micke-midlife on December 20th, 2009

25122009257It’s been a while since we last time laid our hands on new running gear. Now one crossed our ways again. A headset, the Nokia BH-504. It has decent sound quality with background noise reduction, looks good, you can fold it to make it really small when travelling, it connects through Bluetooth and has the standard music and call controls. So the package looks attractive. But of course the main question is: can you run with it?

To make it brief, yes you can and actually quite well!

The first thing is the shape of the headset and how tight it sits on your head. When running (properly) the head and upper body does an up and down movement. When running not so properly your head might go sideways as well or do something funny such as Paula Radcliff’s towards the end of any race. Anyway, the headset bow catches that up and down movement really well and the ear cups stay on your ears.

Secondly, what I figured out is that cables aren’t so good on the run. In the first place of course a cabled headset, it ties the headset to the device. If you want to take a quick photo or need to have it in your hand to take lap times, the cables will definitely be a nuisance. Further, also a Bluetooth headset with cables to the ear buds has some downsides. They fly around your neck and can be annoying. They transport noise to your ear along their surface when they rub against the shirts neck opening, a jacket or so. Moreover cables can’t keep the ear buds in place. If ear buds move for some reason - e.g. too big ears or the headband moved them - they needs to fumbled in place again. The BH-504 is sturdy, has its own shape and nothing wobbles around when you’re out there on the run.

Thirdly, I prefer ear cups sitting on my ears rather than in-ear buds. When the ears are closed by in-ear buds the natural audial recognition of the immediate surrounding is changed. You hear a lot more through your body and not throught the closed ears. The BH-504 headset doesn’t go as far regarding closing your ears, I still hear the little princess nagging, “daddy, let’s play lego now”

Finally, this headset gives some street cred to a 30+ year old runner in the streets of Helsinki.

For all you techies here the specs. A quick price check online revealed around €60, £50 and $80. The sound quality is good. Didn’t make a direct comparison to my Sennheisers. But from my feel I’d say the Senn HD 580 still provides better nuances and details. It’s in another price league, too. And the Senn PXC 300 provides better noise reduction, but sound quality is on par with this Nokia BH-504. When it comes to running, haven’t had a better headset.

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