Using The BlueAnt Q1 With A Nexus One

Last week I wrote about the BlueAnt Q1 Bluetooth headset, for which there will soon be an Android application from BlueAnt. On Friday I received the Q1 and set it up over the weekend to work with my Nexus One and HTC Snap mobile phones. Pairing the Q1 with the phones was by far the easiest of any Bluetooth headset that I own. To start I put the headset in my ear and pressed the BlueAnt button. I then heard instructions telling me that the headset was in pair mode and it began walking me through the process. I went into the Bluetooth settings on my Nexus One, which automatically scanned for Bluetooth devices. When the Q1 appeared in the devices list on my Nexus One, I tapped and it just paired, and I didn’t have to enter a PIN. The pairing process was equally as easy on the HTC Snap, which is running Windows Mobile 6.5.

The Q1 is probably the smallest, lightest Bluetooth headset that I have owned. It comes with two ear pads of different sizes and an ear hook. The larger pad was already on the headset and I swapped it with the smaller pad to get a snugger fit. I have put the ear hook on though I am not entirely sure that it is needed. One of the more irritating features of Bluetooth headsets is their blinking lights. Fortunately, the Q1 provides a way to turn its LED light off, and the process for doing so is made much simpler thanks to the Q1’s voice commands. Unlike other headsets that involve a series of button presses, using the Q1 is a simple matter of pressing the main BlueAnt button and saying a command. The Q1 has three buttons, the BlueAnt button for operating the headset, volume up and volume down.

My Q1 did not come with the latest version of firmware. The information about the headset on the Nexus Own showed it had version 8.15, while the latest version is 8.21. BlueAnt provides a firmware update program that is supposed to work with Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, but I could not get it to work on Vista. I installed the update program on my Asus Eee PC 1000HE that is running Windows 7 Home Premium and used it to update the Q1’s firmware. The updater resets the Q1 to its factory settings, so I needed to re-pair the headset with my cell phones.

The firmware update adds the A2DP Bluetooth profile to the Q1, which means that the phone will route all audio and not just the phone audio to the headset. Obviously, the Q1 does not provide stereo audio, so it may not be the best for music, but it is definitely good enough for listening to spoken content like podcasts and audio books. I used the A2DP functionality to listen to podcasts today at the office and really enjoyed the freedom of not having a wired headset getting in my way. Unfortunately, I did experience some problems with the audio breaking up when I moved a bit away from the phone. I was not anywhere near the distance limitations of Bluetooth, so I am not sure why the audio playback was having a problem, but I definitely reproduced the issue by moving back and forth in my cube. The good news is that because the Q1’s firmware can be updated, problems like this can be corrected by BlueAnt and made available to Q1 owners.