With many companies selling hands-free mobile headsets for under $15, is it worth spending $50 on a similar product? Shure thinks it is. They say that their QuietSpot QSH-3 entirely isolates your cell phone conversation from the outside world.
The earpiece is a single ear bud, and the directional microphone is both adjustable and capable of removing nearly all background sound.
Does the Quietspot do what Shure claims? Read on to find out.
We loved the Shure E2c canalphones for music listening, partly for their ability to block out the rest of the world. Well, Shure has done it again with an excellent cell phone headset with a similar design. The QuietSpot combines a single ear bud similar to those of the Shure E2c, a comfortable ear holder, and a flexible, lightweight, directional microphone.
Each piece is well thought out, customizable, and comfortable in ways we have not seen with any other headset. It all adds up to an excellent feel and an all around high quality device.
The ear bud is a standard Shure canalphone bud, the same piece that is found on the E2c canalphones, which means it fits into your ear. The sound isolation comes from blocking off all air movement inside the ear by creating a seal with a soft silicone or foam sheath. Shure includes three sizes of the silicone sheath and three foam seals to choose from in order to get a personalized fit. The plastics are a frosted translucent that give a hint of the underlying electronics, giving it a nice “techy” look.
The Shure QuietSpot QSH-3 headset.
The in-the-ear fit was the only feature of the product that we found needed some getting used to. As with the E2c, this may not be comfortable for everyone. In particular, we found it a little more cumbersome to use while driving at first because of the mechanics of jamming the ear bud into the ear quickly to catch the call. But with a little use, it was actually easier to use that other around-the-ear headsets.
The ear holder piece is made of extremely soft rubber that can be folded back on itself from any direction. It is also easily removable and symmetrical on each side, allowing the QuietSpot to be used on either ear. At first it seemed as if the earpiece was either going to be unnecessary or ineffective, but it was neither. It provided just enough hold to keep the earpiece sealed well, and is designed to make up for the time lost by positioning the actual ear bud. We found it easiest to insert the ear bud, give it a little twist, and then just flip the ear holder right over our lobes.
The microphone is mounted at the end of a flexible wire support stalk, which can be contorted into any shape you choose. The directionality is excellent, as is the noise canceling. The microphone and support stalk use a darker, less translucent plastic than the inserts, and can be fitted with an included foam windscreen.
The Shure “Fit Kit” includes three sizes of foam and silicon inserts.
All that sounds great on paper; but how did it perform? In a word: wonderfully. The ear bud removes all outside noise, and the microphone blocks enough outside noise that not even the car stereo was audible at modest levels.
As we mentioned earlier, getting in place when you receive a call can be a little tricky at first, but easy to master after a few days. As a measure of overall quality, I attended a two-hour conference call on the QuietSpot. After the call, my ear was not sore at all and the other participants were convinced that a landline was being used.
We tested the QuietSpot with an LG VX-2000 on the Verizon network and a Motorola i60c on the Nextel network. We compared it to the Plantronics M130 and also to the built-in speaker on the phones. The QuietSpot won in all subjective tests hands-down. It excelled in the car with music playing, in a crowded shopping mall and on a quiet street corner.
The QuiteSpot is backed by a 30-day, no-questions-asked, money back guarantee, plus a one-year warranty on materials and workmanship. Shure makes QuietSpot headsets for most makes of wireless phones. Consult the Shure website for more info.
It’s not often that we recommend you jam something in your ear, but in this case we say “go for it”. Once you get used to doing it quickly, we’re “Shure” you’ll be glad you did. Not only will you experience the best quality audio your cell phone can supply, but so will your friends and colleagues on the other end.