Monday, December 1, 2003

The LibertyLink Docker wireless headset


By Dan Wolfson

Who needs Bluetooth? The LibertyLink Docker, a headset design by Aura Communications Inc., is a lightweight, affordable, wireless headset that works with most cellular and cordless phones -- and it's not Bluetooth. It uses a secure low-power technology called magnetic induction that provides excellent sound quality, privacy from eavesdropping, and amazing battery life with no AC adaptor needed. The spec sheet claims three hours of talk time for the headset, 25 hours of use per AA battery, and 3 months of standby time!

While testing this great gadget, I called several friends and all reported that my voice sounded clear and the connection was fine.

The battery indeed lasted for months (a great excuse for taking so long to finish my review [Uh, no, not really. -- Ed.]) and I never ran out of power while gabbing with my buddies. Performance was every bit as good as the wired headset for my cellphone, without the annoyance of dangling cords yanking the thing out of your ear in mid-sentence.

There are three pieces to the system: A base unit, headset and an adaptor cord. The base unit, shown in Figure A, holds one double-A battery which powers it and recharges the headset.


Here, the base unit is connected to a phone. (click for larger image)

A colored LED indicates charging status and battery life. A push-button unlocks the headset from the base cradle. It comes with a belt clip and there is an optional button mount for aftermarket mechanical belt clips.

The adaptor coil cord has a standard 2.5mm 3-pin plug to the base unit. The other end plugs into the headset jack of a cell phone or cordless phone and different adaptor cords are available. Mine came with a 2.5mm on both ends and it works perfectly with my Kyocera 7135 SmartPhone, my cordless phones at home, and several other cellphones. The company claims you can also use this system through the sound card/microphone jack on some computers. Range is about four to six feet so you can't wander too far.

The rechargeable headset, shown in Figure B, has a noise-canceling boom microphone, earphone speaker, bendable rubber ear hook (adjustable for left or right ear) and two control buttons.


The headset is flexible as well as stylish. (click for larger image)

You press the volume button to step through low, medium and high, or hold it down for two seconds for a volume boost setting for noisy environments. The flash button will start and end calls, depending on how your phone works. My phone has voice dialing so when I wear the headset, I just press the flash button and say "Call Bob" to make a call. The headset will beep if the power gets low.