Argard M10 Bluetooth Headset

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INTRODUCTION

A new company called
Argard is now running for the title of the world’s
smallest bluetooth headset with their M10 model.
While this headset certainly is small, its most
impressive feature is its stunning look. The round
silver metallic body sits beautifully on a
triangular A-shaped dock and charging station. But how does it perform as a Bluetooth headset? Read on for the details!


WHAT’S HOT

The first thing you’ll notice about the
Argard M10 is the intriguing and over-the-top
packaging design which compliments the design of the
device itself. Even the manual includes velum sheets
inside the cover. My first thoughts were that it
must have cost a fortune to produce this packaging.

(all images link to higher resolution)


The box is surrounded by an opaque
plastic sleeve and the bottom of the box has an
angled
corner cut out of it.


The M10 is encased in custom cut
foam to fit the box. You also see a nice half-sphere
plastic package containing the extra earpieces. The
top piece of foam lifts out to reveal smaller boxes
that include the manual and AC adapter.

Bluetooth Headset
Our Rating
Talk Time | Standby (hours)
Street Price
Bluetrek Metal
5 | 180
$50
Jabra BT8010
10 | 300
$70
BlueAnt Z9i
5.5 | 200
$70
Aliph Jawbone 2
4 | 192
$119
iqua BHS-303
6 | 150
$35
Gennum nx6000
6 | 75
$110
10 | 300
$75
5 | 150
$80
5.5 | 200
$70
4 | 75
$50
6 | 120
$110
9 | 250
$40
12 | 360
$75
3 | 100
$120
6 | 300
$45
3.5-10 | 80
$80
7 | 180
$50
4 | 250
$40
5 | 120
$60
6 | 300
$80
6 | 300
$60
30 | 700
$40
15 | 300
$80
7 | 300
$80
6 | 300
$55
7 | 100
$115
5 | 250
$40
2 | 100
$250
8 | 1000
$25
unrated
4 | 200
$40


SETUP

The process of pairing
the M10 with your phone will vary between
manufacturers. Once you’ve charged the battery, you have to put the M10
into pairing mode by holding down the talk button until the LED light
blinks red and blue. Then you’re ready to initiate a pairing on your
phone. The PIN number for the M10 is 0000.


PRODUCT FEATURES

The M10 is a Bluetooth 1.2 Class 2 device.
It has one large circular button at
the top and two smaller circular buttons on one end.
The smaller buttons control the volume for the
headset while the larger button is for
answering/ending calls, toggling the power status,
and initiating bluetooth pairing mode.


    The large talk/end button is easy
to press while the headset is in your ear. There’s
also rubber footers on the sides to help you grip it
while pressing buttons. I’d recommend holding the
sides of the headset while pressing the main talk
button since pushing it straight against your ear
canal could be painful.


    Here you can see a size comparison
between the Argard M10, Bluespoon 5G, and

Bluespoon AX
. It’s a close call, but the
Bluespoon 5G is still the smallest at 30 mm by 17 mm
compared to the M10’s 31.5 mm by 22 mm.



The crevasse surrounding the main
button is where you’ll see the glow of the status
LEDs.


The silver plastic A-shaped
charging dock looks great on your desk.
Unfortunately this is not an automobile-friendly
charger.


Here you see the charging dock
with the Qtek 8500 smartphone as a size comparison.

    The ear mounting system on the M10
is just a rubber ear plug. There’s no loop or spring
to hold it in place, which means it actually has to
go into your ear canal. This will block out all
external sound which will make it easier to hear
your callers, but impossible to hear anything else
out of that ear. Also, you have to make sure you
have a tight fit because a strong wind can easily
loosen the headset and let it fall out. Also notice
that the volume buttons are practically sitting next
to the pinea which makes them a bit difficult to
access sometimes.

 



HELP SUPPORT

The Argard M10 comes with
a little paper manual and that’s about it for
support. The
website
doesn’t really have any more information
about support or service. The most you’ll find is a
contact form.


SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

You need a
Bluetooth enabled phone, PDA, or Computer with the Headset or Handsfree
profiles in order to use the Argard M10.   


BUGS AND WISHES


My biggest gripe with this headset is that in order
to give it a secure fit, it has to completely block
your ear canal

.
This makes wearing it while driving or doing other
hands-free things uncomfortable since you can only
hear other sounds out of the non-blocked ear. I much
prefer Nextlink’s soft-spring ear-mounting system.


Another problem is where the volume buttons are
located when the headset is in your ear. They’re
right up against the inside of your outter ear (pinea).
That means you have to move the headset forward
while it’s in your ear canal in order to access the
volume buttons.


The audio quality is what you might expect from a
headset so small.. not excellent, but certainly
usable. Your mileage may vary, especially if you
keep your phone within line-of-sight with the
headset (which will improve the quality). Also a
phone with a more powerful bluetooth radio (the i-mate
JAMin for example) will help. In terms of audio
quality on the other end, the microphone does quite
well as I have not had any complaints regarding my
voice quality.


PURCHASING


The Argard M10 is not available to the public just
yet, but it’s estimated to be available for about
$120 presumably through online retailers. Argard tells us that this company is to sell the product very soon. They can also be contacted via email.


PROS

  • Small and
    light
    Bluetooth headset
  • Beautiful
    design
  • Beautiful
    docking station


CONS

  • Volume
    buttons are obscured by pinea
  • Non-removable battery
  • No
    car-charger
  • Blocks
    external sound
  • May be
    uncomfortable for people who are afraid of things
    going into their ear canal
Value
Ease
of Use
Features

Overall

What
do these ratings mean
?



OVERALL IMPRESSION

While it’s not quite as small as
Nextlink’s Bluespoon 5G, the Argard M10 is still
quite small. The charging dock is much prettier and
easier than having to replace and recharge batteries
at inopportune times, but it’s only a matter of time
before I get caught with a dead battery in the M10
and the charger is at home on the desk looking
pretty.


If you don’t make too many long phone calls during
the day and are home every night to visit the
charging dock, the M10 could work very nicely for
you. While I absolutely love the looks, I think the
practicality/usability of the design requires more
thought. A good Bluetooth headset needs to
comfortably stay in your ear, the buttons need to be
easy to press, it has to be small/lightweight… AND
it has to look pretty.




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About The Author
Adam Z. Lein
Adam has had interests in combining technology with art since his first use of a Koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently has a day job as a graphic designer, photographer, systems administrator and web developer at a small design firm in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. He has been reviewing and writing about smartphones for Pocketnow.com since they first appeared on the market in 2002.Read more about Adam Lein!