Our picks for most people
The microphone of Huawei Honor AM07 can effectively collect your sound to make the sound loud enough that your caller can hear you clearly. Whoever on the other end had never complained about the call quality. Also, it can stay securely and comfortably on your ears and let you even forget its existence. Last but not least, you can easily connect it with your devices, and the Bluetooth connectivity is stable.
If our pick is temporally sold out, or if you prefer a classic style, Plantronics M165 is a reliable choice. It has clear call quality, provides up to 6-hour talk time and 11-day standby time, and delivers a decent look. The call quality of Plantronics M165 II does not differ a lot from that of Huawei Honor AM07, but their appearances are quite different. Plantronics M165 II looks like a traditional business Bluetooth headset more.
If you need to answer calls in noisy environments frequently but still desire a clear call, you can consider Jabra Stealth. It offers clear call and great Noise Blackout technology. The dual-microphone design allows it to effectively reduce background noise to provide great call quality even in noisy environments. The stylish slim design was awarded Red Dot Product Design Award, makes it distinguished from other common wireless headsets and catches our eyes.
Our picks for ultimate compact size
If you do not want a headset to burden you, this ultimate compact size earbud NetEase Bluetooth Mono Headset can definitely satisfy you. Although it is very tiny, it can fit your ears snugly and securely without falling out. We tested many earbuds in such tiny size, and their call quality cannot compare to that of NetEase Bluetooth Mono Headset.
If you want a super portable Bluetooth headset, Guoer J15 is the one out there.It is super tiny, but it can still be worn stably on your ears without falling out. It is also pretty portable, and we believe you can put it in any pocket. Guoer J15 could deliver 5.5-hour talk time, which shocked us so much because it had such a long battery life with just a coin size.
Who should get this
If you always talk on your phone, you may find that holding a phone for a long time could cause neck pain and arm stiffness. Worst of all, if you are on calls when driving, that would pose a huge safety risk. Well, a Bluetooth headset can better get you out of such a pickle.
When you need to take calls frequently, holding your phone with one hand will bring much inconvenience to us.
And yup, those wired headphones also make sense, but they are not that convenient, as the wire may get tangled, which makes it hard to untangle every time you take it out, or that pesky cable may get caught on things. So, buying a Bluetooth headset is an absolutely neat solution.
If you already have a Bluetooth headset, you probably do not need a new one. However, if you do not satisfy with its functions, or if your callers usually complain that you sound like a robot or your voice is squeaking, then you can upgrade your headset to gain clearer sound quality, greater noise cancelling and a more convenient way of charging than your previous one.
If you usually listen to music on the phone and occasionally answer the calls, you probably like stereo Bluetooth headphones with a microphone. You can check out our guide The Best Over-Ear Bluetooth Headphones for more information.
If you want to immerse in the music when doing sports and expect clear call quality, you can check out our guide The Best Wireless Earbuds (In-Ear Headphones).
How we picked
In order to complete this guide, we considered more than 50 Bluetooth headsets on shopping platforms such as Taobao, JD, AliExpress, Amazon, Noon.com, and Souq.com selected 36 of them to test. In the process, according to the different ways of wearing, we divided the Bluetooth mono headsets into three different types: Ear-hook headset, shark-fin headset, and super-mini earbud.
All our tested Bluetooth mono headsets.
Many headphone manufacturers released their true wireless earbuds since Apple released the AirPods. These earbuds would have been our pick for this category, but we found that the technologies of the true wireless earbuds have not matured yet and that even the earbuds of famous brands have a lot of flaws that we cannot forgive such as Bluetooth latency and synchronization between the two earbuds. There are some relatively perfect true wireless earbuds on the market, but these earbuds are so expensive because of their high technical costs. Therefore, we narrowed our range to single-ear Bluetooth headsets.
How we tested
Based on the following criteria, we tested these Bluetooth mono headsets.
We consider that a good business Bluetooth headset needs to deliver excellent call quality anywhere and anytime because you never want your callers to let you repeat what you have said over and over again. Moreover, a great headset can not only clearly collect and transfer your voice to the other end of the line but also effectively reduce background and ambient noises, providing you a great call quality in various environments.
In our tests, we found that an iPhone can connect to three Bluetooth headphones at the same time. In order to test the call quality of different headsets, we connected three of the Bluetooth headsets we tested to the same iPhone simultaneously and then used them to answer calls.
In this process, the tester on the other end of the line did not know which headset was used. We recorded and compared through this blind test and filtered out the headset with better call quality. We repeated these tests in three environments: a quiet office, a noisy street, and an office with a lot human noise, to test each headset’s ability of noise cancellation in different situations.
We recorded and compared through this blind test and filtered out the headset with better call quality.
Comfort is another crucial factor that needs to be considered. If you need to wear it for a long time in the car or office to answer calls frequently, the Bluetooth headset needs to be comfortable enough to wear or even let you forget its existence. Each person has different ear sizes and ear canals, so a good headset should come with a variety of sizes of ear tips and wing tips so that you can find a shape that feels natural and secure.
To test the comfort of each headset, we tried each pair of the ear tips and wing tips to find the best match for ourselves. (our colleagues have different sizes of ear canals, including large, small and medium.) Then, we shake our hands and jogged to see whether the headsets can stay securely on our ears. Finally, according to the test results, we ranked the headsets for comfort and stability.
Left: large ear canal, Middle: medium ear canal, Right: small ear canal
According to the compact sizes of most these headsets, you should not expect that they can give you exceptional long playbacks, but we require that they should last at least a full workday and deliver an at least 5-hour talk time. Some headphones, including our picks, make a fuss on charge. Some of them come with their own charging plugs, and some of them come with a charging case for additional battery life. However, the first thing we consider is whether the battery life of the headset itself is long enough.
To test battery life, we let two phones to connect the headsets and then record how long they can last on the call at 50% volume. Please note that battery can drain differently on different volumes.
To test battery life, we let two phones to connect the headsets and then record how long they can last on the call at 50% volume.
We also tested the Bluetooth performance of each headset. According to functions of the Bluetooth headsets, we considered that we needed to test the following Bluetooth performances.
First, we tested the connectivity range in an open area. We measured the ranges by wearing them when listening to music and walking away from the players until the music appeared intermittent. These distances were the normal connectivity ranges of the headsets.
We measured the Bluetooth connectivity range of the headsets.
Second, we tested Bluetooth latency. We needed to check whether the video could perfectly match the sound without any delay. This seemed to be simple and basic, but a lot of headsets failed in this test.
We check whether the video could perfectly match the sound without any delay.
Last but not least, we tested whether it is easy to switch between devices. After paring successfully, we powered on the Bluetooth headsets again to test whether they could automatically connect to the phone and answer calls. It is a crucial function because you may miss important calls easily without it.
We searched for headsets with great controls, so you could answer the phone while adjusting the volume easily and conveniently. Although it is not necessary, it brings extra points for headsets with easy controls.
We want to find the mono headsets that can adjust the volume and answer calls.
In terms of charging, many headsets on the market need to use Micro-USB cables to charge. However, some new headsets come with charging cases or built-in charging ports, which are great and convenient. Thus, you do not need to worry about forgetting to bring a Micro-USB cable or losing it, and you can charge the headsets freely on the go.
Some new headsets come with charging cases or build-in charging ports.
Our picks for most people
Our Pick: Huawei Honor AM07
We choose Huawei Honor AM07 as our pick for most people since it is versatile and useful. It ranks among the best headsets we have tested in terms of sound quality and comfort. As for battery life, it can deliver 5-hour talk time, which allows you to call longer. The built-in USB-C charging port let you plug it into your phone or a charger whenever the battery is dying.
Natural clear call quality
Call quality is the most important metric for a great Bluetooth headset. In our tests, the call quality of Huawei Honor AM07 was undoubtedly excellent. In our test, its incoming sound was clear and loud enough, and its outgoing sound was solid and natural that liked your real voice. Especially if you often take calls in the noisy environment, Huawei Honor AM07 can provide clear call quality for you.
Especially if you often take calls in the noisy environment, Huawei Honor AM07 can provide clear call quality for you.
Stable and cozy fit
Wearing comfort is also essential. Only if a Bluetooth headset can comfortably and securely fit your ear, you will desire to wear it. In our tests, Huawei Honor AM07 could fit different ears of different sizes. It could stay comfortably and stably on our ears without feeling any existence.
Wearing Huawei Honor AM07
Convenient and stable Bluetooth connectivity
Huawei Honor AM07 supports Bluetooth 4.1 technology. Its Bluetooth connectivity is so convenient that you can long press the knob button to quickly pair it with your phone. What’s more, you can immediately connect it to your devices after powering it on. You can easily spin the switch to adjust the volume while answering a call.
Built-in charging port included, quite surprise!
When it comes to long phone calls, this headset can deliver 5-hour talk time, which can meet the call demand at least for a workday. If the battery is draining, you can charge it by its built-in USB-C charging port. In the long-term using test, we found this function is pretty useful since you could plug it into the charging port of your phone to fuel it anytime.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Also great: Plantronics M165
Plantronics M165 is a great substitute for Huawei Honor AM07. As we mentioned before, if you prefer a tradition-and-classic look for a Bluetooth headset, Plantronics M165 II is great for you because of the also outstanding call quality as Huawei Honor AM07.
Plantronics M165 with other Bluetooth mono headsets.
Clear call quality
The built-in two microphones can effectively reduce the background noises and collect your voice clearly. Every caller said the call was clear and was surprised that the voice came from this Bluetooth headphone, instead of the built-in microphone. In our test, Plantronics M165 sounded crisp and clear in quiet offices. However, in some noisy environments, Plantronics M165 sounded slightly worse than the Huawei AM07.
Testing the Plantronics M165 in the office
Super-long battery life and Bluetooth range
The battery life of the Plantronics M165 is also distinguished. In our test, the talk time was 6 hours and 45 minutes, and the standby time was up to 10 days which ranked the highest in all the headsets we tested. It only takes 1.5 hours to get a full charge. Thus, if you need to heavily use a headset, this headset will work for you.
In addition, its Bluetooth connectivity range also impressed us. In our test, the signal was not losing until the distance between the headset and the phone was 15 meters and longer. So, when you are in a certain distance away from your phone, the signal is still stable so that you can maintain a pleasant phone call.
The price of Plantronics M165 in other regions is close to the Huawei honor AM07, but it appears that they are not available in any e-commerce platform in the Middle East. So, if you like this model too and want to buy it, please leave a message in the comment. We will consider to launch this product on DIGSHOP.com at an affordable price.
Upgraded Pick: Jabra Stealth
The Jabra Stealth‘s noise-cancelling feature on the microphone was among the best three Bluetooth mono headsets we tested, and its sound quality was close to that of iPhones. It has two pairing way: Bluetooth and NFC, allowing it to pair with your phone quickly. After paring, you can use the Jabra ASSIST APP to manage or adjust the settings easily as well. In the end, its slim and stylish design was awarded the Red Dot Product Design Award, making it shine among the traditional mono Bluetooth headsets.
Jabra Stealth allows you to stay focused on your driving.
Top-notch sound quality
The call quality of Jabra Stealth is among the best of the headsets we tested and close enough to the sound quality of an iPhone’ s microphone. Its microphone can reproduce our vocals pretty naturally rather than compress our vocals to sound like a robot as some other regular headsets do.
How does it compare with the brilliant Plantronics Voyager Edge?
Most important, its noise-cancelling performance is comparable to that of the benchmark headset Plantronics Voyager Edge. No matter in the noisy streets or in a noisy office, its noise-cancelling feature could make your caller not hear the ambient noise on our side at all. Although its noise cancelling effect of vocals is slightly crappier than that of Plantronics Voyager Edge, there is not a big difference.
No matter in the noisy streets or in a noisy office, its noise-cancelling feature could make your caller not hear the ambient noise on our side at all.
Jabra Stealth also comes with great battery life. Up to 6-hour talk time is long enough to meet our demands of long calls. It provides almost the same battery life as the Plantronics Voyager Edge does, excluding the extra battery life provided by the charging case of the Plantronics Voyager Edge.
To sum up, with a price under 150 AED, Jabra Stealth is way more appealing to us than Plantronics Voyager Edge with a price 304.99 AED. (On Amazon, Plantronics Voyager Edge is about 20 dollars more expensive than the Jabra Stealth.) When compared with Jabra Stealth, Plantronics Voyager Edge only has slightly better noise-cancelling performance of vocals and comes with a large charging case, which delivers you extra battery life but is not that portable.
It also supports NFC pairing
Jabra Stealth supports Bluetooth 4.0 technology, and it is compatible with NFC pairing. It could pair with a phone fast and easily. When powering on, it could quickly and automatically connect with a phone that we had paired successfully before. However, in our test, many other Jabra headsets with different prices could not achieve this. Fortunately, Jabra Stealth did not let us down.
Our picks for ultimate compact size
Our Pick: NetEase Bluetooth Mono Headset
If you do not want a headset to burden you, or if you do not care so much about great audio quality or noise-cancelling effect, this ultimate compact size earbud NetEase Bluetooth Mono Headset can definitely satisfy you. Its call quality just a little bit worse than that of Huawei Honor AM07 but it does not mean it is bad. Although it is very tiny, it comes with great wearing comfort.
Although it is very tiny, it comes with great wearing comfort.
Give you a pleasant phone call
NetEase Bluetooth Mono Headset sounds good, and we are happy to answer calls on it. In the tests of call quality, NetEase Bluetooth Mono Headset had more background noise than Huawei Honor AM07 and Plantronics M165 under the same atmosphere. In the office, their call qualities were similar. We tested many earbuds in such tiny size, and their call quality cannot compare to that of NetEase Bluetooth Mono Headset.
The best bang for your buck
As for battery life, 4.5-hour talk time is enough to meet our daily-use demand. Besides it can provide reliable Bluetooth connection performance. In our tests, the calls did not break off until the distance was over 10 meters. Although it did not have any advantage over the higher-priced Bluetooth headset, its call quality, battery life, and wearing comfort exceeded those of Bluetooth headset in the same price range.
How does it compare with the popular Xiaomi Bluetooth Headset Basic?
We noticed that Xiaomi Bluetooth Headset Basic has large sales on Souq.com, and its price is very close to NetEase Bluetooth Mono Headset. So, we also bought it back to test. We first looked forward to such a design of Xiaomi, because the microphone would come closer to our mouth due to the long-strip shape (in theory), which gets better result in sound reception. However, the test told us the truth. The sound quality of the microphone has great differences relative to NetEase. More fatally, when we took calls using Xiaomi, we heard obvious noises, which did not happen to NetEase. Therefore, after our testing, NetEase won the competition.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
In this kind of portable headsets, NetEase has the best performance in call quality, which ensures that your calls stay clear. But compared with the Huawei AM07, its clarity is obviously inferior, especially in somewhere noise. If you often have phone calls in some very noisy environment, Huawei is your best-in-class choice.
Budget Pick: Guoer J15
If you want a super portable Bluetooth headset, Guoer J15 is the one out there. Guoer is a company specializing in research and development of audio devices, electronic components, and mobile phone accessories in Shenzhen, China. To be honest, it is not that famous in China, so we initially did not expect Guoer J15 too much. However, it did surprise us.
A coin with GUOER J15.
Although it's super tiny, it is still quite functional.
It is super tiny, but it can still be worn stably on our ears without falling out. It is also pretty portable, and we believe you can put it in any pocket. Guoer J15 could deliver 5.5-hour talk time, which shocked us so much because it had such a long battery life with just a coin size. It also has great Bluetooth performance, and it can switch between connected devices automatically. This astonished us because many Bluetooth headsets of famous brands cannot achieve this. Last but not least, the price of 39.99 AED is pretty low.
GUOER J15 can fit different ears snugly and securely.
This tiny stuff has clear call quality as well
The audio quality of Guoer J15 is pretty clear. We tested many this kind of earbuds, and their sounds were small and had a lot of noise. Only the sound of the Guoer J15 was clear enough without such annoying noise. As we mentioned before, if you need an ultimate compact Bluetooth headset, then Guoer J15 will be appealing to you. Not only it is petite and very portable, but also it can fit different ears snugly and securely. However, you should notice where you have put it before because it is too small to find.
Products to avoid
After testing, we found that you should avoid purchasing the traditional ear-hook Bluetooth mono headset. It is undeniable that this design has its benefits. First, it ensures great wearing stability and attaches the mono firmly on your ears. Second, it is large enough in size. So, theoretically, it has more space for a larger battery to provide longer battery life. However, with the improvement of design and the development of technology, headphones today do not need ear-hook design’s help to ensure stable fit and longer battery life.
The traditional ear-hook Bluetooth mono headsetis difficult to put on and take off as well as not so comfortable to wear.
For in-ear headphones, just two factors are enough to make you wear them stably — comfortable in-ear design and shark fins. Thus, they could also be designed in small-enough size. As for the battery life, the current batteries can provide very long usage time even they’re small. In these two points, in-ear headphones can totally replace the ear-hook ones. Thus, we think you don’t need to endure this traditional ear-hook type anymore that is difficult to put on and take off as well as not so comfortable to wear.
What to look forward to
Since Apple introduced AirPods, many headphone brands have launched a lot of true wireless Bluetooth headphones, such as B&O E8, Bose SoundSport Free, Sony WF-1000X, Jabra Elite 65t, etc. They are the final form of wireless Bluetooth earbuds, allowing users to truly get rid of the constrain of the cables. This well solves the problem that Apple EarPods has always been colored by how loosely they sat in my ear. However, because the technologies of true wireless earbuds have not matured, these earbuds will appear more or less problems such as a not good microphone, Bluetooth latency, short battery life and so on.
Therefore, we are learning, observing and understanding the products on the market to find out whether they are worth buying now. We plan to test them soon to see whether they exist some flaws and whether we can tolerate these flaws in actual usage. In the end, we look forward to finding out affordable true wireless earbuds with decent overall performance.
Plantroincs Voyager Edge: It has the best noise-cancelling effect of the Bluetooth headset we tested, and it provides great audio quality. It also comes with a charging case to deliver you up to 16-hour additional battery life. The headset itself delivers 6-hour playback which is the same as Jabra Stealth.
However, when comparing the 304.99 AED Plantronics Voyager Edge with the 138.99 AED Jabra Stealth, the noise cancellation of Jabra Stealth is good enough. Unless you are willing to pay nearly 150 AED more for a charging case and slightly better noise cancellation, you can save your bulks. (On Amazon, Plantronics Voyager Edge is about 20 dollars more expensive than the Jabra Stealteh.)
Jabra boost: When compared with our picks, the volume of Jabra boost was not high enough. You can hear clearly in a quiet office, but you will find it tough to hear your caller in noisy environments. We could not figure out why it could not automatically connect to the devices that you have paired successfully, so we needed to connect it to the devices manually. We tried to solve this problem by upgrading the settings on the app Jabra ASSIST. Disappointedly, Jabra boost even could not be compatible with the Jabra ASSIST.
Plantronics M180: Plantronics M180 is the upgrade version of M165. However, except for a smaller size, their performances were almost the same. We had no reason to spend $140 more just because of a slightly smaller size.
Aigo X6: It was uncomfortable to wear and the sound quality of the microphone was terrible so that the callers could not hear me clearly. It could not be our pick, though it had a charging case to deliver additional battery life.
Amoi S15: The audio quality is horrible. The sound is intermittent, so you cannot hear your caller continuously. Our ultra-compact pick Guoer J15 does better than it.
Jabra Talk: The call quality was clear. However, we are frustrated about its way of wearing. The ear-hook design makes it uneasy to wear and makes you uncomfortable when wearing it for a long time.
Xiaomi Bluetooth Mono Headset: We expected it a lot. Unfortunately, its audio quality was not as good as NetEase Bluetooth Mono Headset.
Meizu BH01: The call quality could not satisfy us. The sound was squeaking and intermittent.
QCY mini1: This is also a tiny bean-like earbud. Although it came with a charging case, its call quality was much worse than Guoer J15.
IKF M1: The same problems as many headsets did, the microphone made us sounds like a robot, and the Bluetooth connectivity was very unstable, too. NetEase Bluetooth Mono Headset could satisfy us by its great call quality in this price range.
Havit I11: It is too heavy to wear comfortably. We felt burdened when wearing it, which was enough to let us give it up.
QCY J11: The headset got different feedbacks on different people, and some people said that they could not wear them stably. Most importantly, the maximum volume was still too low, and it also sounded intermittent.
QCY Q12: Its call quality was modestly above the average level of the call quality of bean-like earbuds, but the sound was not as clear as the Guoer J15.
RIKYA V8: It came with an ear-hook design, but the ear hook was so large that it would press your ear and make you feel uncomfortable. In addition, it was also uneasy to wear.
QCY Q30: In our tests, the sound quality of its microphone was not clear enough, and the maximum volume was still too low.
QCY Q26: The maximum volume was still too low. In addition, the sound was unclear and squeaking.
Nuobixing M8: The call quality is a nightmare and the sound is intermittent, which make us frustrated.
Nuobixing D2: It shared the same problems with Nuobixing M8 and did not get much improvement. Though its sound isn’t intermittent, the audio quality is still quite horrible. And the sound is so small that I barely hear what the caller said in the other end.
GUOER J12: Its appearance design is similar to GUOER J15 we recommend. Besides, it comes with a magnetic charging dock, which is quite convenient. But compared with GUOER J15, its audio quality is not satisfactory, and the sound is relatively small.
LIKE V8: We should avoid buying this product, because it is not only way too inconvenient to put on and take off, but also uncomfortable when wearing.