Apple has a knack for crafting some killer kit but complementing it with mediocre, overpriced or uninspiring accessories. Witness the recently pulled iPod Hi-Fi speaker system, basic £69 leather iPod case or equally plain iPod socks.
Fortunately, Apple's Bluetooth iPhone headset (not available from the UK Apple Store at time of writing) escapes such a fate, excelling at what it does and besting most of its peers en route.
The headset earns its stripes on its looks alone. Forget putting a blinking piece of plastic near your ear and having to look like a cyborg. Apple's svelte headset is subtle and simple. If Apple's iPod earphones fit in your ears, so too will the Bluetooth headset, whose feather-light weight has enabled Apple to forgo the ear clip typical headsets require.
Apple claims its headset is good for up to 5.5 hours of talk time or 72 hours of standby time. In our tests, three hours of talk time within a 24-hour period was more reasonable expectation. Like the iPhone, the headset uses a sealed battery, so once depleted you'll be talking the traditional way until the next charge.
Apple prices its headset at the high end of the market, putting it in competition with the likes of Jabra's headset, which features impressive ambient noise-reducing technology, or higher-end models from Plantronics, some of which serve double-duty as stereo headphones.
You get no such special features with Apple's headset, however; its claim to fame rests primarily in its size. Call quality is generally clear and in a quiet setting it's hard on the receiving end to discern that a headset is even in use, but no more so than with other quality products.
You get two extras with the headset: a Deluxe Dock, good for charging your iPhone and headset simultaneously, and a travel cable that resembles an ordinary USB docking cable, but includes a port for the Bluetooth headset. The headset itself features a magnetic power connector; it's yet another clever Apple design that makes charging the device hassle-free.