Whether you’re a long haul Trucker behind piloting an 18 wheeler, or someone who works in a noisy warehouse, there’s a few things you both have in common;
- You work in a noisy environment
- You have a need to keep in touch with people
- You work more efficiently when both of your hands are free
This is where the BlueParrott B650-XT comes in.
The BlueParrott B650-XT is an updated version of the former B550-XT, and in this blog, I’m going to go over some of the features found on this new headset.
I’ll also explain a little about the BlueParrott App, and why I’d recommend you download it.
Finally, I’ll point you to a video I recorded that puts this new B650-XT up against some distracting noise that includes dogs barking, office noise, wind, and of course no respectable Headset Advisor headset video would be complete without our signature blender test.
But, before I jump into this, I do need to let you know that I recorded a review video of the BlueParrott B650-XT. If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably opt to watch the video rather than reading this blog. I just always find it easier, and more convenient.
Either way, you’ll know a little more about this new headset when you’re done.
If you’re still reading, then come along as I help to break down the features and sound of the B650-XT.
What it connects to
The BlueParrott is designed to be used with mobile devices and computers. So, if you’re on the road, you can use it with your mobile phone, or if you’re in the office, you can use it with your computer.
The 650-XT also has a 3.5mm port which provides you the option of connecting it to other devices that use a 3.5mm connection. This is something not commonly found on
wireless Bluetooth headsets. In my way of thinking, what could be wrong with having more connection options?
What comes in the box
Sometimes we expect that certain things will be included when we make a purchase. And, it’s always disappointing to open the box only to find something missing. Well, to help you to avoid that disappointment, I’m going to list what you’ll find in the box when you order a BlueParrott B650-XT.
- B650-XT Headset
- CLA charger
- Spare microphone windscreen
- USB C charging cable
- Setup guide
The BlueParrott B650-XT uses Bluetooth version 5.1, which is among the most up-to-date versions of Bluetooth available today. If you’d like to know more about the key differences between Bluetooth 4.0 vs. 5.0, you might be interested to read this short article by Josephine Engel of Dignited.
The microphone on the BlueParrott B650-XT is noise cancelling. This is a highly important feature when you consider that this headset is targeted for use in Trucks and warehouses where noise is high.
The BlueParrott B650-XT has been tested by a third party company, and has been found to remove 96% of background noise. Imagine eliminating that much unwanted background noise when rolling down the interstate. Clearly, the B650-XT isn’t your ordinary Bluetooth headset.
Not only does the microphone reduce unwanted background noise at a high level, but the microphone boom arm features a click stop design that allows the placement of the microphone to stay put. Surprisingly, this isn’t a feature you see on a lot of headsets, but it is helpful in keeping the microphone where you place it, which is important if you want to avoid microphone drift.
The ideal placement for a microphone is approximately two fingers width from the corner of your mouth. If you place the microphone too close to your mouth, you’ll likely experience sound quality issues such as popping p’s, and hissing s’s for example.
And, when you place the microphone too far away from this ideal location, you may find that the microphone picks up more of your background, and less of you. Both are undesirable, so keep that microphone close, but not too close.
Lastly, the microphone can be worn on the right side of your face or on the left. Some headsets don’t give you this flexibility, and some people do have a preference, so it’s nice to have the option.
The microphone boom arm is flexible too which allows it to be easily bent to help you get the microphone into the right position.
Previous models of Blueparrott headsets and many older generations of Bluetooth headsets in general would use micro USB for charging. These days many customers expect newer headsets and devices to have USB-C for charging. It's more reliable and you don't have to guess which way to connect your charge cord 😄
Good thing the Blueparrott B650-XT has USB-C for charging.
The BlueParrott B650-XT has a stated wireless range of up to 300 feet. That’s pretty impressive considering most Bluetooth headsets offer up to 33 feet and even fall short of that distance.
Though I haven’t personally tested the wireless range on the B650-XT, I have to assume that it will outperform many Bluetooth headsets that have a Bluetooth version beneath v. 5.0. Considering that a Bluetooth headset is wireless, people who use them love the fact that they can move around freely, without the restriction and annoyance of a wire.
A lot of Bluetooh headsets provide range only to 33 feet, but the BlueParrott B650-XT offers a wireless range that’s 3 times further. Checking the tires, examining your trailer or just taking a break, can all be done while still being connected.
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
Something you never see in a headset like the B650-XT is Active Noise Cancellation, which is sometimes referred to as ANC. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, allow me to pause a moment and provide you with a brief explanation.
The term Active Noise Cancellation refers to an electronic feature found in some headsets that produces a countermeasure to unwanted room noise. In other words, when wearing a headset that has this ANC feature, and you experience distracting noise such as road noise, wind noise, machinery etc., you have the ability to press a button on your headset to reduce, or eliminate it.
I found this feature to be ineffective when using the B650-XT in a mono configuration. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the optional second ear speaker to test the ANC effectiveness with both ears covered.
Too much surrounding sound was present through my open ear which nullified the effectiveness of the ANC feature. I think I would have had a more favorable experience in a duo configuration.
4 things you can connect your B650-XT to
The BlueParrott B650-XT can be used in a variety of ways which makes this headset extremely flexible. Here are some of the ways in which it can be used:
- With your mobile phone
- With your tablet
- With a computer
- With devices that support a 3.5mm connection
If you pause for a moment and consider all those devices, that says that the BlueParrott B650-XT is flexible, and will give you a wide range of use options.
The controls on the B650-XT are located on the ear speaker and include
- BlueParrott multi-function button
- On/Pair button
- Volume up
- Volume down
- Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) button
- HearThrough button
- Track forward
- Track back
The BlueParrott multi-function button can be personalized for quick access to the features you use the most such as mute, speed dial, or Push-to-Talk to stay in touch with your team members.
The BlueParrott B650-XT comes with a medical grade, silicone wrapped headband cushion. This provides a more sanitary, and comfortable wearing experience.
The ear cushion is large, comfortable and fully encircles the ear. The cushion itself is generously padded, and wrapped in a leatherette material helping to make it very comfortable even for long stretches of time.
And, knowing that Truckers are on the road for many hours at a time, comfort plays an important role along with sound quality.
One feature that you don’t commonly find in the world of headsets is one that will allow you to switch from a single ear configuration, to a double. Besides the BlueParrott B650-XT, I can only think of one other in the Discover Adapt 30.
The BlueParrott B650-XT comes standard as a monaural, single ear style headset that allows for the single ear speaker, and the stabalizer pad to adjust for a personalized fit. However, there’s a second ear speaker available as an optional accessory that will transform this mono headset into a duo.
When on the road, and behind the wheel, it’s against the law in most States to have both ears covered. This is to allow one ear to be open to hear emergency vehicles, and for overall safety reasons.
Therefore, adding a second ear speaker to the BlueParrott B650-XT wouldn’t be recommended when driving, but may be a good option if working in a warehouse for example.
Build quality / Durability
Knowing that this headset is targeted for use in industrial applications such as warehouses, as well as for road warriors in the Trucking business, build quality, or durability becomes an important point to consider.
I evaluate a lot of headsets for a number of things. One of the things I do pay attention to is how well a headset is built. Though build quality and durability is important for those who work in an office, it’s even more important for those on the road, or in an industrial setting.
So, what’s my opinion on the build quality of the BlueParrott B650-XT? I have to say that I like how this headset is put together. To me, the construction looks and feels appropriate for heavy use, and it’s IP54 rated making it dust, and water resistant.
If the BlueParrott B650-XT is finding its way on to your short list of things you’ll be purchasing, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that this headset is constructed well enough to hold up under challenging conditions.
Push to Talk (PTT) / Walkie Talkie
The BlueParrott B650-XT distinguishes itself from other, more common headsets, by having a Push to Talk (PTT) feature. Here are a few of the PTT applications the B650-XT can work with:
- ESchat Push to Talk
- AT&T enhanced PTT
- PoC PTT Profile
- Verizon PTT Plus
Besides being able to be used in a Push to Talk mode, the BlueParrott B650-XT can also be used as a Walkie Talkie device. People that you wish to use this feature with, such as your team for example, can be populated into the BlueParrott app, and then using the BlueParrott multi-functiion button, you can access them quickly for a private, one-on-one conversation, without fumbling around looking for your phone.
We’ve all been there. You know, you’re out somewhere and you have this thought that comes to mind and you know if you don’t make note of it, you’re bound to forget it.
Sound familiar? Well, the BlueParrott B650-XT has your back. You see, it has a voice memo feature that allows you to voice record notes. No more forgetting things, and no more searching around for pen and paper.
This is one more example of why the BlueParrott B650-XT may be the best Bluetooth headset ever for those who make their living on the road.
Sound check please
When using a headset, you really never know how you sound to those you talk to. The BlueParrott B650-XT changes all that.
The 650-XT comes with a feature called Sound Check. This feature allows you to listen to hear how you sound, and make any needed adjustments. This helps to assure you that those you speak with will hear you loud and clear.
No more repeating yourself, or putting others in a position where they struggle through the conversation. When you use this feature, you’ll know exactly how you sound.
Price and warranty
The B650-XT is priced at $219.99, and comes with a 1-year warranty.
Personally, I’d like to see the warranty pushed up to 2-years, which would help to get it in line with other Bluetooth headsets.
Having a 1-year warranty, to me, puts the B650-XT in the same group as consumer grade, even entry level headsets. The features and quality of this headset, in my opinion, justifies a 2-year warranty instead.
As for the price, I think this is a bargain for all the features you get, and the ruggedized, durable construction. This is a very fair price on a product that will stand up to the
physical, environmental, and audio demands common to those who make the road their place of business.
After reviewing some of the features of the BlueParrott B650-XT, do I think this is a good headset, and an upgrade from the B550-XT? I can answer that with a resounding yes!
For a modest price, you get an impressive list of features:
- Walkie Talkie functionality
- Push to Talk feature
- 96% microphone noise cancellation
- Durable, ruggedized construction
- 3 times the wireless range over many other Bluetooth headsets
- Memo feature
- Sound test which allows you to know how you sound to others
- Second ear speaker option for dual speaker audio
- An impressive 36 hours to talk time - 12 hours more than the B550-XT
- IP54 water and dust resistant
- HearThrough feature so you can leave your headset on, but hear others
- Multiple devices for you to connect to; computer, mobile phone, tablets, 3.5mm
- NFC button for quick and easy pairing
- Expandable to a double ear configuration
The list goes on. Bottom line is I like this headset, and I think it’s a great value and a nice upgrade from the 550 model.
Earpiece more your style?
If an earpiece headset is more your style, here’s a BlueParrott earpiece video you might find informative.