Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: San Diego, CA, US
Camos BTS-200 bluetooth helmet headset review
Camos BTS-200 bluetooth helmet headset review
I’ve had several Bluetooth devices that I intended to use on my motorcycle for a while; but searching for a right unit turned out to be hard as all lacked some functionality I was looking for in a headset. Last December I purchased the Nolan N-com helmet, hoping to use its unit once it became available but the reviews of that one were not very strong either.
While paying for my service at the BMW dealer I asked what was available in Bluetooth mainly to find out if they sold the new Chatterbox unit I’ve heard of but never seen for sale yet; answer was not but I was recommended the Camos which sounded like a fairly good deal @ $250. They had a demo unit installed so I paired it with my Treo 700WX and tried it out and it seemed OK. So I got one.
When I got the unit home I plugged it in to fully charge (took about 4 hours till the light went out, indicating full charge). The charger plug that goes in the same socket as the head phones/microphone harness is a “micro-USB”, very flimsy and difficult to align and plug in correctly as the socket is in a ½” hole and the plug is only about 3/4” long and tiny.
While it was charging I set out to install the wiring harness under the helmet padding. This is the first thing that made me mad about the Camos.
The harness is very poorly thought out. The unit is designed to be installed on the left side of the helmet. The dongle part (comes out and plugs into the unit) of it is 6” long, the left speaker is on 6”, and the right speaker is about 13.5”.
The way the manual illustrates the routing is over the top of your head. The wires are definitely NOT LONG ENOUGH to go that way. The shortest way to route a wire from left ear to right ear in a large helmet (average) is above the forehead, which adds up to 13.5”, NOT INCLUDING having to be tucked in around the padding and chin straps!
After about an hour I was able to make it fit, with millimeters to spare at best. The only way was to make the dongle come all the way in, leaving only about 1 inch to reach the unit. The junction (split to left, right, mic)then ends up being somewhere ahead of your left temple, pressing through the padding against your forehead (unless you cut up the protective part of your helmet to make it “sink” into it). Then the left speaker runs back along the dongle part to just barely make it past the ear padding into the cavity by your left ear. The right routs in front of forehead under padding and just barely makes it into the right ear padding, making it bulge from the tight wire in one spot.
Anyone with helmet large than LARGE WOULD NOT be able to install the harness without modifying (soldering on) longer wires, at least to the right speaker.
Pairing the unit was fairly easy the first time. Press and hold the – (minus) button for 8 seconds, pair it with your phone (code 0000) and it is done. You can pair second unit by repeating using the + (plus) button.
There is no OFF button, the only thing I think makes it go into stand-by is disconnecting from unit(s) by – (minus) for 4 seconds, that is also how you re-connect, holding – (minus) for 4 seconds.
There are 6 keys on the unit:
Two top ones ( + and -) for pairing, volume up/down).
Two bottom ones, m (master) lines up with + (plus) and r (reset) lines up with – (minus).
Two on a side T (talk) and M (mute)
The keys (and key presses) can’t be felt through gloves.
Each time the unit is re-paired two things happen;
1) to press down on – (minus) naturally requires a thumb support for the unit from bottom, where the RESET is; if that’s pressed, pairing has to be re-done and it takes few minutes, including deleting pairing profiles on some BT devices (I tried Blackberry Curve and Motorola Razr besides the Palm Treo 700wx, only the Curve was able to re-write the pairing profile correctly) Very bad button (Reset) placement.
2) volume gets reset to middle, so it needs to be increased by +(plus) button; to press down on + (plus) naturally requires a thumb support for the unit from bottom, where the MASTER key is; if that’s pressed, “Pairing channel 2 as MASTER” happens according to the manual, but I don’t really know what that means as nothing happened for me.
The M button mutes all.
The T button is supposed to pick up and redial a call. On all 3 phones I was only able to redial the last number, and there was no way of disabling it or using it as a voice-command activation button. Only the Blackberry Curve was able to “answer” a call by pressing the T button, all others had to be picked up on the phone itself, so not hands-free! The redial is very annoying because there is no prompt; it just dials the last number.
ON THE ROAD
The unit inside of my Nolan flip helmet performed OK, but the volume was not sufficient for music/radio listening above 50MPH, much of it could be contributed to the extra wind noise the unit itself creates.
Answering a phone call did not work as it had to be done from the phone itself; T button did not work for me on 3/3 phones tested.
Talking on the phone, by pressing T button and calling the last person dialed only, worked up to about 30MPH before the person could not understand. Above 40MPH I could not understand.
Manual said that “pressing + and – for 6 seconds together from power off” should result in being able to setup microphone sensitivity; since there is no power button and I did not what to do “reset” I did not know when I was in “Power off” mode, from the “un-paired” mode I was not able to get to flashes of LEDs that looked like what the manual described as “Microphone sensitivity adjust mode”.
So after the second day of partial use, I was ready for a regular day test.
The unit was fully charged @ 7am. I paired with my phone that was streaming XM radio. I could hear it and understand up to about 50mph, worked until I got to work after 35 minute ride. I un-paired and put the helmet away for the day. At 5pm I re-paired with the phone streaming XM radio. After about 3 minutes of riding the unit disconnected. I stopped, re-connected all, got back on and 2 minutes later it shut down again, and would not respond to button presses again. It turns out the battery was dead.
So after maybe 40 minutes of operation the battery was drained; the main reason this unit is getting returned.