At first glance the Pulsar 590A seems to be a chunky stereo headset which sits on a rather stylish stand, but looks a bit over-designed.
After a fair amount of use, this impression remains, but the headgear has shown itself to be quite adaptable and a pretty good performer, with a range of uses both inside and outside the home.
The secret to its versatility is that the Pulsar 590A is a Bluetooth stereo headset which you can pair directly with Bluetooth devices, but which is also supplied with a dongle – the ‘Universal Adaptor’ – that can be used to turn non-Bluetooth devices into Bluetooth ones. It comes with a 3.5mm jacked cable which can be used with many headphone sockets.
The bundle is rounded off by a USB charge cable (capable of charging either the headset or the Universal Adaptor but not both at once), and a hard case for carrying everything around. You also get a mains power cable that can cope with charging both bits at once. Don’t lose either this or the USB charge cable as the connectors on the Universal Adaptor and headset are proprietary.
The headset feels pretty comfortable to wear – much more so, in fact, than some others we have tried, and it fits snugly even on smaller heads. The right ear section has a range of controls for volume, track forward and back, muting and taking voice calls. These are large and easy to find without needing to take the headset off and look for them, which is just as well.
It is when used with a mobile phone that the headset is at its most dubious. We had no trouble pairing it with either of the handsets we tried, but felt a bit odd wearing its bulk while walking down the street, and even odder pulling out its retractable microphone to make voice calls. It did work, though, loud and clear for both us and the recipients of our test calls.
The Universal Adaptor is a bit large, and this may be the Pulsar 590A’s biggest drawback for use on the move. Its 3.5mm wired link to a headset jack is pretty short at 12cm so it needs to sit quite close to whatever it is turning into a Bluetooth-enabled piece of kit.
This means that your cute little MP3 player, with annoying wire between it and your headset, can finally lose its tether, but only at the expense of gaining an object that’s 52mm in diameter and 15mm thick to bulk out its smallness in your pocket. If you wear your player round your neck, stick to wired headphones.
Best of all we liked using the kit indoors with our own stereo and TV. We had to resort to a headphones jack size converter in some cases and it is a shame Plantronics has not bundled one, but we found the arrangement a lot easier to set up and move around the house than other wireless headsets we’ve tried before.
Sound quality was pretty good and provided we stayed within about ten metres of the Universal Adaptor we got loud and clear audio. In the end, housebound uses may be where the Pulsar 590A shines brightest.
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