Nokia BH-903 Stereo Bluetooth Headset

As previously noted, I recently received a Nokia BH-903 stereo bluetooth headset along with the N82. I’ve been testing it quite a bit with the N82 as you might expect and unfortunately the results are quite mixed.

I first caught a glimpse of this at Mobile World Congress and was immediately interested.

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At the time, I was using the N95 and N810 for my media consumption and a stereo bluetooth headset seemed like just the thing. This particular headset is worn like a necklace and includes a dogtag controller for managing connections, calls and playback. The display is easy to read, quite bright and carries a lot of detail (song name, caller ID etc). The BH-903 is very comfortable to wear as well – at least around your neck. As you may have seen, the default ear buds are a very unusual shape:

BH-903 default ear buds

I have no idea who has ears shaped like that, but I had a heck of a time getting the buds to stay in and as a result the volume was really lacking. I finally switched them over to what I discovered to be the standard round shape felt covers from the box. My experience immediately changed for the better and I’ve had no issues since.

The controls on the dogtag let you control your music and take calls very easily. I’ve noticed that the display only receives active song info from the nokia music player (at least not from mystrands). When you make or take a call, music pauses and then resumes when the call ends which happens quite elegantly.

The sound quality is fine. I’d love to say it’s better but I’ve been using a pair a Shure in-ear ear phones for a long time and upgraded to the SE420 model not so long ago. To compare a multi-function device to a single purpose high end one is not totally fair. Let’s just say the Shure experience is vastly superior, but I can’t make or take calls too easily. Call quality is great! I’ve had calls on the train and outside and no one has commented about extra noise or wind. I’ve been able to hear just fine as well … basic boxes to check for a phone call but very important regardless.

Speaking of quality and important details….

Stereo Bluetooth for music remains a work in progress!

It is incredibly frustrating to have the sound cut out and stall (while the music actually continues to play) when you are rocking out. Unfortunately this happens regularly!! I can’t figure out what causes it either which has left me just accepting this as a critical flaw. I have not had any issues on calls – just music so I’m guessing the amount of data transferring between phone and headset just becomes too much every so often.


The BH-903 has great potential and I am continuing to use it even with the audio skips for my commute … for now. I can see going back to the Shure’s (which are in my bag) because they just sound amazing. I don’t usually do that many calls on the train so I can manage the relative inconvenience when it pop’s up.

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6 Replies to “Nokia BH-903 Stereo Bluetooth Headset”

  1. Most commonly it’s the BT radio in the headsets. My Moto HT-820s work better when the device is on the right side of my body, since the radio is on the right ear.

  2. Testing the same headset with my computer, an N82, an E90, and a Z9, I can confirm that it appears Nokia’s A2DP implementation has line-of-sight issues. If I put the N82 or (kinda) the E90 in my back pocket, the sound cuts out. I can walk out of the room with my computer or the Z9 and have no quality loss (within the 30ft Bluetooth range).

  3. I’ve had line of sight / side of body issues with various headsets in the past. The dogtag sits in the middle of chest usually though and the phone is in either a pant or jacket pocket …

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