Another Set of Bluetooth Stereo Headphones, The Nokia BH-214

I’ve owned these for three months now, so I figured I’d pen a few notes about it. If you’re considering one, the short answer is “Yes”.

Now follows the why.

As bluetooth headphones go, the Nokia BH-214 ranks among the cheaper bunch. The fact that you are considering it probably suggests that you were attracted by the price. That is not all this device has to offer though. It’s design is rather unique in that there are no visible wires on the device that are not user-replaceable.

Nokia BH-214
Nokia BH-214 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones

The wire that takes the sound from the flat, slightly playful looking device pop out from the top, and can be replaced with any standard 3.5mm headphones. The supplied set are the best fit though, since any other pair would leave you with an unwieldy mess of wires.

The fact that the actual ear pieces are replaceable with any pair of standard 3.5mm headphones comes in handy often because the default set are not exactly groundbreaking in terms of sound quality. I often plug in a set of Sennheiser CX-300 whenever I want to listen serious music, using the BH-214 as my phone’s remote control and as a hands-free microphone.

Thus far, we see that the Nokia BH-214 is a reasonably priced bluetooth stereo headset with an interesting and durable design, but not too great sound quality with the default ear pieces. That describes the device quite adequately. However, I should point out that the sound quality is not exactly a deal-breaker, but having owned and used a Sony DR-BT20NX and a Nokia BH-503 to date, I perceive a noticeable lack of vibrancy to the sound output of this tiny device.

Another small issue, which took some getting used to for me was the smallish power button. If you own or plan to get this device, you will do well to remember that the power button requires a long press, not a hard press as you might think, since the button seems a little hard to press and doesn’t give a strong tactile feedback when pressed. Just press lightly, but hold for about 4 seconds. It also helps if you have an ear piece in your ear so that you can hear the power-on beep.

The Nokia BH-214 sports the usual assortment of lights that are typical of bluetooth audio devices. Blue blinking LED indicates active connection, green blinking LED indicates powered on but not connected, and the red light flashes occasionally to indicate a power on/off event or a low battery warning.

Compared to my previous bluetooth headphones, this set seems to sport a slightly shorter battery life, putting out about 8 hours of continuous playback, which is enough to last me three days, but which has the habit of running out at inconvenient times. This is no fault of the device though.

Lest I forget, the ear pieces are ear buds (rubber cones) and are comfortable enough to use.

In summary, I do not regret spending my money on this adorable device. It does not provide top of the line audio experience, but it is good enough for my (I like to think) moderately critical ear, and the device compensates for that low score with elegant simplicity and a personality which I haven’t seen in any of my toys in a decent while.

I Moved and Renamed My Blog

Hey there, If you are reading this, it means you’ve successfully followed my blog to its new home. If you must know, I migrated to wordpress because I find it far more awesome that Blogger.

I took the liberty of renaming the blog also to “Gas Cooker”, which is supposed to make you chuckle when you hear it. My reason for choosing that name is quite simply because it makes me chuckle to hear a blog go by that name.

I will also try harder to bring you more home-cooked, hopefully funny, and witty articles every now and then.

Yes, I know this short note is not exactly a fine example of smooth talking. Bear with me, its just an announcement.

See you soon.

Samsung SyncMaster B2230 Monitor with HDMI Input

The Samsung SyncMaster B2230 looks like a sensible 22″ Display, with a HDMI port for hooking up your PS3 or XBox 360 (my wishlist :) ) , and VGA + DVI ports that enable the device to also serve as a pretty functional computer monitor with a resolution of 1980×1080 (1080p in HD parlance). All the other technical specs usually don’t matter to me. I only care about display resolution and input sources.

It is a good choice if the features I have described above meet your needs. There’s only one problem though. If this monitor will be staying in your bedroom, then you are going to get really annoyed with it whenever you wish to sleep.

I would avoid this (otherwise great) monitor for the following reasons:

  • The Standby signal is a bright blue, blinking LED that will frustrate your attempts to go to sleep if you’re anything like me. I can ignore static lighting easily, but a blinking light feels like a nagging invitation to spar, and this Samsung’s light is particularly bright. Bright enough to notice the shadows cast even when your head is facing the other side of the room.
  • The poor device puts up too much of a fight when it fails to detect any signal on its inputs. I mean, it would first scan all known inputs looking for something to display, about three times per input. If all that fails, then it starts playing a screensaver that says “check signal cable”. Imagine that. And they have the nerve to put a “Magic Eco” sticker on the front. No need to tell you how annoying that is. A 23″ Samsung monitor with HDMI that doesn’t have the sense to shut itself off if it has no work to do. (My previous monitor was a 17″ Mercury, whose usefully dull LED changed to orange when there was either no input, or when it was in standby. No fussy noises).
  • The darned “touch” buttons on the front panel are annoying. Yes, touchscreen phones are nice and popular, but I want to be able to adjust the brightness of my display without having to look for where to touch, or wondering if my touch was actually received by the slow glass box. I want tactile feedback, please, if you’re going to make slow and unresponsive touch surfaces where they are not needed. If I want to watch a DVD for instance, I need to switch to the HDMI input. It usually takes up to 6 “touches” to get the switch made. 6 because far too often, my touches don’t register, or I touch the wrong place.
  • On the issue of touch buttons, It would be nice if all these hardware manufacturers stopped replacing everything with touch. I’m looking at you HP. The volume buttons on my laptop are there for decoration only because (a) I can’t see them in the dark, and since they are not real buttons, I can’t feel them either. (b) If i try to use them, I can never get the volume setting where I want it, because I do not get any feedback as to how many presses I have registered, until the volume gets too loud, or too low.

I understand some people like the bling. If you like to fill your room with blinking lights while sleeping, knock yourself out, this is a great monitor.

If you prefer the things you use to never draw attention to themselves (except your phone of course), then you will less than happy with this monitor.

If you’re looking for a monitor, there, you just had a review of this Samsung monitor from a grumpy guy who has owned one for 2 months now.

Random Quote:
An idealist is one who helps the other fellow to make a profit. — Henry Ford