A Monster Nokia Bluetooth headset. A monster!

by Volker Weber

It does not happen often, that I am completely blown away by a new product. From the start. This is one such exception.

Executive summary: WOAAAH. Editor-refuses-to-give-it-back award.

I will show you in detail all the little things I like about the product. It has a name, that IBM would be proud of: NOKIA PURITY PRO WIRELESS STEREO HEADSET BY MONSTER. Copied in all caps from the Nokia Webiste. The short name is BH-940.

As you can see it comes in four colors matching your Nokia Lumia, if you feel so inclined as to wear a yellow headset. Nothing would scream LOOK AT MY NOKIA LUMIA phone quite like this choice. I went with black which is the least flashy color.

Looks pretty much like one we have seen before, doesn't it? I wasn't impressed then, but I am now. What has changed? The blue monster was stupid as f&ck. And this one is smart. One example:

See? Folded. Yes. Noticing anything else? It's switched off. This headset has Active Noise Cancelling, Bluetooth and NFC. But now it's off. I can't tell you how often I forgot to switch off ANC on my BH-905i. Look here. If you forget to throw the switch, it will drain the battery. This headset switches ANC off when you take it off your head. How does it know? Proximity sensor. It will go to standby when not connected by Bluetooth for more than 10 minutes. And it survives one week in standby if all else fails. I have no idea how long it holds its charge when folded. It will let you listen to music or make phone calls for 24 hours from a full charge. Yes, twentyfour hours.

If it does run dry, you can still wire it to your equipment. As soon as you plug the 3.5 connector, it goes to flight mode. ANC works, but Bluetooth is off. Without any charge in the battery, you can still listen, but you won't have ANC. Then, when you want to recharge, you just plug in any old MicroUSB cable to fill it up.

Although this is a Nokia product the wired connection does not work with Symbian, S40 oder N9 phones. They have a different pinout. The controls will also not work over the wired connection to anything but Lumias (and compatible devices) since they use a different command set from iPhone et. al. I have not experienced any loss of control over bluetooth, since the commands are standardized there.

While it's possible to use this headset for making phone calls, I would not recommend it for this purpose. The ANC and the over-the-ear cans seal you off, so you have little control over the volume you are speaking at. Most likely you will be yelling at the top of your lungs. Also note, that there is only one microphone. I would see the headset feature as a way to make sure you are not missing any incoming calls. Answer the call, but then transfer to the phone. Or even better, use a Plantronics Voyager for the call.

Want to put it away in your bag while keeping it neatly folded? It comes with a nice neoprene bag instead of the hard shell all the other headsets like the blue monster, the 905i or the Bose headsets. The pouch won't take up a lot of space in your bag, while empty. It even has a small hook that lets you attach it to your bag as you get on a flight. Neat.

The bag also holds the accessories in a small net. USB charger, USB-MicroUSB cable, and 3.5mm cable. Chances are you already are carrying a cable and a charger so you only need the audio cable if you want to hook it up in flight. Notice how one plug is angled so you can use it with an armrest without bending the plug. My only suggestion: a little strip of velcro would keep the net closed so that the cable won't be able to fall out as you remove the headset from the bag.

This may be my favorite feature: NFC. Put the headset on, touch the left side with your NFC-enabled handset and - bang - you are connected. No manual Bluetooth pairing. Touch again and you are disconnected. I tried that with a BlackBerry Bold 9900, a BlackBerry Z1, a Nexus 7 and a Lumia 920. If your handset does not have NFC — iPhone, I am looking at you — you can still use manual pairing of course. The headset will pair with up to eight devices and connect to two of them at the same time.

Why two devices at the same time? This is not just for listening to music. It's a full headset that lets you make phone calls. Think: mobile phone and PC with Skype at the same time. There is a single microphone on the left side facing forward. Make sure you put the headset on the right way, otherwise that microphone points away from your mouth. What you are seeing above is the back of the headset with the controls for voice commands as well as backward and forward. Hit the button for two seconds and the headset starts talking to you with instructions. Tap it twice and it will reject a call, once to answer the call. And when not in a call, you can tap it twice to just redial. Standard controls for all these BT headsets.

On the right side there is another rocker for adjusting the volume, and underneath (not pictured) a Bluetooth connect/pair button. Which brings us to the all important question: how does it sound? I am no audiophile. The slight hissing of ANC does not disturb me. While playing music at 50% volume, I was unable to hear our small Dyson, which is quite noisy. I can only hear the ANC hiss, when the music is off. No difference from any of the other brands. Some people despise Monster headsets because they are somewhat heavy on the bass side. For me, they work.

Is their any downside? Yes. 329 €.

Comments

Impressive. Thanks for the review!

Robert Schneider, 2013-02-08 11:54

Wow, great, thanks a lot! But the price? Awesome :-/

Hubert Stettner, 2013-02-08 12:40

Yes, hardcore-price. Since I bought the Bose Quietcomfort 15 just before end of year, this will have to wait, but since it is in the same price league ... I wonder if noise cancelling capabilities and general quality of sound are roughly in the same league. Then I think it would really be worth the price.

Btw, this is one thing I am missing from Sonos right now - A way to make such a headphone a Sonos zone. Maybe soon...?

Frank Quednau, 2013-02-08 13:04

The price is preventing the vowe.net effect. :)
If it would be cheaper, it probably would be on the way from Amazon to me.

Patrick Bohr, 2013-02-08 13:05

A Sonos headset is unlikely. Too much power. Sonos uses Wifi and not Bluetooth.

Volker Weber, 2013-02-08 13:08

Yeah, I know...Sonos would have to provide an AC powered device, similarly in size like the Bridge, which acts as a pairing device to Bluetooth Headphones and makes them available as zones.

Hey it's Friday...when can you wish unprofitable stuff if not today?

Frank Quednau, 2013-02-08 16:15

Oh wow, the BH-905i's suddenly look so.... 2009!

Stuart McIntyre, 2013-02-08 17:11

For $350, it should also massage your head.

Craig Wiseman, 2013-02-08 19:14

If you turn it up high enough, it will massage any parts you like. And it keeps them warm.

Volker Weber, 2013-02-08 19:18

Wieder einmal typisch. Spontankäufe ausgeschlossen. Die Zeitspanne von der Produktankündigung bis zum Verkaufsstart ist wieder einmal lange genug, um das Produkt zu vergessen. Bei Amazon sind es 1 - 3 Monate, das ist zu lange.

Axel Seifried, 2013-02-10 18:51

Das alles und noch viel mehr kann der Kopfhörer von Parrot auch.

David Justen, 2013-02-12 00:07

Parrot Zik? Das ist doch der Muttipanzer unter den Kopfhörern. Groß, dick, keine Reichweite. Ganz selten sehe ich mal einen im Flugzeug. Und der muss dann mitten auf dem Atlantik nachgeladen werden.

Volker Weber, 2013-02-12 09:06

Und günstiger ist er auch nicht.

Ragnar Schierholz, 2013-02-12 09:59

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vowe.net is a personal website published by Volker Weber a.k.a. vowe. I am an author, consultant and systems architect based in Darmstadt, Germany.

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