gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Qstik EVOQ Bluetooth Headset Review

You can pick up a tolerably good Bluetooth headset right now for just £9.95 and not only make yourself look like a cyborg with the daringly shaped ear-piece but connect the supplied stereo earbuds and rock out to your music from an A2DP compatible phone.

I’m referring to the Qstik EVOQ Bluetooth Headset which has received plentuy of positive feedback, and it’s not difficult to see why. The EVOQ is a flexible bluetooth headset which can go from being a (slightly ugly) ear-piece to affixing to your car dashboard as an in-car hands-free system or sitting in your pocket piping tunes to your ears via bluetooth A2DP and the supplied earbuds.

The Qstick EVOQ comes with a variety of accessories to support all of these uses, including the aforementioned earbuds and an in-car/desktop cradle which uses a magnetic connection system to make it really quite easy to grab off your desk in its entirety and lock it to the adhesive magnet that you first fit in your car.

The EVOQ wont integrate in any way with your car stereo, but you can simply wear a single ear-bud in your ear to hear the other end of a conversation. The noise cancellation, voice enhancement and echo cancellation ensure that you get good speech quality. In fact, it should outperform the voice quality in most phones, particularly smart-phones which can often be prone to very poor speech quality.

Power adaptors are provided both for your desktop and car, however these need to be disconnected in order to move the upper half of the cradle, making them little bit of a nuisance. A two-piece system that included concentric rings and contacts to transfer power from the part affixed in-car (or remaining on your desk) to the movable cradle would have been better and far more convenient.

The cradle, however, is still very convenient. The first time I placed the EVOQ into its snug confines I had a little trouble aligning the contacts, but a bit of frustrated wiggling soon seemed to sort it out. All subsequent insertions now see the EVOQ happily charging away from a USB port on my monitor.

Where the Qstik EVOQ fails to shine, unfortunately, is in audio punch and quality. The headset supplied uses a micro-USB connection to facilitate the in-line microphone and answer button, this means that you can’t use the EVOQ to drive your favourite headset or cans, and it seems to lack the power to drive even the supplied ‘phones to my usual (slightly high) listening levels.

I was unable to get hold of any other micro-USB headsets to check their compatibility, but there could be hope in this respect – I’ll have to see what I can dig up!

After a while of being determined to listen to my music via the EVOQ I eventually gave up and switched to my cans. I imagine the headset supplied can compete somewhat with earphones, but it’s absolutely destroyed by the quality/volume/clarity of a pair of cans being driven directly by my iPhone or Laptop. Still, upon switching to the cans my initial impression was “actually the EVOQ wasn’t so bad, just quiet” so folks with normal levels of hearing who are used to sane levels of volume will likely have a much better experience than I did.

Of course, if your phone has a proprietary headphone connector then you’re losing nothing by using the EVOQ. Sadly, you’re probably not going to gain anything in terms of audio quality either over the bundled headset.

Where the EVOQ really shines for audio listening or voice communication is if you want to safely stow your phone in a bag, or simply sit your laptop on a desk and wonder ’round the room chatting away on Skype. On my MacBook Pro the EVOQ shows up in the bluetooth menu with the Headset and Headphones listed as two separate services, I can send my music to either of these in a jiffy.

Now, back to the daring design. The EVOQ is circular, and fairly bulky. So much so, in fact, that any self-concious individual will almost certainly leave it in a pocket and make use of the discrete headset instead. Personally I wouldn’t wear any bluetooth headset.

Overall, the EVOQ is an absolute steal at £9.95 from at the moment, If you’re even remotely interested I’d drop the tenner (let someone else buy a round) and grab it before they run out of stock.

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009, iPhone, Personal Audio, Windows Mobile.