Wearables

Dot claimed to be the world's smallest Bluetooth headset, but is it too small to be useful?

Dot claimed to be the world's ...
The Dot claims the title of "world's smallest Bluetooth headset"
The Dot claims the title of "world's smallest Bluetooth headset"
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The Dot measures just 13.8 by 21 mm
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The Dot measures just 13.8 by 21 mm
A multifunction button allows a user to receive calls or engage with Apple's Siri
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A multifunction button allows a user to receive calls or engage with Apple's Siri
The Dot claims the title of "world's smallest Bluetooth headset"
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The Dot claims the title of "world's smallest Bluetooth headset"
The Dot features dual microphones for active voice cancellation
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The Dot features dual microphones for active voice cancellation
Users can answer calls at the push of a button
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Users can answer calls at the push of a button
The portable inductive charger holds up to six charges
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The portable inductive charger holds up to six charges
Charging the earbud from the portable charger will take approximately 30 minutes
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Charging the earbud from the portable charger will take approximately 30 minutes
The stereo version comes with a special portable charger
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The stereo version comes with a special portable charger
Exploded view of the Dot wireless in-ear headset
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Exploded view of the Dot wireless in-ear headset
The Dot claims the title of "world's smallest Bluetooth headset"
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The Dot claims the title of "world's smallest Bluetooth headset"

A California startup is seeking funding through Kickstarter for Dot, the "world's smallest Bluetooth headset." The device reportedly measures only 13.8 by 21 mm (0.54 by 0.83 in), weighs just 3.5 g (0.12 oz), and smashed its modest funding goal only one hour into the campaign. Its diminutive size, however, comes at the expense of battery life.

The trends in portable electronics seem to point toward our devices becoming more and more portable: desktop computers have moved to laptops and tablets, smartphones are heading for our wrists, and once bulky headphones have now shrunk down to tiny earbuds. But as transistor technology is advancing at an exponential rate and batteries struggle to keep up, is there a danger of the smaller-is-better mania taking over, jumping the gun and getting in the way of good product design?

Take in-ear headphones. They're already pretty small and light, but we've recently seen efforts to make them even smaller, go cable-free and do much more than just throw music down your ears. For example, Olle Lindén's Earin promised crowdfunders the chance to go wireless, while the Dash also included advanced fitness tracking and media storage. And now there's Dot.

The tiny Dot Bluetooth headset is made of aluminum and polycarbonate and is slated to come with three different size inserts (small, medium and large) for different size ears, complete with a portable inductive charger that will let you fully load up on charge for up to six times while you're out and about.

The Dot claims the title of "world's smallest Bluetooth headset"
The Dot claims the title of "world's smallest Bluetooth headset"

Currently at the working prototype stage, the headset will reportedly connect to up to eight devices at once through the energy-saving Bluetooth 4.0 protocol. Its developers say it will also feature a single multifunction button that you can tap to answer a phone call or hold to activate Apple's Siri, given of course that an iPhone is connected.

There are also plans to feature dual microphones for active voice cancellation, LED indicator lights, and it will be sweat resistant for use in the gym. It will be available in a choice of white or black, and both in mono and stereo (two earbuds) versions, the latter featuring a different case that will allow you to charge both buds at the same time.

This feature set is quite attractive, but there is one area where the Dot appears to fall short, and that is battery life. Though the Dash and the Earin promise a minimum of three hours per charge, the Dot will reportedly only work for one hour of listening to music or 90 minutes of talk time. Using the portable charger can extend this time to six and nine hours respectively, but charging the earbuds will take about 30 minutes each time. In other words, it's one hour of listening to music followed by an half hour of charging, six times over.

The portable inductive charger holds up to six charges
The portable inductive charger holds up to six charges

According to the Dot's crowdfunding campaign, the technical details have already been finalized, the developers already have a fully working prototype and, assuming everything goes to plan, they will deliver the Dot by December this year.

At the time of writing, you can pledge US$59 for the mono version and of $79 for the stereo version (which is well below the pledge levels for either the Dash or the Earin campaigns). Shipping will be $8 for anywhere in the USA, and $29 for anywhere else.

You can watch the video below for more information on how you can use the Dot to listen to music, make calls, and shamelessly cheat on your uni exams (though the video's claim that you'll be able to listen to "a week's worth of music on a single charge" seems a tad optimistic).

Although we're perhaps being harsh on the Dot's battery specifications, we should mention in fairness that neither the Dash nor the Earin have come to market yet, meaning their production model battery life claims can't be verified, and could very well be overstated.

An upcoming Gizmag review of the Dot Bluetooth headset should determine whether its battery life is practical enough for everyday use.

Update July 13: It has come to our attention that the crowdfunding campaign for the Dot headset has been suspended by Kickstarter. There doesn't appear to be too much information available at the moment. We'll keep you updated on developments.

Source: So Special Labs

Dot - World's Smallest Bluetooth Earbud

3 comments
Asgard
Looks interesting as an inconspicuous headphone since it also has a microphone. I wonder if one would need to cup their hand a bit and hold it to their ear for the person on the other end to hear. Any idea on that and how long the battery might last if it's just on hold waiting for a call to come through?
Quarlsnarg
Bet Uhura would have loved this! Personally I'll wait for battery technology to catch up. C.
Jayna Sheats
For phone calls it would be great. I don't spend my life talking on my mobile; I just need a simple, comfortable wireless headset for the car or other occasional use. And you could have a pair of the buds, and simply exchange discharged ones for charged.