop
* $29.99

Design:

The Ultralight is designed to be word without an ear loop – but one is included for those who might prefer that style. It is very, very light. The earpiece fits inside you ear (there are three sizes of earpieces in the kit) and stays in place.

At first, it was a bit disconcerting having the headset with no ear loop, but, like the Bluespoon AX 2 and other headsets, it just stays put. The Earpiece rotates for proper fitting in either the left or right ear.

The headset is longer than some, which places the microphone closer to your mouth. It is designed with DSP which cuts out background noise and improves call clarity on the other end.

One of the best things about the design of the headset is the charger. The headset fits inside the charger which has the exact same adapter as the Treo. This accomplishes two things – one, palm doesn’t have to include a second charger, and, two, you only need to bring one charger when you travel.

One of the unique things about the design of this charger is that you can put a AAA battery inside and actually use the battery to charge the headest – a great idea!

Ease of Use:

The Palm Ultralight was a breeze to pair with the Treo. Once paired, the headset can be programmed to either pick up calls and transfer them automatically or simply press the large button to answer and hang up.

The button can also be used to initiate three way calling and voice dialing (on the Treo 700w.) A volume ‘rocker’ switch is in the middle of the headest and was very easy to use.

Call Quality:

The headset did exactly what it was advertised to do – it cut out background noise and provided a very clear sounding connection. Callers on the other end did not seem to notice that I was on a headset. I found that I didn’t have to re-pair the headset at all – and once my preferences were set on the Treo, I could just forget about it and have calls transferred to the headset.

Over all Conclusions:

This is a wonderful headset. The included hard case is a nice touch, but I wish the consumer wouldn’t have to pay extra for all the accessories.. The ability to use the same charger as the Treo was also much appreciated.

The problem with this headset has nothing to do with call quality, design or construction – the only problem is price. This headset looks identical from the specs to the Plantronics 640. When you add the price of the headset (from Palm’s website) and the accessory kit it was almost twice as expensive as what pricegrabber found for the Plantronics 640.

Palm claims that this version is optimized for the Treo line. Not having a Plantronics 640 to test, I can’t be sure that it works as well. However, reviews I have read paired the Plantronics 640 with Treos and it seemed to work very well.

This takes nothing away from the fact that this is a great headset to use with the Treo -just do your homework and check out the Plantronics headset before you order.

Final Grade: A-

Pros: Great design, great range, great sound quality, nice accessory package

Cons: Expensive (especially when compared to the hear identical model from Plantronics.)

The Palm Ultralight Wireless Heaset is on sale for $114.99 and the accessory kit is $29.99 at www.palm.com

Written by Gary