Cellular Headset Roundup

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Although similar bans have been proposed in 41 states, New York is the first to pass a socially responsible bill for cell phone use. The new law forbids drivers to communicate using their cellular phones unless a headset or a speakerphone is attached.

Even though this law will increase safety, many people are apprehensive about the ban for two reasons: 1.) vanity – they think headsets look silly; and 2.) comfort – they think headsets are a nuisance. But headset design has come a long way in the last few years. New models equipped with noise-canceling microphones and high-quality speakers are discreet looking and comfortable to wear. More importantly, they give drivers full peripheral vision and two-handed steering.

Below are a few headsets available on the HelloDirect.com web site right now. Once you decide which features are most important to you, choosing the one that's best should be pretty easy.

In-the-ear headsets
JABRA, one of the front-runners of headset design, currently offers 4 models on the HelloDirect.com web site, 3 of which use the in-the-ear style. These dime-sized headsets fit inside your ear canal through the use of EarGels® patented speaker covers that let the ear breathe and ensure a snug, comfortable fit. JABRA® headsets are designed for a variety of cellular phone models.

The EarSet® ($39.99) incorporates a microphone into the earpiece, so there's no boom mic to worry about. Speak into the air and the highly sensitive microphone will pick up your voice. The EarBoom® ($24.99) is similar to the EarSet except that it uses a boom microphone. Despite being only a few inches long, the adjustable boom works well if you're looking to keep out background noise in your immediate surroundings (from road activity or your car stereo, for example). The EarBud™ ($19.99) is similar to both the EarSet and the EarBoom except that it has an inline microphone on the cord, which in turn can be clipped to your clothing.

Over-the-ear headsets
Diverging from their earbud models, JABRA's EarWrap™ ($29.99) is good for people who'd prefer not to put speakers directly into their ear canal. This stable headset rests over your ear. In addition to turning in excellent clarity and performance, the EarWrap gives you a variety of customizable colors.

Note that JABRA headsets can plug into most cell phones with 2.5 mm connectors. If your phone doesn't have that connector, it's easy to get special adapters at Hello Direct. In addition, they offer custom-built JABRA headsets for many phones that don't have 2.5 mm headset jacks, such as Nokia, Ericsson, and Nextel phones.

Adapters
Cellular headsets generally plug into the 2.5 mm jacks common to most cellular phones. Should your phone not have that connector, however, you will need an adapter to accommodate the headset. Audio adapters for Nokia, Ericsson, and Nextel phones can be found at Hello Direct. Too, Hello Direct offers custom-built JABRA headsets for many phones that don't have 2.5 mm headset jacks, such as Nokia, Ericsson, and Nextel phones.

Final comments
You never know when you're going to need to make a tricky maneuver while driving your car. If you're holding a phone to your ear, your hand is blocking your peripheral vision when it should be on the steering wheel. Best to buy a headset to be on the safe side. It's a pretty small investment, and you'll also benefit from enhanced call clarity (you'll hear your conversations more clearly, and so will your callers) so it's a good deal all around.