SolarVoice 908 headset lets the sunshine in

There are a lot of Bluetooth headsets on the market today, but i.Tech Dynamic‘s SolarVoice 908 gives you three – count ’em, three – great features: good audio quality, the ability to listen to your multimedia content as well as your phone calls and a photovoltaic charging panel that, according to the company, will keep the headset going a lot longer.

What does it do? The SolarVoice (which retails for $50-$75 ) is, on the face of it, a pretty standard (and solid) Bluetooth headset. It comes with four differently-sized earpieces and a plastic ear loop; has a volume button and a multifunctional button that turns the unit on/off and lets you answer/end a call. Like most consumer headsets, it is designed to be reasonably stylish – this one is black with slick silver edging – and reasonably unnoticeable (as opposed to business headsets, which tend to offer better outgoing audio along with a microphone that extends halfway down your face).

That being said, the audio offered by the SolarVoice is quite adequate; I found the quality of the incoming audio to be excellent, and my callees had no complaints at their end, even when I was calling from a rather noisy environment.

What’s cool about it? Well, first, if you’re looking for a green product, this is definitely one for your list. The SolarVoice has a charging panel right on its back so that when the unit is in direct sunlight, it will continuously charge — giving it, according to the company materials, “infinite standby time.” In fact, it comes with a cradle that you can attach to your car dashboard or place on your desk so that you can let the SolarVoice soak up the sun (assuming there is any). Of course, it comes with a normal USB/AC charging adapter for rainy days.

In addition, the SolarVoice is equipped with the A2DP profile , allowing you to use it both with your calls and to listen to your music or other multimedia content – a very handy feature.

What needs to be fixed? I was unable to test how well the SolarVoice powered itself via sunlight because there wasn’t really enough sunlight available during the period I was testing. Unless your desk has direct sunlight coming through the window, or you drive in a normally sunny climate, the photovoltaic charging panel isn’t going to do a lot of good. (And if your windshield has any kind of tinting, that could affect its effectiveness as well.)

Also, the headset itself sits a bit far from the face – especially if you use the ear loop. It didn’t seem to affect voice quality too much, but it did feel a bit peculiar.

Final verdict: The SolarVoice 908 is a great little headset that offers high-quality audio and A2DP functionality. Whether its ability to power itself via its built-in solar panel is useful or just a gimmick depends largely on where you live and work.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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