Review: Off the Hook Bluetooth Handset

Nothing has ever hindered teenage dating like the corded telephones of the 1980′s.

The telephone would ring in our Scranton, Pennsylvania kitchen and my blood would freeze. If anyone answered it before me and heard that cute 10th-grader on the other end, the one whose unmistakably female voice asked for me by name, a shroud of humiliation would descend upon me as pronounced and obvious as Turin’s most famous export. Speaking in private was an experiment in the tensile strength of copper wire, as I stretched that cord to its limit.

The older I got, the longer the cords became.

Most contemporary phones scarcely resemble those clunky, plastic handsets. My memories remain, however, and that’s why I had a visceral reaction to the Off The Hook Bluetooth Handset from Brookstone. This handset looks just like those old wall-mounted phones and is compatible with just about any Bluetooth-enambled phone (v1.0, 1.1, 1.2). We picked one up last week and, seven days in, I’m glad we did. It looks good, works as advertised and offers respectable battery life. Here’s my look at the Off The Hook Bluetooth Handset (OTH).

Setup

The OTH ships with a rubber stand, UBS charging cable and instruction booklet. Setup couldn’t be easier. I got started by enabling Bluetooth on my iPhone. There’s a small button on the bottom of the OTH. Press and hold to turn it on, and continue to hold while it beeps three times. It’s then discoverable, and shows up in the iPhone’s Bluetooth settings screen. One tap selected it and it was paired.

Use

When a call comes in, simply pick up the OTH and press the button on the bottom. To hang up, press it again. You can also hit that button to re-dial the last number. That’s pretty handy.

The sound quality is acceptable if not slightly less impressive than that of my iPhone. I get about a 30-foot range before the connection drops. The battery has been impressive, too. I charged it overnight three days ago and it’s still going.

Another nice benefit is that my son, who often holds the iPhone in such a way that he’s very hard to hear, has been much more intelligible to callers.

If only it had a Parental Humiliation Mode that I can use when he’s in high school.

I do have a few complaints. First, there’s a blue LED indicator light in the mouthpiece that blinks when the handset is in use. It often reflects in my glasses, which is annoying. Second, if the iPhone is turned off, the OTH needs to be paired again. This only takes a second, but it’s still a hassle.

Finally, apologies

I must apologize to Melissa and Janie, who had to endure strained, curt conversations with my teenage self. If only we had been born in the Internet era. AMIRITE? OMG LOL ILY.

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