Bluetooth wireless technology has been struggling to get airborne in the North American market since the late ’90s. Now that it’s realistically positioned — it’s really a cable replacement technology, after all — we’re starting to see realistic applications. Enter the Motorola V600 mobile phone and

accessories. A silver-and-chrome flip phone that’s a little on the large side by today’s standards, it boasts a brighter-than-most TFT colour screen with backlight, a surprisingly useful digital camera functional under a wide range of lighting conditions, a speakerphone and the usual complement of mobile phone features.

But it’s really all about the Bluetooth, so it’s the accessories that count. The review unit shipped with a wireless headset and, oddly, a wireless speaker phone unit.

Why “”oddly””? The phone has a built-in speakerphone. Where’s the utility in having a speaker/microphone unit with a theoretical wireless range of 30 feet when you can simply move the handset?

It was the headset that would have been the selling point for me. In conjunction with voice-activated dialling, a successful headset would have been an ideal on-the-road accessory. But the HS20 shipped with the phone simply didn’t cut it. Configuration was a snap, and the sound quality of the earpiece was nice and warm. But it was uncomfortable — it felt like it was on the verge of falling off constantly — and the connectivity indicator flashed blue intermittently, which can look a little sci-fi for the taste of some. Its real sin, though, is the atrocious quality of the microphone signal. On the other end, the caller sounds like he’s in a savage windstorm, with a great, shearing, distorted hiss monopolizing the conversation. For the money, it’s unforgiveable. But I’m still bullish on Bluetooth headsets. I can’t wait to use one that works well.

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