CA Essential Bluetooth Headset
CA Essential Bluetooth Headset Review
Many phrases have entered the lexicon following the COVID pandemic. One of those relates directly: “Ever since COVID”… is now a catchphrase starter for many things. In this case, the phrase goes something like this: Ever since COVID, everybody has sold video conferencing headsets. In the case of long-time audio firm Cyber Acoustics, a Bluetooth® headset designed for video and audio conferencing isn’t unexpected.
With the CA Essential Bluetooth Headset (HS-2000BT), Cyber Acoustics does indeed deliver a headset that offers all the essentials; unfortunately, the fit and lack of intuitive controls detract from the underlying features.
- Frequency: Headset: 20-20KHz
- Microphone: 100-13 KHz
- Input Type: USB-A, USB-C, and Bluetooth
- Headband: Over the head and adjustable
- Microphone: -62 dBV Microbar , -40 dBV Pascal , +/- 4dB
- Driver Size: 40mm
- Driver Impedance: 32 Ohms
- Microphone Impedance: 2200 Ohms
- Controls: On Left Ear Cup
- Lights: Mic Mute, Busy, Power & BT
- Bluetooth Range: Up to 100 Feet
- Battery Life: Up to 27 Hours
- ANC: Yes
- ENC: Yes
- Cable Length: 6 Ft Charging Cable
- Device Compatibility: USB-A, USB-C, and Bluetooth equipped phones, tablets, computers, & laptops
- Volume/Mute Controls: Yes/Yes
What we like
- Bluetooth dongle for a solid, dedicated connection
- Earpads flip for laying flat on the desk or in a bag
- USB-C charging
When CA says “essential” in a product name, they mean that a product likely has features associated with more expensive products but at a lower cost. For instance, in my arsenal, the Poly Voyager 2 headset rests in its charging cradle ready for service in much the same way the CA Essential Bluetooth Headset does, sans the charging cradle.
The $129.99 CA Essential Bluetooth Headset (HS-2000BT) includes Active Noise Cancelation (ANC) to block out sound while on calls or consuming media, and Environmental Noise Cancelation (ENC) to isolate a speaker’s voice from background noise.
The Essential Bluetooth headset also sports a dedicated dongle to ensure a solid connection. And while not “certified” for the various conferencing platforms, the CA Essential Bluetooth Headset supports all the popular platforms.
The headset can be simultaneously paired with a computer via a dongle and to another device, typically a phone, via Bluetooth.
The headset charges via USB-C or via a sufficiently open and accessible Qi charging pad. CA sells a charging pad as an accessory. Employing Qi charging requires balance and luck. Once balanced on the charging pad, the CA Essential Bluetooth Headset stays as long as no children, grandchildren, dogs, cats, vacuum cleaners, or anything else disturbs its resting place. Because the earcups can also fold flat, that position on one earbud creates a more stable Qi charging experience. With those cautions, it’s cool that the headphones support Qi charging.
Once charged, CA expects 20 hours of listening and talking with ANC on, and 27 with it off.
I like that the boom microphone folds up and out of the way. Doing so mutes the microphone. With the microphone deployed and the owner on a call, the earpad glows red to warn those passing by that the wearer is busy.
So, with this list of positive attributes, CA actually does better than “essential” in features. Unfortunately, poor fit, earpads that make ears sweat, and non-intuitive buttons take away from the features that compare favorability with the likes of a Poly Voyager 2 and turn them into a second-tier headset. With a little more aesthetic design to match the electronics, CA could have produced outstanding headphones.
As with other CA products, the company’s minimalist packaging reflects a strong sense of environmental duty.
What could be improved
- On-ear design doesn’t fit well
- Earcups generate ear sweat
- Muddy audio for music
My biggest issue with the CA Essential Bluetooth Headset comes from its fit. The headband and earcups fit adequately and comfortably, but somehow, also feel a bit arbitrary. I’m not nitpicking to just find an issue; I’m genuinely trying to express a vagueness in fit. What isn’t arbitrary is ear sweat, which I have not experienced with any other headset in an office situation. I also experience fatigue when wearing this headset—much sooner than any other headset in my collection.
I’m also not a fan of the 4 buttons distinguished only by their equidistance from each other around the boom-bearing earpiece. Sure, if I used this headset every day I would learn and consistently use each button. From an onboarding or acclimation point-of-view, or from someone who looks at a lot of headsets with a lot of button configurations, CA does themselves no favors obscuring the functions.
There is nothing clear on the headphones to differentiate between volume control and ANC control. Fumbling with fingers while wearing the headset requires a button orientation before any action can be taken—assuming that the owner knows which actions associate with which cardinal points on the earpad’s button array.
Finally, as good as the feature set looks, the drivers come across as subpar. Every genre sounds muddy, with vocals and instruments banging up against each other in an intimate sound stage. For conferences, the audio works well enough, but these are not the best headphones for music.
CA Essential Bluetooth Headset: The bottom line
The CA Essential Bluetooth Headset offers a wealth of features found in other Bluetooth headsets, but poor fit, non-intuitive control design, and less than stellar music reproduction limits this headset’s potential.
Cyber Acoustics provided the Essential Bluetooth Headset for review. Images courtesy of Cyber Acoustics unless otherwise noted.
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