Aside from the occasional headset such as the Tekkeon EzTalker Digital and the Jabra BT800, there aren't too many Bluetooth headsets with an LCD. Since you can't really see the screen when the headset is worn on your ear, we didn't think it made much sense. Yet, the BlueAnt Wireless V12 LCD Bluetooth headset seems to have solved that issue by including a lanyard for wearing it around your neck. Sure, you'll look a little geeky, but you'll actually be able to see the LCD when you receive a call. And in case you prefer to wear it on your ear all the time, there's a vibrating alert feature as well. Aside from the solid feature set of the V12, it also has a decent fit in the ear, plus good sound quality.
The BlueAnt Wireless V12 LCD Bluetooth headset has a rather dull design and is shaped like a small pack of gum, except it's oval. Not only is it bulky at 59.5mm by 19mm by 14mm (25mm with speaker), it also has an uninspired black-and-silver colour scheme. On the upside, it's quite light at 16 grams. On the front of the V12 is the 1.2-inch monochrome LCD and a very tactile multifunction button right above it. The left spine is home to two tiny volume buttons, which while easy to press, are still a bit too small for our tastes. On the back of the headset are the earpiece and an ear loop that can be detached to fit on either ear. The earpiece rested quite comfortably in the ear, and it even comes with two different size ear hooks for small and large ears.
The LCD is, of course, the most useful feature on the V12. Not only does it display caller ID, you also can check the battery status of the headset, check out its volume level, and see if it's connected to a nearby phone. Plus, you are able to see if the vibrating alert is on or not. It also has a scrollable call history of the 10 last used phone numbers. You can dial directly from this list of numbers, and you can erase numbers if you wish. The large LCD holds 12 digits and has an automatic backlight.
Other features include call reject, one-touch redial, call transfer from headset to mobile phone and vice versa, and the capacity to pair up to five devices. As we mentioned before, there's also a very handy vibrating alert feature that lets you know when there are incoming calls. You can turn the alert on or off, and while we certainly like this feature for when the headset is on a lanyard or in your pocket, we strongly recommend turning the alert off when the headset is worn on your ear. A strong rattling buzz going off on the side of your face is not too pleasant.
We paired the BlueAnt Wireless V12 LCD Bluetooth headset with the T-Mobile Sidekick 3 without a hitch. Call quality was pretty good thanks to the headset's ambient noise reduction technology. We could hear our callers quite clearly even when we were in noisy environments. We did suffer some quality loss in windy environments, but it wasn't terrible.
The BlueAnt Wireless V12 LCD Bluetooth headset has a rated talk time of 12 hours and a rated standby time of 15 days.
Editor's note: The T-Mobile Sidekick 3 mentioned in this review was used for testing purposes only and is not currently available in the Australian market.