Nokia Bluetooth Stereo Headset BH-505: Review

I was asked to write a review of this Nokia Bluetooth Headset, which is advertised as offering convenient on-the-go access to music and calls for those with an active lifestyle. I’ve got two questions: is it any good? and, is it of use to snowboarders?

Note that this review is based on use with an iPhone.

The basics

Getting connected. This was easy. I turned it on, switched on bluetooth on the phone and then allowed the connection. Easy.

Sound quality. The sound for listening to music is pretty good actually, certainly better than I was expecting, although this is the first bluetooth music setup I’ve tried. If I was being critical I’d say the base is a slight weakness, but overall, the sound quality is a plus.

Cutting out external noise. The in-ear buds are pretty snug and as such, physically keep out a lot of background noise. The headset has “advanced digital signal processing” technology, designed to cut out external noise, such as wind. It’s hard to know how much the DSP contributes, but it’s fair to say that external noise is blocked out well.

Physical controls. There are two main buttons: play/pause and answer/end. They’re a little fiddley at first. There’s too much resistence on them to just push in with your finger; you end up pushing the bud further into your ear and that’s not comfortable. I found that I need to use my thumb and fore-finger. It’s not a big compaint, it just makes it a little more “fiddley” to pause or answer a call…

Taking a call. To me, this was the simple task that the device had to do well, and it works nicely. If you’re listening to music and you get a call it’s one touch and then you’re connected. The caller’s voice sounds clear, your voice is clear (apparently) and you can adjust the volume. Nice one. When the call ends you just press play to set the music away again…

Device dependant features. The functionality of the headset is constrained by the device that it’s paired with. For example, with the iPhone I can easily adjust the volume of the track, but couldn’t get it to skip forward to the next song.

All pretty good.

Using it actively on the move

So how active can you be?

My first comment here is the lack of adjustability to create a custom fit. The headset is light-weight and the buds fit nicely into my ears; it’s comfortable to wear sitting down or even walking. But the (small amount) of weight for the unit is at the back of the band, so it’s doesn’t work well when running for example – it just wobbles up and down. That’s a no-go.

Headgear compatibility. The headset doesn’t fit with a snowboard helmet and sliding a beanie over the top doesn’t work. Add in your goggles and there’s little chance anyone is going to use this on the hill.

With these two factors, for anything like snowboarding or skateboarding, it’s just not practical.

There are certain activities, those where the head is relatively stable I suppose, in which the headset will sit still and be comfortable. Cycling sprung to mind straight away. I could keep my phone in the pack, listen to music with no wires getting in the way and if I get a call I can answer it while cycling – hands free! But there are a couple of problems here. Most cyclists wear a helmet and, it’s not always safe to listen to music while riding along.

The gym perhaps?

Conclusion

The concept is good: wireless access to your music and calls meaning that you can be “hands free”. What’s more the sound quality is good and external noise is blocked out. It does this bit well.

I’m struggling to think of an active pursuit that would really benefit from the hands-free access, given the limitations of the headset’s physical shape.

It may be more appealing to those regularly “on the move” – perhaps taking calls walking in the city, stood up on a busy train or tube – listen to decent music with easy access to calls…


26 Comments

  • Reply August 5, 2010

    hm65

    I tend to agree fully.A minor addition though on the flip sides.After wrapping around the neck it is not possible to sit back and relax as the units’ comes in the way between the neck and the couch.Would’ve been better if it is shaped so that the wrap around fits snugly in the neck.

  • Reply September 15, 2010

    Khattab

    I’ve been using this for more than 3 months now. It can be used just for listening to music; it is not for making calls at all: on phone, or over internet! And now I’m disappointed because my piece now works with only the left ear, the right speaker doesn’t work, and I’m going to call the retail company today for that..

  • Reply October 23, 2010

    Gavin

    @hm65, yeah I’d agree with that, it can get in the way at the back of the head when sitting back.
    @khattab, hope you get that sorted out!

    Cheers, Gavin

  • Reply October 26, 2010

    Skin Moisturizers :

    bluetooth headsets are very nice and very comfortable because you don’t have those pesky wires~~:

  • Reply November 5, 2010

    Jeremy

    Hi,
    Have anyone encountered issue with this headset during and after doing a run with it?
    The problem I am having with this BH-505 headset is that it stops by itself and now I am not able to charge the headset after more that 4 days of trying.

    Need help!!!

  • Reply November 5, 2010

    Gavin

    Hey Jeremy,

    I haven’t had that problem with the headset, but I haven’t used them for running, after doing the review…

    Anyone else help out?

    Cheers, Gavin

  • Reply November 11, 2010

    shoaıb

    the 3rd class head phone ever seen … specıally wırlees ıs not workıng good ….so plz my frıends dont buy ıt….thıs ısmy fırst day of usıng thıs hphone….ı pay lot of mony but myall mony ıs ………………..plz dont buy ıt save ur mony

  • Reply December 8, 2010

    Bobby

    Hi Shoaib,
    First of all, its not a 3rd class headset and it doesn’t cost so much of bucks.
    Last of all, stop bullshitting here and learn some better English.

  • Reply December 15, 2010

    Giri

    Hi Bobby/Friends, i have encountered the same problem like Jeremy. I don’t know what to do. I just bought the other day. Can anybody help? I was running with it on a Tread mill. It was working fine the whole of my Gym Hrs. I realized that it is not charging, it is blinking with a RED color But not charging. It is also not switching on, obviously when it is not charged it wont be able to switch on. Any help would be highly appreciated.

  • Reply December 18, 2010

    Jeremy

    Hi Giri, I have also encountered the same problem as not able to start up my headphone and reported my problem Nokia support center and waiting for a replacement set.

  • Reply December 31, 2010

    subho121293

    m using da headphone for a week!da sound quality is great!specialy da bass!controlz r awesome!
    i can giy a solutn regarding comfort!
    da headphone hangz behind our neck r8?u just push it upwardz until it fitz 2 our back of our head!it givz comfort nd lukz cul!giv a try!

  • Reply January 4, 2011

    sudden

    will spectacles be a prob?

  • Reply January 4, 2011

    Gavin

    Hey sudden,

    I haven’t tried glasses – but I can check later tonight and update… Cheers, Gavin

  • Reply January 16, 2011

    Warren Edge

    Glasses can pose a problem if you have fames with big chunky arms, like mine :(, the ear buds will pop out if u put them over the arms, if u put them under it feels like someone is compressing your mellon. I found the easiest solution is to just use them with contact’s, plus if u are going to use these for working out ur not going to be wearing ur glasses, nothing worse than sweat covered frames and lens’s, makes u look like a dirty old perv coming out of a porn book shop lol.

    Overall I am happy with mine, if it keeps on sliding down, I found adding some small sticky back foam blocks to the back of the headset worked for me, now it fits my head. Nokia should have make it adjustable like the sony product. The only downside of the adjustable’s is they snap, so possibly that’s the reason why.

  • Reply February 19, 2011

    Loinsworth Sankarsingh

    The sound quality on this headset is superb. The best way to keep the set stable whileu r in motion is to wear a snug fitting hat or cap and tuck the set under it. Push the set high up off yr neck if u want to lean back. Those r easy. Cd someone tell me why I hear ambient noise thru the set. Even worse, my mytouch 4g plays ringtones for my callers and announces the identity of the caller. My A2DP equipped nokia headset doesnt do any of this. When my phone rings all I hear is the t-mobile jingle. On every incoming call. I never know who is calling when the phone rings. Help?

  • Reply February 24, 2011

    Gavin

    Hey Loinsworth – thanks for the input. I can’t help too much with those issues, anyone else? I haven’t used the set too much since the review!
    Cheers, Gavin

  • Reply May 8, 2011

    dave p

    I purchased a pair of these (but in the black version) form allthingswireless.co.uk. I have to say they are a great device. They are fully compatible with the iPhone providing you have the latest firmware. All the controls seen to work perfectly. I have not experienced any problems with the bluetooth disconnecting either. I had a pair of Motorola S9’s for years and the Nokia bh505 is better in every way (battery life, sound quality, general ease of use).

  • Reply June 15, 2011

    John

    I have NOISE issues with the. Lots of NOISE when I receive or make a phone call!!!

  • Reply July 25, 2011

    tarun

    dows it work with all bluetooth mobiles…i have lg gd 510

  • Reply July 26, 2011

    Gavin

    Hey Tarun,

    not totally sure… however this may help:
    http://www.mobilefun.co.uk/nokia-bh-505-stereo-bluetooth-headset-p21474.htm

    The compatibility tab on that page lists the LG GD510 Pop – is that the same one?

    Good luck,
    Gavin

  • Reply August 14, 2011

    apus1234

    Hi Gavin !!
    can this headset be used with a laptop too or its utility is just limited to the phone? plz lemme know.

  • Reply August 17, 2011

    Gavin

    Hey apus,

    Really sorry but I don’t know the answer to that. My guess would be no, but I’m not sure. Sorry!

  • it was purchased almost 4 months back ,. the worst gadget i have ever seen.
    i use it while walking , with Nike+gps . it stops its own . Shows red light while charging and then dosent start
    No synchronization with iphone many a time .

    I am impressed with sound quality . so i purchased another one . same problem with the second device.
    in four months most of the time both remain in nokia authorized service center . A service center which remains
    studded with customers ( with their problems with nokia ) .

    hopeless device
    never purchase it

    i liked it stylish look and sound quality and no wire at all
    but i am going for sony ericsson MW 600

  • Reply February 26, 2012

    Aniruddha

    BH-505 is a defective device. when you r going to make a call, you will get your surround sound through this device. It’s a disturbing feature.

  • Reply August 4, 2012

    Akila

    Is one of the worst device..Firts time it gets connected then again u switch off and then on again u cant hear any sound in call.only music it plays.seriously hopelss..when i bought for my galaxyS showroom people blamed me saying fault in my phone but then I made them to test in their own mobile on/off twice then it stops working.since it was in warranty they gave me another replacement and the same problem persists and i went back to showroom they blamed my mobile but again even in their mobile phones it was not connecting 2nd time..please dont buy….I then bought a smart sports bluetooth- SB-07 headset.its far better in connectivity and everythng,,its very comfortable and we can lean in couch also since its made of small fibre behind…please do not buy Nokia BH-505.

  • Reply September 6, 2012

    NILABHRA

    for the comfort ability issue, if the device is plugged with some big in ear buds, then the problem will be resolved almost 95% for those who want to use this headset just on the go, not for running.. but the physical layout of the device does not support properly the other small size buds.. but using the big buds, u ll get better grooving sound reducing the sharp treble effect generally nokia uses in every headset…

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