If there was one thing I would have sworn you could never interest me in trying, it was yet another Bluetooth earpiece. There are about a zillion of these available (well, 45,322 according to Amazon), and for the most part my view has always been that if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all. Stick them in your ear and get tinny, one-eared sound that is hopeless for music but does the job for hands-free phone calls when you don’t have access to an installed setup in your car.
But I had to admit that the Schatzii Bullet is rather smaller and more stylish than most, with a cute charging system that goes some way toward making up for the somewhat limited battery-life that inevitably accompanies such a small device. It seemed worth a try …
What you see in the photo above, with my iPhone SE for scale, is the earpiece in its charging tube.
The earpiece itself, shown below, measures just 2cm long by 1.5cm wide. The whole unit sits inside your ear, with nothing dangling down or sitting on your ear. That fact, coupled to the amazingly light 3.5g weight, makes it far more comfortable than the typical Bluetooth earpiece out there.
The downside, of course, is a limited battery-life. Although it’s good for 80 hours on standby, you only get around 90 minutes of talk-time. For someone like a cab driver, who is on the phone for much of the day, this would be wildly impractical. But for many of us, an hour is actually enough to make it through the day.
And when the battery runs out, that’s not game over if you don’t need continuous use. Because that charging tube is a portable power pack that can recharge the earpiece up to three times. The earpiece just snaps magnetically into place, and recharges in around an hour. So if you have a one-hour commute, for example, you could use it all the way in, snap it into the charging tube in your pocket and then use it all the way home again.
The whole unit – earpiece plus power pack – measures less than 6.5cm long by 1.5cm wide, so slips easily into any pocket.
You get an extremely discreet red LED while it’s charging, which goes out when it’s fully-charged. You recharge the power pack itself via a supplied micro-USB lead, hidden beneath a cap on the other end of the tube.
I’m pleased to say that the cap remains tethered to the tube to prevent it from getting lost, and snaps nicely back into place afterwards with a reassuring click.
At the business end, the earpiece also snaps very firmly into place via a strong magnet. I didn’t feel there was any risk of it coming loose in my pocket, and indeed it remained in place both in a pocket and in a bag.
Sound quality is exactly what you’d expect from a tiny Bluetooth earpiece: distinctly average. Nobody would be using a single earpiece for music, and volume is limited, but it’s adequate for phone calls in most environments, including a car. It wouldn’t cope with very noisy places, but very few earpieces do. It does, though, have built-in noise-reduction, and I could hear well enough in a train station.
Which brings us to the biggest drawback: the price. In a market where you can get a decent Bluetooth headset for under $30 (see the example we recently reviewed), and there are plenty out there for $10-20, then $126.49 is one heck of a price for a single earpiece. That will buy you some half-decent music-quality Bluetooth headphones.
But you can’t really beat the Bullet when it comes to portability, especially when you take into account the very neat charging system. The stylishness is also a good match for Apple products. I think there are those who will find this hard to resist – and it’s small and light enough that I’ve kept it in my bag as a ‘just in case’ option for those times when I go out without headphones. You can also get similar rebadged versions for significantly less.
The Schatzii BULLET Bluetooth Earpiece with Charging Capsule is $126.49 from Mobile Fun. There are rebadged versions available on Amazon from around $70, but check the details as finishes vary and not all have the charging tube cap.