The Orange G2 Bluetooth headset is an excellent bit of kit. Although there is little mention of it on the Orange website, it is available from Orange shops for around £40.
The headset is a branded version of the BlueTrek G2, which can be obtained from other suppliers. However, I am not certain that the BlueTrek G2 is shipped with the same range of chargers and accessories. Also, the Orange branded G2 uses the same colours as the C500.
In an Orange G2 box you get:
The is quite a package – most BT headsets are not supplied with a car charger, which I believe is a mistake. In the UK it is against the law to hold a mobile whilst driving, and bluetooth car kits are expensive to buy and fit. This means that many drivers will use a regular headset in the car. Indeed, this is where I’ve been using my G2 since early January.
The supplied carry case is useful – as with many BT headsets, the G2 is small, light and irregularly shaped, making it easy to lose. The carry case is small and grips the headset well, and has a belt clip. I use the belt clip to keep the carry case clipped to the inside of the driver’s door bin in may car, keeping the headset in easy reach whenever I’m in the car.
The design of the G2 is very good. The ear hook is made from soft, comfortable plastic surrounding a wire. This means you can bend the hook into a shape that fits your ear, and it will hold its position. The speaker and controls are in a sleek plastic housing, which can be rotated through 180 degrees to move the ear hook to the left or right side. The speaker does not need to be rammed all the way inside your ear like the Jabra headsets – instead it just rests against your outer ear. The speaker is capable of sufficient volume for this not to be a problem and is audible within a few centimetres of the ear, making it easy to switch on while putting it on.
The main housing also contains the signal LED, control button and volume buttons. The volume buttons have ridges on them which makes them easy to find by feel, and are arranged with corresponding ridges on the other side of the headset. This means that to adjust the volume you reach for either the front or back of the unit, and squeeze the ridges together. This clever design means that the volume is adjusted in the same way, no matter which side of your head you are wearing the headset.
The call quality can be fairly described as quite good. Make no mistake – it isn’t as good as using the handset without a handsfree kit, but it is good enough to have a conversation in a noisy environment. I regularly use it in my noisy sports car, and in computer server rooms which tend to have high levels of high frequency noise. From my recollection of using a Jabra BT250 with an SPV E200 about a year ago, the G2 seems to be a substantial improvement.
The status LED changes blinks infrequently in blue to indicate when it is on, and has different colours for low power/ charging / charged statuses. The main control button is large and easy to find by feel, and does most of the important operations:
Start a Voice Tag / Hang Up – Press briefly
Redial – Press for about 3 seconds
Turn on / off – Press for about 5 seconds
The most astonishing thing about the G2 is it’s battery life. My headset has been on whenever I’ve been driving, and also at other times when I’ve needed to make handsfree calls. I’ve had it since boxing day last year and charged it… twice. Yes, it has lasted me a month on a 2 hour charge. Orange claim the battery life is 9 hours talk/300 hours standby, and this certainly seems accurate to me (unlike their claims over the E200 battery life, which was a filthy lie IMHO).
This incredible performance means that you can rely on the headset to be working without much of a thought. The inclusion of a car charger means that when it does run out of power, you can charge it on the move. It only takes 2 hours to fully charge the headset from having a flat battery.
The headset also works well with TomTom. When a call comes in while navigating, you can answer it with the headset. After the call has ended, TomTom will return. If you make a call using the headset while navigating (using a voice tag), TomTom will not return after the call has ended. To get around this problem I setup a voice tag for Tomtom, which enables me to start TomTom without touching the phone.
In summary, the Orange G2 is a superb package. It is light, comfortable, offers superb battery performance, and comes with all of the accessories
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The G2 headset comes with many Orange handsets as a free extra, however you can also get it from Orange Shops. NOTE – The Orange G2 headset may now come without the carry case or car charger, so check the box before you buy!