We ran into our first problem with the X5 even before we even turned the music on. We had quite a bit of trouble when trying to pair certain mobile devices with the X5. Even though mobile companies seem to have been able to work towards making their products play well with each peripheral out there, we sometime still run into problems with certain devices. One of our favorite Smartphones, the Treo 650 just did not want to pair successfully with the BlueAnt X5. This is unfortunate, since this is the phone we have our Softick’s Audio Gateway software installed. This software allows us to stream stereo music from our phone to any A2DP compliant device for wireless stereo music via Bluetooth.
New to our phone cache is Apple’s iPhone which comes with a major handicap as far as we are concerned – that is the total lack of support for either A2DP or AVRCP. Again, A2DP gives your mobile device the ability to stream stereo Bluetooth music, while the AVRCP profile allows a remote device to control the basic functions of the Bluetooth source via remote control. We did use our iPhone as the primary phone for our testing and also looked at the X5’s ability to work with your computer for VoIP with Skype and MSN.
Sound quality when used for mobile calls was fairly good. The cool thing about using the BlueAnt X5, which cover the ear, is that they do a pretty good job of filtering out background noise so that the user can hear much better than if using a traditional earpiece. During most calls, we were able to hear our party very well and very clearly. The removable microphone did a very good job of picking up our voice as well. Even when the noise got a bit loud, our party could hear us (and the noise), but it didn’t stop our conversation. While this microphone isn’t of the quality of BlueAnt’s Z9 or Aliph’s Jawbone, it did a great job for what we used it for during our tests – namely, conversations with mobile and VOiP.
The BlueAnt X5 has a couple of ways you can use it with your PC. The easiest way is to pair it you’re your Bluetooth enabled laptop or PC. We used our trusty Belkin F8T012 PC Adapter and fired up Skype in no time without any problems. Our Skype friends could hear us just as clear as if we were chatting on a wired line. Range of use away from the Bluetooth dongle and the Bluetooth-enable mobile phone was quite impressive. We were easily able to achieve the advertised 10 meters with no problem. We only encountered problems when moving to other rooms or different floors. Here, we could hear some words from our conversation would get dropped or clipped. This almost never happened when the headset was within 20 feet from the source device though.
For those without Bluetooth or the means to connect your device wirelessly, BlueAnt includes their Bluetooth streamer where you can attach it to your favorite source and create a wireless interface to stream to the X5. If you choose to only listen to music, just use the stereo plug to streamer. We experimented with the included 3.5mm Y-Cable that enables both audio and microphone from the computer to the X5 Headset. Very nice! Well done to BlueAnt!
We found the battery life for the BlueAnt’s X5 to be on par with what the specs claimed. We easily went the entire day listening to music and talking without a peep from the “low battery” indicator. Even if you were to run into problems from a low battery, the battery on the included streamer is detachable and swappable with the battery located on the X5! You can continue to get your groove on for another 12 hours if you choose to.