Cool gifts for geeks, 2011: Smartphones and accessories

Presenting the gems that will enhance your smartphones during the holidays.

Page 2 of 20

Marque M155 Bluetooth headset, by Plantronics

The Marque M155 headset from Plantronics is aimed at owners of smartphones like the iPhone or Android phones. In addition to its regular Bluetooth hands-free headset features, the Marque M155 can synch with the MyHeadset app, which gives you additional tips and tools. Like previous versions from Plantronics, the M155 includes access to the Vocalyst voice service (which lets you dictate Facebook and Twitter updates via the headset), and can also stream music, podcasts, Internet radio and even GPS directions via Bluetooth v3.0 and A2DP stereo support. The headset also includes multipoint technology, which lets you pair the headset to two phones simultaneously.

The headset is also extremely tiny - if you are worried that a Bluetooth headset will make you look like a cyborg, fear not - this is barely noticeable on your head. The eargel fits securely and comfortably on the inside part of your ear (not inside your eardrum); different sizes are given for you to find the best fit. If you want an earloop to go over your ear, it's available, but you shouldn't need one with the cleverly designed eargel tips.

Pairing the device to your phone is very simple - a voice inside the headset walks you through the process, so even a first-time Bluetooth user should be able to get paired quickly (as long as they know where on their smartphone the Bluetooth settings are located). Speaking of voices, when a call comes in, you don't even have to check your phone - you can say "answer" or "ignore" and keep your eyes on the road while driving, for example. Another great part of the headset? An on/off slider switch that lets you save its battery power, so you don't have to worry about constantly recharging it. The same voice that helps with pairing the device also tells you if the phone is paired with the headset, and approximately how much battery power you have left.

There's no noise cancellation or wind noise reduction as seen on more premium headsets from Plantronics, but the sound quality was still pretty good while I was driving my car (as long as the radio and air conditioning was off). If you don't need some of the advanced functionality found in some of the premium headsets, the Marque M155 is a great value.

Cool Yule rating: 5 stars
Price: $59.99 (list)
Reviewed by Keith Shaw

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