If you’ve ever had to choose between listening to your iPod or twiddling your thumbs waiting for a phone call on your mobile, BluEye may be the answer. This Bluetooth solution works like a hands-free kit using your iPod headphones as a headset. You can listen to music and when a call comes in you’ll hear a ringtone: you then choose to accept or reject the call. Accept it and you can talk into the lapel microphone or the control unit, while BluEye mutes your music. The music resumes where it stopped when the call ends.
In the box there’s the Bluetooth control unit, a lapel microphone, lanyard and USB cable. The BluEye is available in black, red or white. It offers ten hours talk time and 200 hours on standby on one charge. You charge up the device using USB. The components are lightweight, while details such as clips and mini-jack ports appear well made. If your phone supports hands-free operation you can answer calls using voice commands. BluEye will also record music from your iPod to use as a ringtone.
Setup is simple. A 60cm cable on the control unit connects to the iPod’s headphone port. A second 30cm cable connects to the control unit and carries an external microphone at the end, along with a port to connect your iPod headphones. You can also plug the headphones straight into the control unit, which has a built-in microphone. You must pair BluEye with your phone – which took around ten seconds using the instructions provided – and you’re ready to go. In practice, I found that I needed to switch the device on and off a couple of times until the phone and control unit found each other, after which it worked fine.
The great thing about this solution, when compared with wireless Bluetooth headphones, is that BluEye lets you use your choice of pans. Most Bluetooth headsets are remarkably ostentatious with flashing blue lights that practically invite street crime. You’re not a target with BluEye.
The 5cm diameter circular control unit is the heart of the solution. Just over 1cm thick, it has a clip on the back and two sliding buttons: one for power off/on/lock another for setup, manual, and voice modes. The front of the device hosts a discreet activity light and four large buttons: answer call, hang up, volume up and volume down. The company has clearly thought about control when designing the product – a little bump on the answer call button makes it easy to choose it when the controller’s in your pocket. In use, the iPod audio sounded just as good as it ever has, and calls are as crystal clear as my network lets them be.
If you are looking for a wireless solution, BluEye isn’t for you. But if you don’t mind some wires, this system is a robust, well-thought-out, effective way to integrate your iPod (or any portable music player for that matter) with your existing mobile phone and never miss a call.