December 21, 2014

Blue Ant Q1 BT headset review

A few weeks ago, the editor-in-chief of AndroidGuys elected me to test and review a brand new Q1 headset.  First, because I am his favorite writer (yeah right) and secondly because I have the Motorola Droid that has version 2.0 and above, I suspect that’s the real reason.

In any event, while I was excited about reviewing the unit, I have to confess that I do not use BT headsets very often – only when driving.  But this one is a beaut.  From the moment I received the package I could tell that BlueAnt put some nice design elements into it.  To me, it looks a lot like a Jawbone minus the external rough texture.  Out of the box it had enough charge to last half the day since I determined to put it through its paces.  And it is by far, the easiest BT device I have ever had the pleasure to pair. One thing I noticed is the lack of volume, which to me is never a good thing.  I feel like I can always turn something down if it is too loud but too soft is bad and it has almost no bass, so callers sound very tinny and thin.  And since it’s not in stereo the “not loud enough” problem is compounded by hearing ambient noises in your free ear which drowns out the Q1 even more.

However, the speech recognition is near pitch perfect as it recognized most of my commands in a convertible barreling down the interstate and all of them indoors or in my wife’s car.  So anything from to quiet to normal, you should be in good shape in using this headset.

The best feature is that a corresponding Android application can be downloaded out of the Market but other than the Android compatibility the application is nice but lacking in features.  It reads aloud new text messages that come in but that’s about it.  No Gmail, e-mail, contacts, or anything else will be read.  The main use for the app is to control the Settings and for Voice Control.  I could see this app being fairly intuitive and powerful in the near future but right now it’s pretty bare bones but still impressive for Android.

The Good:

  • Great looking headset and well designed
  • Nice modular charger with rigid USB cable
  • Speech recognition is top drawer and of course it has a complimentary Android app

The Bad:

  • Very low volume even at the highest level
  • Android app is not feature rich….yet.


  • James Jones

    Thanks for the Review. Can you add some more detail to the Voice Commands? Does is do “bluetooth voice dialing” or is it just for speed dial numbers. Can you add some verbal commands that it worked on? Was it as easy as “OPEN…LISTEN” to open google listen?
    I use Voice Dialer HD and have it set up to open when i long press the search faux button. it works fine, but i’m always looking for more.

  • Dave

    I bought one of these at an AT&T store even though it was $30 cheaper on Amazon because I just had to have one *right now*. Well as it turns out it made the return process much easier.

    When I got home the first thing I noticed was that my unit had an very ancient firmware version that didn’t even support A2DP. And it’s A2DP that got me interested since I listen to podcasts all day long (for some reason audio won’t stream over HF or HSP unless it’s a phone call). So I had to go through all sorts of gyrations just so I could download and update the firmware. Linux users are out of luck, unless like me, your wife’s computer still has XP on it.

    I finally got the firmware updated and immediately fired up a podcast. Then some ogg encoded music. It sounded fantastic! Then I went started to walk around the same room I was in and everything began to fall apart from there. I then put my N1 in my belt holster and walked around. Major audio dropouts. So I figured I’m sitting still most of the time anyway so I’ll just deal with it. Well after about 20 minutes the drop outs got worse and worse – even with my N1 less than 6 inches from the headset. I don’t know if I got a dud or what, but I returned it and opted not to get another.

    Instead I got a Samsung WEP870 for less than half of what the Q1 goes for. It not only has A2DP but it even has a snap on module that gives you two in the ear buds for true stereo. It uses a standard micro USB connector for charging and has among the furthest range I’ve ever experienced with a BT headset. It’s not perfect. The Q1 is by far the most comfortable headset I’ve ever worn. The Samsung isn’t bad at all. It fits securely, but after a couple hours it can become bothersome. All in all though, for under $40, it’s a steal. I’m actually considering buying a second unit just to have as a spare.

  • Andrés

    Does the Q1 allow for true hands-free dialing on Android? As in, you press the headset button and the it prompts you for the command? And after you make a selection, you can confirm it via voice instead of having to tap on the screen?

    The regular Android voice dialing applications require you to press a button on the phone to start the query, and afterwards you have to tap on the screen to confirm your selection.

    Needless to say, the lack of basic hands-free dialing is the #1 issue in the Android issues list (http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/list).

    • blackjack

      Spoke to ant support q1 will not support voice dialing but u can store up to 8 sppes on the q1 itself. The app is for the message reading mentioned in the article

  • http://coreyharris.me Corey Harris

    I got one of these on amazon about a week ago and love it. I disagree about the volume being to low though, mine is super loud and I have to keep it turned down low. My biggest gripe is the hook for the ear, I have big ears and it wont stay in the headset. Otherwise I love the thing.

    • Andres

      Can you do hands-free voice dialing with it? (see my previous comment for details)

      Thanks

      • Sam

        I tried to do it from the headset but you still have to initiate voice calling from the handset.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=625143915 Brian Bailey

       I agree with the editor, the “Max” volume setting is too low. Kind of sad because I was really liking the other features of this. I may have to search for another headset because I am usually in loud environments and this max volume just isn’t cutting it.

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