Can’t wait for an iPhone? Gear4’s unique new accessory adds Bluetooth functionality to your iPod, allowing you to make and receive calls using your player’s headphones. It automatically pauses and restarts your music and it also has an FM radio with 15 programmable pre-sets.
The BluEye, whilst being one of the most diverse iPod accessories I’ve ever played with, doesn’t add much bulk to your player. In fact all it consists of is a 2.5 x 3.7 x 0.6cm control unit that matches the iPod design and connects to the base of your player with a 65cm cable. It has a clip for holding the control unit (containing the microphone) up near your mouth and it has the usual skim, volume and play/pause controls. The FM button is on the side.
It acts exactly like an ordinary Bluetooth headset and pairing it with a mobile is just as simple as that. You press and hold the Bluetooth button to sync it and afterwards a single press will let you use voice dialling if you have your phone programmed for that sort of thing. Holding the Bluetooth button after pairing will also display the last ten calls, which is a nice touch, even though you obviously don’t get the call ID – just the phone number. The play/pause button accepts and ends calls, while the skip buttons reject them.
Sound quality is an important issue here and it isn’t bad. It isn’t up to the standards of full blown Bluetooth headsets as it comes through a little bit tinny, but at the receivers end there are no complaints.
Bluetooth wireless technology is really supposed to be reducing the number of cables dangling from your ears and the BluEye doesn’t really achieve that goal. If you want any kind of caller ID, you’re also going to need to dig around in your pocket anyway. However, if you don’t have something like a Walkman phone and find yourself struggling to detach your headphones, pause your music and bring your phone to your ear all at the same time, it is a godsend. And even though I do use a W810i, I would actually still use something like this simply because you then only need one set of headphones to get at the larger storage capacity of the iPod and to field calls.
Another gripe is that the cable running from the mic/control unit to the iPod is pretty long – it has to be for it to reach anywhere near your mouth. This means that with all your headphone cables as well, you’re rapidly heading for a serious tangle. If you have any of those earphones with the really short leads, which often come with mobiles, you’ll be better off with them, especially as it doesn’t come with any itself.
Plug’ n’ Play with most Bluetooth enabled mobile phones
Caller Number ID displayed on iPod screen
Automatically pause and resume music for incoming calls
Last 9 numbers redial from your iPod
Voice dial when paired with supported Bluetooth phones
15 Presets and auto scan FM Radio
I think the BluEye is a great idea – it’s simple, easy to use and functional. Obviously, it’s really down to how you organise your gadgets in your pocket and/or bag that will affect just how much of a positive effect it has. But at £50 it seems like a good deal and possibly a brilliant stocking filler.