BlueAnt Q3 Bluetooth Headset
The BlueAnt Q2 was a very good Bluetooth headset and I really liked it when I reviewed it a couple of years ago. BlueAnt is back now with the Q2’s successor, the Q3. We’ll take a look at the new flagship headset from BlueAnt and check out what improvements BlueAnt has made.
- Voice prompts
- A2DP and Multipoint
- Siri/Google Voice support
- Just average sound quality
- Hard-to-use volume rocker and power switch
The BlueAnt Q3 is about the same size as the Q2 that it replaces. It’s about two inches in length and just over half an inch in height. At nine grams without the ear hook (10 grams with ear hook), you can barely tell that you’re wearing the Q3. It comes with several different ear gel tips to get the right fit for your ears. The hook helps keep the Q3 on your head, but I didn’t even need it. I found it comfortable to wear during calls and I had no problems just leaving it in even when I wasn’t on a call.
The Q3’s physical design is slightly different than the Q2’s. It now has curves, whereas the Q2 was much more angular. Both headsets have an understated and professional appearance, however. A long multifunction button is located on the “face” of the Q3, towards the back. Instead of volume buttons, the Q3 uses a rocker switch. I got used to using the rocker switch after a few tries, but thought the old style was easier to use. The power button on the Q3 is also on the backside, which makes it impossible to access if you’re wearing the Q3. It’s not a huge deal, but I do like being able to power the headset on and off without having to remove it from my ears.
FEATURES & PERFORMANCE
The Q3 has a voice user interface, which provides you with spoken information, rather than beeps or tones. You can do things like, answer/ignore calls, check battery levels, and activate Siri/Google Voice actions all by pressing the multifunction button then speaking into the headset. Paired with the Samsung Galaxy S4, I was able to use S Voice commands.
Streaming audio from music and video apps worked well, as did GPS directions from Google Maps. The audio quality was acceptable, but I wasn’t as impressed with it as I was with the Q2. I recall the Q2’s A2DP sound quality being very good and I enjoyed listening to music with it. Music with the Q3 didn’t sound quite as good to me. Why do I care about music with a mono Bluetooth headset? Because I like to go running with a mono headset paired to my smartphone. I like to listen to music and updates from my fitness app while I’m out on a run, but still have one ear available to listen for cars, bicyclists, and other environmental noise.
I also had some problems with people on the other end not being able to hear me well during calls with the Q3. I even had to transfer a couple of calls back to my handset in order to continue the conversation. This didn’t happen all the time, but enough where I didn’t feel completely confident that my voice would be clear to the person on the other end.
The Q3 can also be paired with two phones at the same time, supports call waiting and conferencing, and has mobile apps that add some additional features to the Q3. iPhone users get a battery meter for the headset and Android users can have their SMS messages read aloud.
Talk time on the Q3 has been improved to 7 hours, from 5 hours on the Q2. Standby time has also been upped from 100 hours to 120. A full charge takes up to 2 hours, but it quick charges to 50% in just 30 minutes.
The BlueAnt Q3 is similar in appearance to the older Q2 and the features haven’t changed a great deal, with Siri and Google Voice Actions being the exception. Unfortunately, nobody really uses those technologies. What surprised me, however, was the issues with sound quality. BlueAnt’s products normally have excellent audio quality, but the Q3 didn’t live up to BlueAnt’s reputation. There’s a firmware update available for the Q3, but it only addresses an iPhone 5 connectivity issue, not sound quality. Still feature-rich, the Q3 is a good Bluetooth headset, but it doesn’t really stand out among its competitors like the Q2 did.
Available from Amazon.com.
* Review sample provided by BlueAnt