Bluetooth stereo on iPhone | iLounge Article

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Bluetooth stereo on iPhone

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By Jesse Hollington

Social Media & Software Editor, iLounge
Published: Thursday, April 17, 2008
Articles Categories: Ask iLounge, Accessories, iPhone

Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.

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Q: I was wondering if you knew of any Bluetooth stereo headsets for the iPhone. I’ve looked at wired headsets from Ultimate Ears and V-Moda, but figured if I was going to pay $100-200 for a stereo headset for my iPhone I might as well see if I could find a Bluetooth headset. I’ve looked at some by Plantronics, Jawbone, and Jabra, but none of them offer stereo, don’t work with iPhone, or don’t mention if their product is compatible with the iPhone. Any ideas?

- Josh

A: Unfortunately the iPhone does not support the stereo (A2DP) Bluetooth profile, so there are no Bluetooth stereo headsets that can be used directly with the iPhone.

There are Bluetooth stereo headset adapters that come with an extra module to either connect to the headphone jack itself or the Dock Connector. These are generally the same solutions that are sold for the standard iPod models, and we are not aware at this time of any that will provide support for voice calls on the iPhone. Therefore, you would not only have to contend with an extra module connected to your iPhone, but you would only be able to use it to listen to your media content and would need to switch to another method such as a standard Bluetooth headset or using the phone directly when making or receiving phone calls.

Whether A2DP support is coming in a future iPhone model is uncertain, but from our own experiences with Bluetooth headsets on various other devices such as the Nokia N95 and E90 that do support the A2DP profile, you’re going to find the sound quality to be a bitter disappointment if you’re considering products like Ultimate Ears and V-Moda as alternatives. Not only are most built-in Bluetooth stereo headsets of a relatively low earphone quality, but the wireless technology used by A2DP degrades the sound quality somewhat. We have even tested Bluetooth stereo headset adapters with our own higher-end earphones and found the difference in sound quality over A2DP to be noticeably lower than a direct wired connection to the device with the same earphones.

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