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Gear4 Blueye Review

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Are you like me, arriving at home, work or school only to find you have missed several calls on you mobile phone, because you were listening to your iPod. Are you tired of fumbling around to your bag to get your phone out, while trying to pause your iPod, and also remove your headphones?

 

The Blueye seamlessly integrates your iPod and mobile phone experience, turning your iPod into a wireless headset for your mobile phone. It has three primary functions

  • Receive and place calls mobile phone wirelessly via Bluetooth.
  • Control your iPod remotely via click wheel Remote Control for your iPod
  • Listen to radio via FM Receiver

Physically the Blueye closely resembles the design of my 3G iPod's remote control. It is 3.8 x 2.5 x 0.5cm in dimension. You can attach it to your clothing via a vertically mounted spring loaded clip. Since the Blueye has an inbuilt microphone it needs to be attached near the top of your shirt, and works best if you have headphones, with short cables, rather than the standard iPod headphones.

 

The Blueye is powered from the iPod battery. I have not noticed any significant loss of battery life of my iPod. However I didn't perform any through tests. It is attached via a 0.6m cable to the iPod's dock connector. This cable can be removed, and replaced with a USB adapter which allows firmware updates, (more on this latter).

 

One the front of the device, are the main controls. These are identical to the controls on an iPod shuffle, and allow you to Pause/Play, Skip Forward/Back, and Increase/Decrease the volume. In addition is a Bluetooth button which is used to control the Bluetooth functionality. One the left side of the device are two buttons. One for activating the FM radio, the second is a slide control which locks the controls of the Blueye.

 

When you begin you need to pair and authorise the Blueye with you mobile phone. I have a Nokia 7610, this was a simple process. From this point when the devices are in range and active they will automatically connect with one another.

 

If your phone rings while listening to music, your music will be paused, and you will hear your phone ring-tone in your headphones. Pressing Play/Pause on the Blueye will answer the call. Pressing Play/Pause again ends the call, resuming your music.

 

With my Nokia phone I found that all sound from the mobile would be routed to the Blueye, if in range. If I placed a call on my phone, I would hear the call on the Blueye, including the keypad sounds. This I believe is dependant on the phone.

 

The Blueye only works when the iPod is active. While in sleep mode the Blueye is also inactive, and will disconnect from you phone. This means if your iPod is sitting on the desk (not being used), you need to use your phone. This is no great sacrifice, when compared to the probable impact on battery life, if you iPod was always active.

 

To place a call you can dial a number from one of the last 9 received numbers, (displayed on the iPod screen). You can also use a voice dialling function, if supported by you phone. I had an issue getting voice dialling to work, after I had received my first call. I have no resolved this issue.

 

While using the Blueye, you need to have your headphones connected to the Blueye. The headphone socket on the iPod, does not work for the mobile phone, and radio functions. The volume control on the Blueye controls the headphone socket on the Blueye, not the iPod.

 

Integration with the iPod could be improved. The screen will display information from the Blueye, but you cannot use the iPod's click wheel to control those functions. It would be very useful to be able to dial from the iPod's address book. However I suspect this is a limitation of the iPod.

 

Firmware updates can be performed via suppled USB adapter which is attached to the Blueye, by removing the cable which connects it to the iPod. The Blueye website mentions a new version of the firmware, but does not allow you to download it. I have contacted them via email, but had no response.

 

This product sells for 50 pounds or about $100 USD. The product fills a niche, integrating you phone with your iPod. It does exactly what it says it does, and does it will. However there are some issue, which should be sorted out at some stage.

 

Score 8 / 10

 

I have also noticed a very similar product sold under the name "Zenecom Blupod". I you have any questions please post I will endeavour to answer your questions.

 

Gear4 Home Page

 

Blueye Home Page

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Firmware updates can be performed via suppled USB adapter which is attached to the Blueye, by removing the cable which connects it to the iPod. The Blueye website mentions a new version of the firmware, but does not allow you to download it. I have contacted them via email, but had no response.

 

Blueye Home Page

 

 

I've had some dialogue with the guys at Gear4, and they are working on a Mac compatible firmware updater. At the moment their advice is "In the meantime please try and get access to a PC. The entire process can be done in under 2 mins."

 

I know what you're thinking, iPod accessory without Mac support, ironic.

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Firmware updates can be performed via suppled USB adapter which is attached to the Blueye, by removing the cable which connects it to the iPod. The Blueye website mentions a new version of the firmware, but does not allow you to download it. I have contacted them via email, but had no response.

 

The firmware update has been posted on the web site, and I have now been able to perform the update.

 

A few more comments after using the Blueye for a month or so now.

 

1. The sound quality is not perfect. Have to turn the volume up fully on Mobile Phone, definatly helps.

2. The sound can break up, if the dock connector flexes. Usually happens when it is in my pocket

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