For starters you must be wondering why is there an E90 lying next to the headphones, specially when this is a headphone review. Even if it had to be a phone, why not an Nseries music oriented device that goes well with the scheme of things. The answer is simple. Out of the box, the Nseries devices have far better music capabilities while the Eseries pretty much bites the dust. A little while ago, I found out for myself that Eseriestoo isn’t bad on the inside, if you are willing to make a few adjustments and get yourself a 3.5mm adapter. However, if you couldn’t be bothered doing that, the BH-503 will be just right to address the issue, it complements a device wonderfully.
The BH-503, it is a A2DP, AVRCP device that allows you to listen to music wirelessly in great stereo quality while being able to control playback too. It paired with any A2DP device such as the E90, N95, E51 or even something like a Nokia 6300 makes for a great experience. This is especially true for devices which otherwise are not touted be any good in this department. In essence, it turns any A2DP capable phone into a great music phone, a big testament to its ability. Read on for the complete review.
This is the most fundamental aspect for a headphone and needs to be addressed first. My impression of Bluetooth headsets was they are okay to use for calls but when it comes to streaming music, they are not quite there yet. The BH-503 has blown that impression out of the water, completely. As soon as I paired the device to my E90, tweaked the equiliser for more Bass (I figured Bluetooth Headsets would need an extra stimulant) and started playback, I was quite amazed at the crisp and deep sound that was being pumped into my ears. I am no audiophile so I won’t be able to tell you particular frequencies where it was good or bad, but for a normal person like you and me who likes good Bass, a nice depth in the song and decent treble, the BH-503 will not disappoint at all. In fact it ‘ll surprise you pleasantly.
The volume on this is good too. Usually I would play at about 70-80% most of the times and did not feel the need for more. The headphone also responds really well to equaliser modifications, much better than a good wired headphones do. To sum it up, I can safely conclude, this is a big positive for the headphones and certainly won’t be a factor that keeps you from buying them.
The headphone has an over the ear neckband design. It needs to rest with a bit of your ear between the neckband to be completely secure. At first I used to feel a pinch and would feel the need to take them off after a while, but with time I have gotten used to the design. Once securely in place it won’t fall off, no matter how hard you rock your head.
Since it has a neckband design, it becomes a little inconvenient listening to music while lying down and if you happen to have small ears it might become a little difficult keeping it secure. The headphone has no moving parts and the size of the neckband cannot be adjusted, however because of the design this isn’t much of a problem.
The BH-503 features Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR, Headset Profile (HSP), Handsfree Profile (HFP), Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) and Audio Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP). This basically means we can make calls via the headset including initiating and terminating them, stream stereo music across, control the playback. All of this with the dedicated buttons which include a multi-function call key that helps with pairing too, a play/pause key, forward and back keys and volume control keys.
When connected to a phone, there is no cracking or stuttering of any sort even when the phone is a little far away. Infact I’ve used the headset with ease even while I was separated by a wall. If I happened to go too far and return, the connection was made again automatically. (For the first time when I connected them to the E90, there was some stuttering but a reboot of the phone fixed it). The one thing you will need to be careful of while using them is that there is no other Bluetooth device that attempts to connect to your phone because this will impact performance.
The headphone works with other manufacturer’s devices too along with computers. Sadly, I somehow couldn’t get it to connect to my Vista laptop. On my old XP machine it worked like a treat, so this seems to be a case of blaming Vista and not Nokia.
APPEARANCE & BATTERY LIFE
The BH-503 is a good looking headphone, one which I won’t think twice about wearing outside. At 150x75x155mm it is not too big unlike the BH-604, which is huge! It comes in two pleasing colour combinations so you have choice in that department too.
As far as battery life goes, the claimed standby and playback time is up to 210 and 11 hours respectively. I was able to get about 8 hours easily at which point I deemed it satisfactory enough. The main problem with Bluetooth headsets is not their battery life but how quickly your phone dies when it takes on the additional burden. Fortunately the E90 in my case was quite upto the task but my N95 did rant and pant by the afternoon in case I played too much music. While the headphone is connected, taking and ending a call is a matter of pressing a button and the calls do seem to put an additional burden on the battery life.
CONCLUSION & UNBOXING
The conslusion I’ve come to is that if you out a Nseries owner and are looking for a headphone, this a good buy. However if you own a A2DP compatible Eseries then this an even better buy as those phones support 16GB cards and because they also have good battery life, this makes for a great combination. Something that was reduced to a business phone with music not a priority, is now a killer music phone – all courtesy on the BH-503.
The retail package consists of:
Nokia Bluetooth Stereo Headset BH-503
Nokia Compact Travel Charger AC-5
You can find the complete Unboxing Gallery, here on OVI.