Last year, we reviewed the iTech SolarCharger 906 which we quite liked. Now we have a chance to test out another iTech’s solar-powered products – the SolarVoice 908.
For starters, I was excited to try out a headset that could be solar powered. Living in Southern Cal, I envisioned having a headset that never ran out of juice, although on further reflection, I realize this may not be the case in many other areas with fewer days of sunshine. In those instances though, the provided USB charger would work as a great backup. However, as I tried charging the headset using solar power only, I realized the challenges of doing so – the headset will only charged if turned in certain specific orientations to the light, some of which require odd angles achieved by shifting the position of the over-the-ear plastic piece.
Weight, Size and Comfort
This headset is very light, so it could be easy to forget you’re wearing it; however, for me, it did not stay in place at all. I tried all of the earbud adjusters that came with the set, but none of them kept it firmly tucked in my ear. The plastic over-the-ear adjuster did not help as it was too big to wrap around my ear & stay in place – too often, the headset fell out of my ear completely, which was a major distraction, especially while driving as I found myself fidgeting to find where it fell & try to put it back in place again while in the middle of a call.
To be fair, I am a small person with a proportionately smaller head & ears than normal so I had a few ‘average-sized’ friends try it on to see if the fit was better for them & in general, the fit worked well for most of them.
Construction and Buttons
The buttons on this headset have a good tactile feel and are easy to press and know that you had actually pressed them successfully.
This model is very easy to bluetooth pair with my HTC Touch Pro cell phone & seems to have a good range – the pairing continued to work with the headset in the garage on the lower floor of our house & the phone in the house itself.
The sound quality for this headset is adequate while inside or in very quiet locations. However, the sound quality is poor in the car or any location with a normal level of ambient noise, even while holding the earbud tightly in place. On my end, I received muffled sound & reception, & everyone on the other end kept asking if I was on a speaker phone as my transmissions were coming through muted. I did not detect any static or hissing noise, & the sound quality anywhere with minimal to no noise is considerably better.
Given the sound quality on calls, I declined to test the A2DP feature for streaming audio (ex: music).
I find myself disappointed with this headset. I love the promise of using solar power to charge it (and anything in general), but the model itself has too many flaws for me to use reliably & safely.
(Disclaimer: Gizmos for Geeks received a complimentary review copy of this product.)