- Go to bluetooth settings. Your bluetooth headset should show 'connected mucic, voice'. Now, go to control panel - sound. On the 'playback' tab, your headset should be shown as a hands-free part, and a headphones part. Now, disable the hands-free part, and go to the 'recording' tab and do the same. Problem solved, at least for me.
- Bluetooth headsets are common accessories for modern people-on-the-go. Using a Bluetooth headset with your phone allows you to make and receive calls without needing to touch or hold a phone in your hand, which makes them super convenient for commuting, shopping, and even a morning run.
The 10 Best Bluetooth Headsets. If you want to make hands-free calls while driving or just need your hands for other tasks, you need a solid Bluetooth headset. If you want to make hands-free calls while driving or just need your hands for other tasks, you need a solid Bluetooth headset. Here are our top-rated models in a wide range of prices and designs. From fuss-free usability thanks to their wireless design, to wind noise protection and top-quality sound, Bluetooth headsets make talking and listening to music on the go easy. Our Bluetooth earphones are built to last and designed for all-day wear, making them ideal for frequent users both in and out of a working environment. The Motorola H720 is one of the best Bluetooth headsets when it comes to no-nonsense, hands-free phone calls and sleek, modern design that is also super-comfortable to wear. Of course, its price is much higher than the other headsets on the list, but there is a very good reason for that – it broadcasts and produces crystal-clear voice.
Bluetooth audio is good now, right? That’s what I’ve been hearing, so I purchased a $300 Bluetooth headset for my Windows PC, expecting to have a good experience. It was terrible. I blame Bluetooth—and Windows.
Full disclosure: My coworkers have had great experiences with Bluetooth audio on both Android phones and W1-enabled Apple devices. This is about PC headsets.
Windows Won’t Tell You If It’s Using AptX
Bluetooth is confusing. As audio website Darko.Audio puts it: “Bluetooth audio’s dirty secret is not that it doesn’t sound very good, it’s that it will only sound good if certain conditions are met.”
Modern high-end Bluetooth headsets support AptX, an audio codec compression scheme that offers better sound quality. But AptX is only enabled if it’s supported on both the transmitter and receiver. When using a Bluetooth headset with a PC, it only works if your PC’s hardware and drivers are compatible.
Other configuration issues may also disable AptX audio. As Darko.Audio explains, on a Mac, if you’re using 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, if you have more than two Bluetooth devices connected to a desktop, or if you have more than one connected to a laptop, macOS drops down to lower-quality SBC audio over the Bluetooth Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) connection. That’s according to Apple.
Windows 10 now has integrated support for AptX, but it’s impossible to tell if your Bluetooth connection is actually using AptX. Android and macOS let you see this information, but it isn’t visible anywhere in Windows. So you’ll never know if you’re getting the highest sound quality possible.
RELATED:What’s the Difference Between Bluetooth A2DP and aptX?
Bluetooth Doesn’t Support High-Quality Audio When a Microphone Is In Use
My headset had an integrated microphone, so I expected I could continue using the headphones normally while using the microphone.
But, shockingly, this doesn’t work. If you have a stereo headset with an integrated microphone, you can’t use the headset with normal sound quality while using the microphone. There just isn’t enough bandwidth available to Bluetooth devices, as Sennheiser explains.
Technically, when you’re just using the headphones as a sound output device, they’re using the A2DP Bluetooth profile, and ideally using AptX for maximum sound quality. When you need the microphone, they’ll use the headset profile or hands-free profile (HSP or HFP). This allows for both recording via the microphone and playback via the headphones, but the headphone sound quality is terrible when using HSP or HFP.
If you’re just using a Bluetooth headset to take a phone call, that might be fine. If you want to speak into your headset’s mic while listening to music, playing a game, or watching a video on your PC, you’ll be frustrated.
For a PC headset with an integrated microphone, Bluetooth is a terrible choice. You’re better off getting a wired headset, or even just getting a separate microphone.
Bluetooth 5.0, which has already been announced, offers much higher bandwidth. This should let future Bluetooth headsets play back audio at high quality while the microphone is being used, in theory.
RELATED:Bluetooth 5.0: What’s Different, and Why it Matters
Windows Shows the Profiles as Different Audio Devices
When you connect a Bluetooth headset with a microphone to Windows, you’ll see two devices: The standard A2DP high-quality stereo headphones, and the hand-free profile that has worse sound output but also supports sound input.
This seems to confuse applications. When I started an audio call on the headset, the hands free audio mode worked properly and I could hear the person I was talking to. But, after I launched a PC game, the game was completely silent. Even setting the hands-free headset device as the default sound playback device didn’t work. I had to go into the Windows sound properties and manually disable the A2DP device, which forced the game to use the hands-free profile and actually output sound. The game’s audio sounded very compressed and low quality, but I could at least hear it.
In other words, the Bluetooth profile switching confuses some Windows applications unless you fiddle with it manually. It’s not a seamless experience at all, and that’s frustrating.
Bluetooth Connections Are Still Unreliable
The headset sometimes disconnects from the PC, even while I’m sitting a few feet from the computer. Fixing this required powering off down the headset and turning it back on—in other words, rebooting my headphones.
When the connection came back online, some applications worked fine and some didn’t.
I was talking to someone in a voice-calling application when the headphones lost the connection, and that application immediately ended the call because the audio device had vanished. I had to start the call again after rebooting my headphones. So, not only is Bluetooth audio potentially flaky, but many Windows applications can’t gracefully handle that flakiness.
For the most part, I’ve had a solid connection with AirPods that use Apple’s W1 chip while connected to an iPhone. But a standard Bluetooth headset with a Windows PC just doesn’t seem as reliable.
Microsoft is working on easy pairing for Bluetooth devices, which is nice, but that won’t help much if the device still loses the connection while it’s paired.
Good PC Headsets Aren’t Great For iPhones
A solid Bluetooth headset could be used with both a PC and your smartphone, which would be very convenient. But, if you’re an iPhone user like I unfortunately am, your AptX headset won’t give you great audio quality when connected to an iPhone. That’s because Apple refuses to support AptX on iPhones and iPads, although Macs do support AptX. You need a headset with AAC support to get good quality with an iPhone—and the $300 Sennheiser HD1 wireless headset I purchased only supported AptX.
Android users are in luck, as modern Android phones do support AptX. Unlike on Windows, it’s even possible to check if the connection is using AptX!
I briefly considered purchasing a Beats headset from Apple, as those use Apple’s W1 chip for a stable connection with Apple products and have AAC support. But Beats headsets don’t support AptX, which means they won’t have great audio quality when connected to a Windows PC. And many reviewers note that Beats headphones have flaky Bluetooth connection quality when paired with a device without W1 support, like a Windows PC.
RELATED:What Is Apple’s W1 Chip?
Bluetooth is Always a Few Years Away From Working Well
So, in summary: the headset’s connection is unreliable, it’s impossible to tell if it’s using the highest quality audio with my PC, and it can’t function as a normal pair of stereo headphones while using the integrated microphone. And, if I connect it to my iPhone, I won’t get the highest quality audio.
I’m returning the headset to Amazon. I’ll stick to a wired headset with traditional analog audio cables on my computer, thanks. I’ll take another look in a few years when Bluetooth 5.0 headsets are out.
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Bluetooth Wireless Headset
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
- Best Overall:Plantronics Voyager 5200 at Amazon
“Ups the ante with four microphones to offer unparalleled call quality.”
- Best Value, Best Warranty: Plantronics Voyager Legend at Amazon
“This headset is reasonably priced and features smart-sensor technology.”
- Best for Comfort:Plantronics Voyager Focus UC at Amazon
“Ideal for extended wearing with soft, padded over-ear earpieces.”
- Best Budget: Mpow Pro Trucker at Amazon
“It enables crystal-clear calling even in noisy environments.”
- Runner-Up, Overall: Sennheiser Presence-UC at Amazon
“Speak Focus technology eliminates most background noise.”
- Runner-Up, Best for Comfort: Samsung Level U Pro at Amazon
“Far more comfortable than the always-in-your-ear standard.”
- Best Design:LG Tone Free Headset at Amazon
“You can get really powerful music playback too.”
- Best Hands-Free:BlueParrott B550-XT at Walmart
'A 100-percent voice-controlled headset with quick access to your phone’s voice assistant.'
- Best Multipurpose: Huawei TalkBand B5 at NewEgg
“Shifting from watch to Bluetooth earpiece only takes a single push of a button.”
- Best Compact:Jabra Stealth Bluetooth at Amazon
“The sound is surprisingly clear given the size.”
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Plantronics Voyager 5200
With most Bluetooth headsets, you’ll get two or three microphones, but the 5200 ups the ante with four microphones to offer unparalleled call quality. Its noise cancelation paired with Plantronics’ proprietary WindSmart technology mute distracting background sounds. And it also has smart-sensor technology and voice recognition that automatically answers (or ignores) calls. It pairs to multiple devices via NFC or Bluetooth and you can dictate text messages, though it won’t read incoming texts to you.
It features the familiar over-the-ear design of previous Voyager models, but the 5200 has a slightly shorter ear hook, so prepare for it to fit a bit differently than the Legend, if that’s what you’re used to. (Note that like headphones, Bluetooth headsets are one technology you’ll likely want to try on before buying as the devices fit every individual differently.) Plantronics claims up to seven hours of talk time, though when put to the test, the 5200 delivers closer to six — which is still a respectable spec.
If you have an existing Voyager model, it’s probably not worth the price to upgrade, but if you’re new to the market and looking for a Bluetooth headset with remarkably clear call quality, the 5200 is a winner.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best Plantronics headphones.
Best Value, Best Warranty: Plantronics Voyager Legend
Plantronics Voyager Legend headset design, although on the bulky side, slips comfortably over the ear. Most of the controls are located behind the ear, and the unit is built in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with the wearing of glasses as some other models do. Controls include a volume rocker switch, power on/off button, and call button.
This headset is reasonably priced and features smart-sensor technology, which can answer calls automatically when you place the headset on your ear or automatically output audio via your phone when you put the headset down. The Legend also features voice recognition. For example, just say ‘Answer’ or ‘Ignore’ when a call comes in, and the Legend will be your personal assistant.
The crystal-clear sound is aided by noise-cancelling technology. The patented triple-mic reduction of background noise and wind works up to 80 decibels. The battery lasts for up to seven hours of talk time, which is considerable; in addition, the full recharge time is a just 1.5 hours. And there’s no need to worry about the headset getting wet, as its P2i nano-coated for advanced water resistance (and even sweat-resistant).
Plantronics offers superior product support: The headset includes a one-year warranty, and the support page offers extensive resources for solving any issue.
Take a peek at some of the other best headphones under $100 you can buy.
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Best for Comfort: Plantronics Voyager Focus UC
The Platronics Voyager Focus looks noticeably different than the other headsets on this list. In fact, it looks more like traditional headphones. But this pair is built with comfort in mind. Ideal for office use and extended wearing, the Voyager Focus has soft, padded over-ear earpieces that won’t drive you mad to get them to sit comfortably. It also has a thin boom mic that extends out, and can be swiveled away when not in use. If you need to drown out noisy office chatter, you can activate the noise-canceling feature, which works a bit better than others on this list considering the over-ear form factor.
When you're not using the headset, you can place the headset on its standing charge dock or juice it up via USB. It works seamlessly across Bluetooth-enabled devices and smart sensors answer calls automatically when you put on the headset. Likewise, you can mute by taking off the headset. On the downside, this is a Bluetooth-only set and some may miss the wired option, but it will certainly provide unrivaled comfort.
Best Budget: Mpow Pro Trucker Bluetooth Headset
This Mpow Bluetooth headset does one thing and it does it right: calling. While it doesn’t support listening to music, it enables crystal-clear calling even in noisy environments. Its 4X noise-canceling microphone blocks out background noise and it’s also adjustable, so it will pick up your voice accurately. It pairs easily with up to two Bluetooth devices at once and callers can roam up to 30 feet before the connection starts to fizzle. The battery guarantees 12 hours of talk time or 200 hours of standby, plus it charges up via MicroUSB in just two hours.
The design is fairly old-school, but comfortable nevertheless, and a great option for those who don’t want an in-ear design.
Runner-Up, Overall: Sennheiser Presence-UC
The Presence-UC features superior sound thanks to their proprietary HD Voice Clarity Technology. This high-definition audio technology makes the call as clear as possible, not only on the wearer’s side but on both sides of the connection.
The Presence has three microphones, rather than the usual two. The triple mics help to eliminate background noise. Sennheiser goes further than most Bluetooth headset manufacturers with Sennheiser Speak Focus technology, which eliminates most background noise, and WindSafe, which acts to eliminate wind sounds from a call. On top of all this, the ActiveGard feature will detect and eliminate sounds and noises that may be dangerous to the ear due to their high decibels or pitch.
This Sennheiser headset also features a high-quality detachable ear hook for extra convenience. Its battery generally lasts for eight to ten hours – the longest on our list – thanks to its support for Bluetooth 4.0 LE. If superior audio technology and sparkling sound is what attracts you to a Bluetooth headset, the Sennheiser Presence-UC is the top-quality choice.
Runner-Up, Best for Comfort: Samsung Level U Pro
Samsung’s Level U Pro might not look like your traditional Bluetooth headset, but that’s exactly the point. The addition of flexible urethane joints and a lightweight, ergonomic design make it fit comfortably around your neck. When a call comes in, the 6.4-ounce headset vibrates alerting you to the incoming call and allows you to place the headset in your ears and answer. Sure, it’s an unusual style, but far more comfortable than the always-in-your-ear standard Bluetooth look that has existed for years.
The Level U Pro connects to any Bluetooth-compatible smartphone or tablet and pulls double duty as a musical headset as well. A set of buttons on the right side of the neckband allows for pausing and playing music, answering and ending calls, skipping tracks and lowering the volume.
The 13mm dynamic and 13mm Piezo speakers deliver high-quality and clear sound, as well as microphone noise reduction and echo cancellation. The U Pro is rated for nine hours of music playback and nine hours of talk time at moderate volume levels, which is fairly average at this price point.
Best Design: LG Tone Free Headset
LG took a crack at the “true wireless” earbud concept with the LG Tone Free headphones, and for the most part, they’ve done a really nice job. The LG Tone line features a few different versions of the “around your neck” headphone bar that contains buds meant for running, but only the Tone Free set actually removes the wire altogether. The two buds are worn independently of the band, and you pop them right back into the band for both safe storage and as a dock for charging them. These headphones support all four Bluetooth connectivity formats: Advanced Audio Distribution, Audio/Video Remote, Handsfree, and Headset. So, not only can you make and receive calls seamlessly on these buds, but you can get really powerful music playback, too. That playback is powered by LG’s impressive Advanced Armature Speakers, which offer mind-blowing sound quality for buds that only weigh 0.2 ounces each. LG has rounded out the package with text read-back features and the ability to auto-reconnect just in case your Bluetooth drops. But features aside, the design alone on these is probably enough to sell you on making them your main Bluetooth accessory.
Best Hands-Free: BlueParrott B550-XT
BlueParrott headsets are a popular pick for truck drivers or other jobs that involve long travel, loud environments, and working with your hands. That also makes the B550-XT a great choice for anyone who could benefit from its useful features and performance. It bills itself as the world’s first 100-percent voice-controlled headset, and it does have a decent range of commands and quick access to your phone’s voice assistant.
More impressive, though, is the B550-XT’s sound quality. Its mic provides excellent audio clarity even with noisy surroundings, and it boasts 96-percent background noise cancellation. The large, cushioned earpad helps block out noise too, as adds some much-needed comfort to a device that you're probably wearing all day. The B550-XT’s battery is also listed with a talk time of 24 hours.
Best Multipurpose: Huawei TalkBand B5
It’s a wristwatch, it’s a Bluetooth earpiece, it’s both. Combining the best of two worlds, the Huawei TalkBand B5 is a truly versatile piece of equipment. Shifting from wristwatch to Bluetooth earpiece only takes a single push of a button. Once on your ear, a triple-core audio chipset enables clear calls in HD audio while dual-mic noise canceling helps reduce any unwanted background noise. Featuring a Bluetooth range of 30 feet, the TalkBand fits well within the average range of today’s wireless earpieces.
Fortunately, Bluetooth calls aren’t the only highlight of the wristwatch. Doubling as a fitness band, the B5 adds a slew of features that help keep it on your wrist daily. The usual fitness tracker specs like recording steps, calories, and distance are all included. But the Talkband B5 takes it one step further by helping to build a running plan and suggesting recovery steps after a workout. Capable of tracking running, treadmill running, walking and riding, it also provides the opportunity to monitor sleep stages. Huawei TruRelax keeps an eye on heart rate trends for stress level management.
Best Compact: Jabra Stealth Bluetooth
The Jabra Stealth is lightweight (2.7 ounces), measures 4.3” x 2” x 7.2” and has a catchy red in-ear piece and corrugated silver casing design. This model is well-balanced and does not fall from the ear easily, staying in place for prolonged amounts of time to provide maximum comfort. The sound is surprisingly clear given the size, and the Noise Blackout dual-microphone technology allows for considerable reduction of background noise. A2DP is supported for music streaming. You can pair two devices to the headset concurrently, and there’s even support for NFC pairing.
If you’re always losing your Bluetooth headset, Jabra has you covered, with the Jabra Assist App. This mobile app allows you to find your Jabra Stealth using GPS. And unlike other models from Jabra, the Stealth has a physical mute button. While this model might not be the loudest in terms of overall sound, the battery has a reasonably long life (lasting for four to five hours).
How We Tested
We bought four top-rated bluetooth headsets that our reviewers tested for 130 hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these headsets, from their sound quality to their design. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Bluetooth Headset
Free Bluetooth Headset Software For Pc
Call quality -Call quality is one of the most important features of a Bluetooth headset because it’s likely the main reason you have one in the first place. In addition to high-quality speakers, look for a headset with multiple microphones — most have one or two, but a fancy headset will score you up to four.
Noise-canceling -To help deliver the best call quality, spring for a headset with advanced noise-canceling technology. In some sets, an additional microphone is even included to pick up background noise and block it out.
Design -Clear call quality is great, but if your Bluetooth headset is uncomfortable, you will spend more time fiddling with it than focusing on your call. There are a wide variety of designs available, ranging from a single over-ear piece to an around-the-neck style. Don’t overthink it — pick the one that feels most natural to you.
Test Results: Plantronics Voyager 5200 (Best Overall)
What We Like
Easy to use
Great call clarity
Extensive battery life
Our testers liked this Bluetooth headset for its “top-notch” call quality and vocal clarity, as well as its effective noise cancellation. One of our reviewers also praised the “intuitive controls — from interesting call sensors to an adaptive mute button.” In terms of downsides, one of our reviewers found it bulky and couldn’t get it to sit well in his ears. One of our testers commented, “These aren't designed as headphones, and as such, they tend not to do great with bassy music.” Bottom line: “You’ll get a lot of premium features including solid call quality and good controls,” remarked one of our reviewers.
Test Results: Plantronics Voyager Legend (Best Value, Best Warranty)
What We Like
Very clear sound
Responds to voice commands
Comes with a magnetic charger
What We Don’t Like
Bad bass response
“With an impressive mic array system and solid noise reduction, your voice will be crystal clear with this headset,” revealed one of our testers. One of our reviewers was also pleasantly surprised at how much he liked the look of it: “The design—even though I wouldn't personally walk around with this in my ear outside of the house—was sleek.” However, one of our testers tried all the included earbuds but couldn’t find one with the ideal fit, so be aware that you may have to try this headset on before fully committing. The fit can also affect the bass response, cautioned one of our reviewers. However, based on the call quality and “some premium control features,” one of our testers felt the overall value outweighed the cons.
Test Results: Plantronics Voyager Focus UC (Best for Comfort)
What We Like
Good sound quality
Easily connects to your device
What We Don’t Like
Charging station is bulky
Battery life could be better
Comfort, ease of use, and high-quality sound were some of the things our testers loved about this headset. One of our reviewers said, “Memory foam padding in both the ear cups and the headband make for a really easy-to-wear construction.” Other highlights? “With an intuitive, adaptive mute button, automatic call sensors, and a twistable volume control, this headset leaves a lot of guesswork out of it,” noted one of our testers. There weren’t a lot of negatives, but one of our reviewers wished for a longer battery life: “Adding just a few more hours would have gone a long way toward making this headset truly worth the price,” he said. Overall? “If you are looking for a premium-priced headset, the Voyager Focus will definitely not disappoint,” one of our testers declared.
Test Results: Mpow Pro Truck Driver Bluetooth Headset (Best Budget)
What We Like
Good call clarity
Impressive battery life
What We Don’t Like
Radiation Free Bluetooth Headset
“On price alone, these are a no-brainer,” raved one of our testers. Our reviewers were particularly impressed with the call clarity at this price point, as well as the battery life and features. One of our testers did note it was “difficult to wear these for long talking sessions,” however, because the set wasn’t very comfortable. Though one reviewer wished it were possible to fold the headset (to make it more portable), she would still recommend this model if you’re looking for a basic Bluetooth headset that does what it promises.