Samsung WEP850 Bluetooth Headset
At a Glance
Lots of Bluetooth headsets these days look like drab sticks or like chunky rectangular strips. At first blush, the $70 (price as of 9/4/09) Samsung WEP850 resembles one of those. But even though it is rectangular in shape, it's glossy, and its shiny coal-like hue and silver accent band (the latter functions as the call button) are pleasing to the eye.
Looks aren't everything, of course. So, it's too bad that this Bluetooth headset didn't fit comfortably on my small ear--the hook was too loopy to achieve a solid wrap, and the earbud was simply too big. I tried going without the hook, but the headset didn't feel secure. A tester with larger ears tried the WEP850 on for size, and it felt stable. Samsung does not provide earbud-cover replacements--a drag.
Conversations coming into the earpiece sounded generally clear and up close. According to parties at the other end, my babble mostly came across well. Sometimes, though, callers noted that I sounded far away, and occasionally words dropped or sounded choppy, to the point that the other person needed me to repeat things. The rest of the time, even though my words were audible, call recipients picked up on a consistently muffled effect, as if I were yakking from behind a beach towel.
Maybe I'm impatient, but it felt like I needed to hold the power/call button down for ages before the headset would turn on or off; other headsets I've tested power up or down in a second or two. That said, the ridged power/call button is a breeze to find, and I liked the solid feedback it provided when I pressed it. The same goes for the volume controls housed on the side of the unit--though they're small and narrow, they're fast to locate, and they produce a distinct clicking.
Samsung's $70 list price is attractive compared with the cost of other units on our Bluetooth headsets chart, so if you like the option to don a hook--or ditch it--the WEP850 gives you that choice. If your ears are on the larger side and you're willing to take the chance that Samsung's single size will do the trick, the WEP850 might suit you. Expect some calls to go south here and there, though.