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Etymotic ETY�COM Cell Phone Headset

These days, it's hard to find a good headset for your cell phone. There are a slew of products on the market which claim to be the best, but most of them are flat out lying. Unfortunately, Etymotic Research's ETY�COM headset isn't quite impressive.

A few serious flaws plague this product. One of the problems is that the noise-canceling microphone blocks out almost all of the sound, including the user's voice. I tested this headset using a Motorola cell phone and a V-Tech cordless phone. With both phones, the person on the other end of the line could not hear my voice. I had to yell for them to faintly hear what I was saying. The manual suggested adjusting the microphone so the boom was nearest to your mouth. I spent at least half an hour on a few different occasions trying to adjust the boom so it would actually pickup my voice. Despite my efforts, the microphone refused to transmit my voice at a reasonable level.

One slightly unnecessary feature of this headset is the noise-canceling eartip. Since it is the standard mono headset, you're still able to hear outside noise through the other ear, so there is little purpose for the noise-canceling earphone. The truth is, the earphone doesn't block that much noise in one ear. Neither the small or large 2-flange silicone eartip or the two 3-flange silicone eartips fit into my ears, so I was forced to use it with the foam eartip. The foam eartip did not seem to block out very much outside noise for me, but it did help a little. If you use your headset in a noisy setting, this minor difference frees up the hand that would normally hold your headset in you ear to do other things, while a finger on your other hand is in your other ear.

Another problem that I had with this headset is the fact that it would not stay in place in my ear. I tried rolling the foam eartip like the manual said, waiting at least 10 seconds for it to expand, and it would still fall out. I suppose the silicone eartips don't have this problem, but they unfortunately didn't fit in my ears properly.

The sound quality for the earphone part of the headset is above average. It sounded slightly better than my phone usually does. It also sounded better than sever other headsets that I have. The sound was crisp and clear, and had very little distortion.

Etymotic includes a carrying case, an extra filter to prevent earwax from damaging the earphone, a filter changing tool, four silicone eartips, one beige foam eartip, and a shirt clip.

Pros: Good sound quality, lightweight, has 2.5mm jack for use with almost any cell phone or cordless phone, includes a shirt clip, carrying case, an extra filter, and assorted eartips

Cons: Microphone blocks out almost all of user's voice, silicone eartips may not fit into certain users' ears, difficult to have the headset stay in place in the ear, expensive at $69 MSRP

MB Buying Advice: We wouldn't suggest buying this headset. It has some serious flaws that just ruin its functionality. If Etymotic ever produces a new version with an improved microphone, then I'd recommend the new version. Otherwise, look elsewhere for your next headset. Overall, it wouldn't hurt to try it and return it if you're unhappy.

Posted by: MacBrilliance News Staff on Dec 31, 04 | 10:44 pm