BlueAnt continues to enlarge its voice-controlled headset family with the BlueAnt Q2, which is the successor to the much-lauded Q1 that it introduced last year. The Q2 is dubbed a "smart" headset that is designed to take advantage of most smartphones (specifically iPhones, Android handsets, and BlackBerrys) with its advanced text-to-speech and voice-control features, but it will work with regular phones, too. In many ways, the Q2 features are similar to the T1, but it is far sleeker in appearance. The BlueAnt Q2 will retail for $129.
When you place the Q1 and the Q2 side by side, the two headsets don't look too much like each other. Measuring around 2.17 inches long by 0.63 inch wide by 0.27 inch thick, the Q2 does have the same dimensions and slim profile as its predecessor, but that's where the similarities end. Instead of a sleek gunmetal exterior, the Q2 has a large piece of mesh plastic that covers most of the front. As we understand it, this acts as a wind guard that protects the headset's two microphones. Also located underneath the mesh is a tiny LED light that glows when the headset is activated.
On the front is a skinny multifunction button, which is different from the Q1's round logo-adorned one. The skinny volume keys are on the right, and the charger jack is on top of the headset. Though all the buttons are very thin, we thought they jutted out enough so they were still easy to find and press by feel. As for how to turn the headset on and off, there's actually a very small slider switch located just behind the charger jack that acts as the power toggle.
The earpiece on the BlueAnt Q2 is similar to the ones on previous Bluetooth headsets. The Q2 comes with a variety of different silicone earbuds to fit your preference; the ones with the stability ear loop can be worn without the plastic ear hook, whereas the ones that don't have this loop do require the ear hook so the headset won't fall off your ear. You can twist the earbud left or right to fit in either the left or right ear. Like with other BlueAnt headsets, we thought the fit was nice and snug, though it does take a bit of maneuvering before you get it right. The Q2 also has different-size earbuds for a more customized fit.
We paired the BlueAnt Q2 with the Apple iPhone 3G and the Samsung Intercept. Once you pair the headset with your phone, it will automatically attempt to download up to 2,000 of your phone's contacts so it will be able to announce the caller's name whenever you get an incoming call from someone on the list. For example, it will announce "Call from Nicole" if Nicole is in our phone book. We found this feature rather useful, but we did wish the announcement of the caller was a little louder and slower so we could catch it easier.
As with all the BlueAnt headsets, you can control most of the headset's features simply by using your voice. Press the multifunction button, and the Q2 will prompt you to "say a command." You can say "Phone commands" to activate voice command/dialing if your phone supports it, "Answer" to answer calls, "Ignore" to reject them, "Redial" for last number redial, and more. If you need help, you can either say, "What can I say?" or "Teach me" and the headset will run you through a few helpful hints. We should note that the Q2 is not completely hands-free as you do need to press the button prior to saying most of the voice commands.