Otto Bluetooth Ear and Speaker Kit: Dock Like Spaceships, Ugly by Design

Otto Bluetooth Ear and Speaker Kit: Dock Like Spaceships, Ugly by Design

Otto‘s a company you’ve likely not heard of unless you’re a firefighter or SWAT officer. The company’s been making communication gear for pros in dangerous lines of work since 1961, and now they’re making civilian gear. Most of it is uninteresting (noise canceling headphones, MP3 player built in headphones), except this Bluetooth headset and speakerphone set that I like because they dock like mothership and space shuttle, so you have two devices in one for $130. And I like the way it charges…which sounds boring, but I’m being earnest about this.

Check it out:

The kit comes with little headset, and interestingly, a speakerphone dock that connects to it by mini-USB jack (the really, really small kind). The connection automatically transfers whatever calls you’re taking by headset to the speaker, and begins charging the headset from the dock’s battery. Rad.

The dock and headset can be charged alone or together by mini-USB cable, and the kit comes with a cigarette adapter and wall socket that both put out 5 volts of USB-age, and the setup can be charged by PC, too. (The AC and ciggy adapter’s output with a standard USB plug, so the logic seems to be that you could charge all your USB 5v gadgets with those two adapters. The ony issue? the mini USB to standard USB cable is the same you have to use at home (PC or wall) or in the car, so you’re out of luck if you lose it somewhere. They should have packed another. But between the pair, you’ve got six hours of talk, so all but the chattiest should be fine for a day. Confused? Hit the gallery because the photos go a long way toward explaining how it all works together.

The company claims to have DSP inside of the pieces to help enhance sound. What doesn’t have digital signal processing these days? The quality was actually less than great, to be honest, from the speakerphone and headset. Bassy and unclear in the middle and top ranges. The microphone, according to my caller, was better on the speakerphone, too. I’m surprised, as I’d figured that SWAT and firefighters would need even more clarity than the average Joe.

The speakerphone, when left on and paired to my phone, emitted a high pitched whine.

Their motto is strange, practically bragging about plain design: “Because you don’t hear with your eyes.” They could have just added rubber trim and called them headsets for men, but then again, Bluetooth headsets always make men look like weenies.

Would I recommend it? I’m on the fence about the sound quality and that whine. But I’m pretty stoked about the idea of a speakerphone/headset combo that actually dock into one.

Based on what I’ve said, would you guys buy this thing?

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