So I thought it was time to try out the latest generation of Bluetooth headsets, especially since — if Apple’s latest releases are anything to go by — we won’t have a choice anytime soon. Unless you want to try this clever hack, that is*
Ashley Chloe is a fashion tech start-up base in San Francisco that creates fashionable wearables, and the Helix Cuff is their first flagship product. It’s a Bluetooth headset that slots into a magnetic bracelet, providing a sleek and stylish way to carry your headphones around.
When not in use, the connecting cord wraps into a groove in the wrist cuff, while the headphones slip into a small cache covered by a mirror-polished stainless steel cap and wireless receiver slot on the other side. It takes a few tries to get the hang of it, but once you do it takes only a few seconds to put your headset in the cuff.
“Originally, the marriage of fashion and functional design did not exist to create a storage element for headphones,” said Mika Nenonen, chief designer of the Helix Cuff.
To tackle that problem, founder and CEO Angela Pan assembled a team of top designers and engineers from Nokia, Google/Nest and GoPro, and launched a crowdfunding campaign via Kickstarter. They raised a 250% funding goal (over 260,000) from 2000 supporters in 150 countries, and launched a consumer version of the Helix Cuff in September of this year.
Their award-winning design is unisex and comes in a variety of colors and finishes (white, black, and bright red with metallic embellishments in 18K plated-gold, champagne gold, or silver aluminum). It retails for $199 — or $299 for the gold-plated version.
The Helix allows you to connect up to two devices at once so, for example, you can listen to streaming media content on your laptop or tablet, while still being able to take hands-free calls on your phone. The headset’s battery lasts about 3 hours in use and 200 hours on standby.
But as cool as it is to test-drive the latest fashion wearables straight out of San Francisco (yes, I love my job, although it doesn’t inspire me to dance in the street like the protagonist of this video), what really is. What sells me is the fact that my in-laws – both in their 60s and not easily impressed by gadgets – “stolen” it.
The headset worked really well with both of their phones—which weren’t exactly the latest models—and they loved the fact that they could listen to their music, audiobooks, and radio plays without engaging in endless cables.
His only criticism was that the cord was a bit short for the headphones, but I explained that this was probably because it was designed to hold the microphone relatively close to your mouth.
Then I reassured them that it was unlikely that a microphone would be used to spy on them (but, again…) they are definitely not Siri users (and to be honest neither am I) But for fans of that sort of thing, the Helix Cuff is voice-command enabled.