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[REVIEW] Nokia BH-221 Bluetooth

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LAYGO
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(Last edited by LAYGO; 4th June 2012 at 09:50 PM.)
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Default [REVIEW] Nokia BH-221 Bluetooth

I previously did a review on the Nokia BH-214 almost 2 years ago. Loved it & now I saw they have a newer version out: BH-221

First, some pictures compared to the 214 (white):





A lot of what I loved about the 214 remains and what annoyed me about the 214 was resolved. Namely the clasp. The 214 was fixed, could never rotate. With the 221, the clasp rotates 360! One of the coolest new features of the 221 is NFC. You can power it on simply by holding the Nexus up to it! (I've not had much luck getting it connected via this method yet though.)

You can *STILL* use whatever earphones you prefer. The headphones plug in in the middle, opposite of the screen, not on the edge like previously. It charges via micro USB (same as Nexus) unlike the standard Nokia micro pin plug on the 214.

They've also added an OLED screen that will show you caller id, track names (if the device it's connected to supports it), and displays the FM channel it's tuned to. OH YEA! It has a built in FM tuner! If your phone was like the EVO, it used the ear phones plugged in for an antenna.





It also supports mutilpoint connectivity, allowing it to be simultaneously connected to two devices. To initiate a search for a phone, press the Start/End Call button for about a second. Same thing for a media device, except you press the Play/Pause. Here you can see it searching for a phone or music device:





I use it in the car as a hands free (via the Aux In) connected to my EVO (as a pure media device) and my Nexus for phone. Works great. The only aspect that I miss is that all notifications on the Nexus won't be heard because they're played over the media connection, not phone. Also, I believe the mic to be improved as I used to get complaints about echos when on a phone call while plugged into the stereo.

It took me about 30 minutes to figure out how to connect a 2nd device. It's not intuitive and the manual has NO INFORMATION on it at all. It required a lot of button holding after initiating a search. Hold the Prev/Next buttons simultaneously & options menu is scrollable via the Prev/Next buttons. The options are:
- Adjust Bass/Treble
- Connect 2nd Device
- Language
- Factory Reset

(NOTE: I didn't realize that the 214 could connect to multiple devices as well! I don't know how I decided to try, but it works essentially the same was as the 221. Press & hold the phone to connect to a phone device, Play/Pause for a media device. You don't get a screen to show the search, but it worked. I can connect to both my EVO & Nexus at the same time with no music apps running on my Nexus, but music playing on my EVO that I can hit next/prev & the songs change and take a phone call on the Nexus. Thought that was neat!)

One of the greatest things I loved about the 214 was the battery. It seemed to last longer than advertised. The 221 seems to last about what's advertised & seemingly shorter than the 214.

The other issue is price. I paid about ~$30 more than I paid for the 214. Another cool thing for the 221 is now it comes in 5 colors (White/Black/Blue/Green/Pink, but it's just the controls, the body is still black). The 214 comes in 2 (white or black, I believe maybe a blue too?). I bought it for about $75 at Expansys.

(NOTE: I haven't found a North America 221 for sale yet, they only have the EU version. You can tell by the plug, but Expansys included a US/EU plug adapter! I almost threw the box away my order came in & while verifying it was empty, I found the adapter! Works great.)



The volume is about the same, if not the 214 being a tad louder than the 221. The call clarity is as good as your phone & I've not had any complaints about noise or whatever from others when on a call.

I keep the 221 in the car because of it's better mic capabilities & the 214 (that used to stay in the car) now is around my neck full time again. Either make a great hands free/media interface for my car. The stock stereo was severely lacking & the 214/221 is a pretty good stop gap.
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EVO 4G: Bought: 07/02/10 - Rooted: 07/09/10


Nokia BH-214 Review | Nokia BH-221 Review
(Bluetooth HFP/HSP/A2DP/AVRCP)
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sparhawk6
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Thanks for your review. I purchased the 214 based on your review.

I've liked my 214. My issues have been connectivity - I'd say about 1/3rd of the time my key presses on the 214 are not registering with my phone. Do you notice any increased responsiveness with the 221?

If you haven't noticed any change there, I'm not sure I'll upgrade. I haven't found the need for a rotating clip. I also don't think I need two connections.
 
LAYGO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparhawk6 View Post
Thanks for your review. I purchased the 214 based on your review.

I've liked my 214. My issues have been connectivity - I'd say about 1/3rd of the time my key presses on the 214 are not registering with my phone. Do you notice any increased responsiveness with the 221?

If you haven't noticed any change there, I'm not sure I'll upgrade. I haven't found the need for a rotating clip. I also don't think I need two connections.
I've not noticed the connectivity issues with my 214. Sometimes I do, right when I make the first connection, but it's usually pretty reliable.

As for the 221, I haven't noticed it either, other than when I power it on via NFC. I still have to hit the Send/End to get it to pair with Nexus, so it's not really saving much. I think as far as music is concerned, sometimes (with ether 214 or 221) it immediately fires up a music app by hitting Play/Pause, sometimes it doesn't.

As for a dual connection, the 214 supports it, which I didn't realize until having my EVO be the primary media device on the 214/221 (unchecking the "Connect to Phone" option under EVO's BT Settings) & making the Nexus the primary phone device (unchecking the "Connect to Media" option). Since I don't have any cell service on the EVO, I can't verify that it'd connect to the phone anyway, but I know I can get my Nexus to connect to both phone/media if the EVO BT isn't on or near.
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EVO 4G: Bought: 07/02/10 - Rooted: 07/09/10


Nokia BH-214 Review | Nokia BH-221 Review
(Bluetooth HFP/HSP/A2DP/AVRCP)
 
Mindgrinder
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Default audio clarity

how is the Bass and Audio Clarity? do you think it is good enough for gym?
 
shinji21
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Thanks for the review. It would be great if they put all these into a watch format with an extra speaker phone function.

Not so sure about the smart watch thing, but a Bluetooth headset in a watch format would be awesome.
 
LAYGO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mindgrinder View Post
how is the Bass and Audio Clarity? do you think it is good enough for gym?
Subjective. It works for me & I'm using Shure SCL2 IEMs (professional level). Either the 214/221 is plenty loud enough with good sealing in ears. If you want to further it, you could use a FiiO E5 headphone amp. It's about the exact same size as the 214 & will boost the audio fine. I use one on my desktop or when traveling on a plane.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shinji21 View Post
Thanks for the review. It would be great if they put all these into a watch format with an extra speaker phone function.

Not so sure about the smart watch thing, but a Bluetooth headset in a watch format would be awesome.
I imagine you could just clip it to a wrist band or jogging arm band to get that.
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Nokia BH-214 Review | Nokia BH-221 Review
(Bluetooth HFP/HSP/A2DP/AVRCP)
 
LAYGO
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One of the coolest aspects I've noticed lately of the 221 is how much easier it is to power on/off. Anyone with a 214 will tell you how hard it is to push that tiny button.
Galaxy S4 - rooted 4/28/13! Yucky Touchwiz

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Nook HD (CM10)
Parrot Asteroid Smart (Rooted)


Galaxy Nexus (CM9): Bought: 04/22/12 - Rooted: 04/23/12
EVO 4G: Bought: 07/02/10 - Rooted: 07/09/10


Nokia BH-214 Review | Nokia BH-221 Review
(Bluetooth HFP/HSP/A2DP/AVRCP)
 
HinotoriBR
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If your Galaxy Nexus has stock 4.0.4, can you please tell me whether it has a lag to play any sound other than the google music player and videos? MW600 is driving me nuts with this lag, I know it is 4.0.4 specific but I'm not sure if it is specific for the MW600 or if it affects other bluetooth headsets. The simplest way to test it is playing a game, audio lag is easily noticed while playing games...

P.s.: if you are listening to FM radio, is the phone audio still routed to the headset, and can you easily answer a call, or is it like MW600 where you need to manually switch the headset to the bluetooth mode and then answer the call?
 
Mindgrinder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LAYGO View Post
Subjective. It works for me & I'm using Shure SCL2 IEMs (professional level). Either the 214/221 is plenty loud enough with good sealing in ears. If you want to further it, you could use a FiiO E5 headphone amp. It's about the exact same size as the 214 & will boost the audio fine. I use one on my desktop or when traveling on a plane.
thanx, how good does it work with Lumia phones any idea?
 
Flowyk
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(Last edited by Flowyk; 6th August 2012 at 07:08 PM.)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HinotoriBR View Post
If your Galaxy Nexus has stock 4.0.4, can you please tell me whether it has a lag to play any sound other than the google music player and videos? MW600 is driving me nuts with this lag, I know it is 4.0.4 specific but I'm not sure if it is specific for the MW600 or if it affects other bluetooth headsets. The simplest way to test it is playing a game, audio lag is easily noticed while playing games...

P.s.: if you are listening to FM radio, is the phone audio still routed to the headset, and can you easily answer a call, or is it like MW600 where you need to manually switch the headset to the bluetooth mode and then answer the call?
SGS2 A403 (Litening Rom) ... in game it totaly have lag - delay is about half the second ... I got big delay even in MX player but only sometimes ... mostly it was with the "standard" delay
there is FM mode and bt mode ... switched with one position button ... it will automatically switch to BT when calling
Im missing android app for that device to bind buttons and more (like display managment) maybe I will write it but it wont be soon ... nokia.com/support also missing that devices (only mono headsets)

maybe bug but voice recording uses phone mic to record ... the sophisticated app is really needed

when someone calling with "turn on/off" you answer the call

its small but have own weight ... the watch option is good idea

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