LTB Q-Bean Unismozcar - September 3, 2007
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I decided to pop into an open channel in TeamSpeak and see how the Q-Bean (mic located at the top of the device) matched up against my Plantronics X30. I did notice that I had to adjust my voice activation level more toward whisper, due to the fact that the Q-Bean was hanging loosely around my neck. The audio from the earphones was exceptional. I was able to clearly understand others in the channel, but again, the proximity of the microphone from my mouth proved to strain its reception. I felt far more comfortable with the X30 because it kept my microphone exactly in the position I had set it. Thus, giving my voice more clarity and less fluctuation. I could achieve the same results from the Q-Bean, but it required me to hold it inches from my mouth. This was something I felt shouldn't be necessary when operating a wireless microphone.
I did this test in conjuction with the Media Playback test. After watching a couple of episodes of my favorite Showtime series Weeds, it was hard to say which headphones were more comfortable. That's because neither were uncomfortable, but it came down to which was more cumbersome or awkward. I wore the Q-Bean with the neck strap attached, and after a couple of minutes, I hardly noticed that it was there. Except for the fact that in a dark room, the LED on the Q-Bean (flashes while paired and working) made the slightest glow in my peripheral vision. This wasn't the most annoying thing ever, but it seems like LTB forgot I was wearing this around my neck. I gave the Sennheisers the edge because of their compact design and lack of flashing LED.
For this test I played the same track through iTunes and walked along a identical path through my house and outside. This is the only test where I felt the Q-Bean fell short of the competition. It might be contributed to the fact that the Sennheisers have a greater range (100m), but the Q-Bean had difficulty holding the signal the second I was out of the line of sight of the transmitter. The Sennheisers suffered the same issue, but kept a better signal for longer. The Q-Bean is rated to 30 feet, or 100 feet in the line of sight, and I was able to recieve a signal in excess of that limit. However, when an object came between me and the transmitter, I noticed slight digital feedback or garbling. The majority of the occurences happened while moving, and when I stopped momentarily, the signal improved. But when I returned to motion, the feedback started right back up. I have no doubt that if I had never broken the line of sight that I could indeed recieve a clear signal up to 100 feet. But whose home has a 100 foot room? Not many, and thus the rating for this category suffered.
The initial charging of the Q-Bean as per the manual's specification is 4 hours. When the USB charge cable is inserted into the USB port, the LED on the Q-Bean becomes steady red. When it has reached its capacity, the LED will no longer be lit. When the LED finally turned off on the Q-Bean I was testing, it had taken the Q-bean 4 hours and 10 minutes to complete its initial charge. As it states on the back of the box, the Q-Bean's Lithium Polymer battery supports a continuous use of up to 8 hours. Upon testing the Q-Bean through many hours of entertainment, it finally gave out at 7 hours and 30 minutes. After attempting to turn it back on, it quickly shut off again and it was obvious that it required a recharge. I timed the recharge and found that it took 2 hours and 20 minutes, not that bad considering you get 8 hours from each recharge.