The Nokia BH-121 is (kinda) just what I’ve (kinda) been looking for
Funny thing about mobile tech: everyone has their own use-cases. Sometimes those are about as diametrically opposed as Cubs fans and reality. For today’s Pocketnow Insider moment, I bring you a conversation I had with Anton D. Nagy. We were having our weekly editorial phone call, and he mentions this thing that Nokia is putting out and he could absolutely care less about. I look at it, and I’m stoked.
Nokia’s BH-121 is something I’ve been looking for for quite a while now. You can read the deets in our news coverage, but basically what it is is a tiny (think iPod nano) Bluetooth receiver that you can plug any headphones into in order to make them Bluetooth headphones. This is kinda a big deal for me because I use headphones everywhere, and I go through them like tic tacs. That in and of itself is a bit of a long story, but suffice it to say, I use more of the cheaper variety because I’m always getting them caught up on things, ripped out of my ears, or other sorts of unpleasantness.
Sound quality is ironically not that important to me. I know there are uber-expensive headphones out there that can virtually transfer you to the recording studio and listen to the music as it was recorded. I’m sure it’s a fantastic experience, but when I’m out riding my bike and huffing and puffing and I can take my pulse by listening to my heartbeat reverberating in my ears, how Metallica sounds on top of all that is not that important to me. Generally when I’m listening to music, it’s about 20 items down the list in priority at that moment. I’m either driving, exercising, working, eating, etc. I don’t disappear into a sound booth with a “back in one album” note on the door for an optimal acoustic experience.
So the moral of the story is, low-end ear buds are on the menu for me.
I should also mention, It would be a bit of a false statement to say I’ve been “looking” for something like this for a long time, because “looking” implies and active pursuit of a device. Mine has definitely been more of the passive side. But I have kept my eyes open for a device exactly like this though. Once this caught my attention, I hit Amazon and “actively” pursued “a device like this”. Turns out there are a bunch of them. Device Availability 1, Laziness 0.
A lot of the devices are similar to Nokia’s offering with a couple of main differences. Bear in mind, I’m just going by the sourced Nokia blog entry here. This is being written with NO hands on time whatsoever – although if Nokia wants to correct that situation, I won’t say no.
First, Nokia’s offering is designed to work with Lumias in that they have their own live tile, you can see the battery level, etc. Ironically there’s a Windows Phone app for them and not (as far as I can tell) any other platform. Take THAT iPhone.
Second, one entry on the description caught my eye: “track its location for those moments when you forget where you left it”. This is interesting to me. I assume it uses Bluetooth to somehow triangulate it’s position on your phone. I doubt it has GPS, but it’d be cool to keep in my bag for that reason alone. “Where’s my bag? Oh, I’ll check my phone.” Granted “bag location” is pretty far down on the “ways to use the BH-121” list. But still.
Third, the device is NFC enabled which means you can simply tap it to your device and it’s ready to roll. I didn’t dive into the specs of other offerings, but I can’t imagine it’s unique to all other offerings out there. Still seems worth mentioning though.
The price tag is a bit on the hefty said at 39 Euro ($53.51 USD). A quick search of Amazon shows a bunch of these devices with an average price of between $25-$35 USD. I’m not positive that the extra features of the app, live tile, and location tracking is worth the extra greenbacks for me, but for Nokia fans out there it might be a no-brainer. I might even pick one up myself after the holidays (I’d say “Hint hint” to my wife here, but she doesn’t read my stuff).
At the end of the day if you’re a wired headphone fan and a Windows Phone fan, and you would like some expanded Bluetooth capability, this is the device for you – both of you. There are cheaper options out there, but whether or not the extra features are worth it to you is another story.
So what do you think of this accessory? Clamoring for one, or are you more in the meh department?