1. Mooncatt's Avatar
    UPDATE: Added review of the newer B550-XT in comment #15. I only covered the differences between it and the B450-XT in this review, so read this initial post first as it mostly applies to the B550-XT as well.

    B450-XT review

    I've been a fan of the Blue Parrot line of headsets for years. As a trucker, noise cancellation and battery life are two of the biggest concerns for me, and no one has been able to come close these headsets in the past. My prior one lasted 4-5 years before finally breaking, so I upgraded to the newest model, the B450-XT.

    My review of the Blue Parrot B450-XT-0323181724b.jpg

    Here's the big picture specs:

    96% noise canceling microphone
    Large ear piece
    24 hour talk time
    HD calling support
    Long range Class 1 Bluetooth device
    Customizable "Parrot Button" with voice commands

    So let's start with performance. In a word, it's great. Blue Parrot headsets are famous for their noise cancellation, and have improved upon it with the B450-XT. To give you an idea of how well it works, I can roll my window down while driving down the interstate, and the person I'm talking to would still hear me clear as day. There may be a slight noise in the background in extra noisy environments like that, but for normal situations the person on the other end would think I'm in a quiet room. You can't truly appreciate it without hearing it first hand, but unfortunately I don't have a way to demonstrate it. If you have this headset, the Blue Parrot app gives you a test function to record and play back for your own demonstration. I will clarify that this only applies to the microphone. It is not a noise canceling headphone, and it only has one ear cup anyway.

    Sound is top notch for a headset. Its speaker is large and loud, so you'll not have any problems listening to a call. With A2DP support, you can also stream audio. Music comes through crisp and clear, with a solid low end and a good overall balance of sound. If you want an even greater audio experience, there is a stereo version with two speakers (keep in mind this wouldn't be advisable if you plan to use it while driving, and likely illegal). Be careful turning up the volume to max, though. When you hit the highest volume setting, it plays a high pitched and very loud beep to let you know. It's actually way too loud in my opinion, to the point of being uncomfortable. Thankfully it's rare I need it that loud due to how effective the ear cup is at blocking ambient noise, and you can get around this by controlling the volume via your phone instead of the headset volume buttons.

    Battery life is also stellar thanks to the large battery, which accounts for the bulk of the headset. I talk on it for a half hour to an hour each day, and I can go just over a week between charges. It should also be noted that their current models use Lipo batteries, and you may want to practice good lithium based charging habits for the best long term use. That means trying to not let it drain all the way and not fully charging it. The good news is it will transmit the battery level to your phone if your phone supports it. Also, one of the voice commands is "Check battery," which will tell you if the battery is low, medium, or high (and say your phone's battery level as well). Charging is via a USB port, so you can power it from the included USB charger or any standard USB charger. I personally would've preferred the older dedicated style charging plug because of how weak micro-USB cables can be, but at least this lets you also update the firmware if needed.

    The range has also improved over the last one I had. This is advertised as a Class 1 Bluetooth device, giving you a range of 300 feet. This is a little deceptive, as you have to pair to a Class 1 device as well to get that sort of range. Phones are not a Class 1 device and you won't likely see that kind of distance. In real world use of my last headset, I would sometimes have trouble using it if my phone was in my pocket opposite the ear piece, and I could only get about 20 feet away before breaking up. With the B450-XT, pocket use is a non-issue, and I can get 50+ feet away before things started to break up.

    My review of the Blue Parrot B450-XT-0323181720-1.jpg

    Comfort is where things start to get questionable. The padding around the ear cup and on the headband are soft and comfortable, but the size of the ear cup leaves a little to be desired. It's designed similar to an "around the ear" cup, but smaller. It actually sits on top of my ear, pressing in on the edges of it.

    My review of the Blue Parrot B450-XT-0323181714-1.jpg

    That in and of itself isn't too bad, but it really becomes an issue when wearing my sunglasses (which is often while driving). Because the cup is pressing in right on the edge of my ear, I can't fit the ear piece of my glasses in right. Most of the time, I have to rest that one on top of the cup padding. This makes things a little more uncomfortable and makes my glasses sit crooked. Not enough to be a deal breaker (after all, it'll be rare I'm using this outside of my vehicles despite looking a bit silly), but noticeable and it does affect extended wear comfort.

    My review of the Blue Parrot B450-XT-0323181716-1.jpg

    Other areas of comfort are good. The headband fits snug without being overly tight. The instructions say you can gently bend it open more if it's too tight, but I didn't feel comfortable enough to risk it due to the plastic. It does allow you to extend the headband if needed, though.

    My review of the Blue Parrot B450-XT-0323181719-01.jpeg

    Microphone placement is a bit of a trade off. On older models, it was attached on the outside of the body and was easy to reach when moving it up or down. This time it's mounted between the headband and ear cup. It looks a little odd, but I think it's functionally better overall. With the old mounting style, it was easy to snag the boom on something and knock it out of adjustment. On this one, the headband protects the boom from accidental snags, but it does take getting use to when you want to move it up or down. The mount itself is also well designed with an easy to move notched hinge to move it up and down. If not for this new mount/hinge design, moving the boom would be a lot more cumbersome.

    The Parrott button is a new feature for me. Out of the box, it's set up for voice commands. These include checking the battery, pairing/connecting, redial, and call back. If you download the Blue Parrot app, you can also set it up for things like walkie talkie mode, speed dial, open an app, and access a second paired device. Voice commands also work independent of the Parrot button, letting you answer or ignore incoming calls without touching a button or your phone. You can also connect it to a computer with the USB port to update the firmware.

    As a total package, this headset is mostly a hit with only a few, but very annoying, misses. When people first see it, it looks almost like something you'd wear working the drive-through at McDonald's. Yes, this isn't going to be the most elegant Bluetooth headset out there. It's big, it's bad, and designed for function over form. These headsets are for people that only want the best call quality, to which the B450-XT excels at. The problem with comfort while wearing glasses is the only persistent issue, and the max volume beep can be worked around. If you think those are deal breakers, then I would still suggest looking at other Blue Parrot headsets. They all have unbeatable call quality, but other models may have a more comfortable design for your tastes.
    B. Diddy and T48 like this.
    03-24-2018 02:14 PM
  2. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Great review! My wife used to use the BlueParrott B250-XT, which also had great noise cancellation, but being a cheaper model, it tended to break more easily. The one you reviewed looks like it's heavier duty.

    If you ever want to branch out and try another brand, give the Plantronics Voyager Legend a try. Also great noise cancellation, and long battery life. But because it's considerably smaller, she tends to lose it easily -- I think she's currently on her 4th or 5th! Places like Groupon Goods often have refurbished models for about $30-40.
    03-24-2018 07:11 PM
  3. Mooncatt's Avatar
    My last one was also the B250-XT, which was the one I mentioned lasting 4-5 years in my review. What finally broke on it was one of the exposed speaker wires. I'm honestly surprised those wires didn't break earlier.

    It's unlikely I'll switch brands any time soon simply because of the performance reputation of Blue Parrots. Go to any truckstop and that's almost the only thing you see drivers wearing. Lol. I wouldn't be opposed to trying out another headset for a review, but I'm not willing to spend that kind of money on something I don't plan to use long term. If someone let me borrow theirs for a few days, then I'd give it a go and post my feedback.
    B. Diddy likes this.
    03-24-2018 07:19 PM
  4. T48's Avatar
    Great review & know this is an old post. But am looking at buying something similar for a Xmas gift for someone who also drives a lot. There is a new 550 out *I think*? Since you have had several more months with the 450, would you still recommend it today?

    I need to research the differences on their site a little later this eve. Just have to go walk my dog between the rain switching over to snow. Bleh. Btw, hope you are not driving in the midwest today, lots of wind & blizzard warnings through tomorrow morning.
    Mooncatt likes this.
    11-25-2018 08:18 PM
  5. Mooncatt's Avatar
    Great review & know this is an old post. But am looking at buying something similar for a Xmas gift for someone who also drives a lot. There is a new 550 out *I think*? Since you have had several more months with the 450, would you still recommend it today?

    I need to research the differences on their site a little later this eve. Just have to go walk my dog between the rain switching over to snow. Bleh. Btw, hope you are not driving in the midwest today, lots of wind & blizzard warnings through tomorrow morning.
    Good question! Most everything I said in my initial review still holds true and everything is still functioning like new. And yes, the annoying parts are still there. Overall, I have no intentions of giving this up anytime soon.

    One thing I have noticed is the padding around the ear piece is still in prefect condition. On my last one, the leatheret (SP? But basically their faux leather) cover would've been dried out and starting to crack by now. You can buy refresher kits if needed, which let you replace those covers and the microphone covers.

    Regarding the 550, I haven't looked into it much because I'm still happy with the 450. From what I have seen, I think the biggest difference is it's advertised as the first completely voice activated headset, allowing you to perform all functions without touching any buttons. The 450 can almost do that now, so I wouldn't call it an Earth shattering improvement. I did just visit their product page at https://www.blueparrott.com/on-the-r...arrott-b550-xt I was surprised to see not only the IP54 rating, but they will also warranty for water and dust damage (not even "water resistant" phone manufacturers with higher IP ratings offer that). Aside from that, it seems functionally identical to the 450.

    Right now it looks like the 450 is going between $130-150. The 550 is backordered on Blue Parrot's site, but it seems to be going for $200 there and on Amazon. If I were buying one for myself, I can't justify the extra $50-70 for the 550. That is almost a rip off for that kind of price difference on a near identical product. An extra $20 would be doable in my book. On the other hand if your friend would be using this a lot outside, including rain and dusty conditions, that may justify the added piece of mind of the water and dust damage warranty. I don't have time to research it right now, but I would want to know what the fine print says about that type of warranty claim before using that as the reason for buying the 550. And then of course there's the gifting aspect of it. If you're one that likes to buy the best you can for gifts, then that could understandably lean you to the 550. If your friend is the practical type like me, I'd be perfectly happy to receive the 450. That's just part of the decision making process you'll have to figure out on your own.

    Thankfully I haven't hit any real snow yet. I'm based in Wisconsin, so it's going to be inevitable, but today's mess stayed south of me and it was my weekend off anyway.
    T48 likes this.
    11-25-2018 09:40 PM
  6. mobrules's Avatar
    Great review. I absolutely love my 450. So much so my wife tells me I look dumb wearing it at home around the house sometimes. But I do it anyways. I also wouldn't justify the extra cost for the 550. This one does everything I want it to and more I'm sure. Anyways thank you for the great review.


    And yea I got caught in the snow storm in the Midwest. Tried to leave early but that didn't work out to well.
    T48 and Mooncatt like this.
    11-25-2018 10:02 PM
  7. Mooncatt's Avatar
    I absolutely love my 450. So much so my wife tells me I look dumb wearing it at home around the house sometimes. But I do it anyways.
    Blue Parrot is almost cultish like that. Those that aren't aware of the brand or its features see it and think you look goofy. Those that have used it know it's the unmistakable look of quality. Lol
    mobrules likes this.
    11-25-2018 11:26 PM
  8. mark9121's Avatar
    Does the 450 give you answer/ignore for incoming calls? The 550 will respond to hello blueparrot as well. The only thing you cannot do that I've seen so far is disconnect a call (with voice) but that would be next to impossible. Lots of people like me with a BP just say hang up already please. lol. The only thing I have never liked about any siongle-ear blueparrot headset is the left-over on the other side. I have to do interesting things to keep my ear and head from getting sore. I'm not a truck driver but I use a power wheelchair for mobility and my hands are very important to me. I need someone to knit something for the 550. Sigh. It works best with I wear a stocking cap and put any of the blueparrots over that.
    12-20-2018 08:22 AM
  9. Mooncatt's Avatar
    Does the 450 give you answer/ignore for incoming calls?
    Yes, you can answer a call by voice command. I don't remember for sure if it'll let you ignore (I usually hit the button to answer), but I think that's an option too.
    12-20-2018 09:22 AM
  10. mobrules's Avatar
    So I have to share that blue parrot customer service is pretty good.
    I had a few issues with my headset losing volume randomly. Called them and they sent me a headset without any hassles. Very pleasant to talk to also. I was impressed.
    Mooncatt likes this.
    12-30-2018 09:29 PM
  11. MacWildstar's Avatar
    Know its been over a year since this original post, but Oh well. Better late than never.

    I got the BlueParrot B250 XTS in April 2016. Just now found out there is an updater for these things. Then after messing around with it trying to get it to work for 3 days, found out the updater does not support the B250 series.

    I don't use mine much now, but it still works great. Wanted to update it though. Don't like those huge ear pieces on the newer models.

    I installed that updater on both Win 7 and Win 10 systems and each one said there was nothing connected. And the win 10 OS install is less than 2 months old with all updates applied. So its pretty clear (even though they do not make it clear on their website) that the Updater will ot work with the B250 series.

    And although I am not a trucker, I did use this a lot when I was driving on the road traveling.
    11-01-2019 06:52 AM
  12. Mooncatt's Avatar
    Know its been over a year since this original post, but Oh well. Better late than never.

    I got the BlueParrot B250 XTS in April 2016. Just now found out there is an updater for these things. Then after messing around with it trying to get it to work for 3 days, found out the updater does not support the B250 series.

    I don't use mine much now, but it still works great. Wanted to update it though. Don't like those huge ear pieces on the newer models.

    I installed that updater on both Win 7 and Win 10 systems and each one said there was nothing connected. And the win 10 OS install is less than 2 months old with all updates applied. So its pretty clear (even though they do not make it clear on their website) that the Updater will ot work with the B250 series.

    And although I am not a trucker, I did use this a lot when I was driving on the road traveling.
    I know there's two versions of the 250. One with the traditional power plug, and the re-released version with the micro-USB port. Functionally, the headsets are identical, and the port change was just to allow for a universal connection and reduce cable clutter. There was never anything that could be updated in either version, and that headset was never advertised as being able to be updated. Also, if you look on the updater page, it lists which headsets it's compatible with.

    https://www.blueparrott.com/software...arrott-updater

    Being able to be updated has become a marketing gimmick. Rarely have I seen devices like this receive an update. In those few times one does come through, it's minor and doesn't change the user experience enough to care (if at all). So ask yourself, what is it you think could be updated on a simple device like this, and why you should do it's. There really isn't much that can be changed to begin with, and rarely are there any bugs.

    And while I'm here, I'll give a long term use update. Basically, nothing's changed. Other than the expected scuffs and such on the outside from use, everything else in my review is still the same. It's holding up extremely well, and the battery is still performing phenomenal. Even the padding is still in "like new" condition.
    11-01-2019 08:14 AM
  13. MacWildstar's Avatar
    Thanks for that response. yeah I finally saw that it didn't support the 250, and I have the USB one.. it still works great.. Just thought there might be an update to it seeing how everything is going to windows 10 platform now, (more or less) and I find myself having to upgrade a lot of my electronics due to the fact that their original programs and stuff do not have windows 10 drivers.. 3 cameras, 2 dash cams, 2 web cams, the entire Computer (except case and power supply), New smart phone, and other stuff.. I mean this headset is only 3 years old..

    But your comment about the upgrade being a gimmic.. why does that not surprise me? I mean what more can they change on these?

    Ok, thanks!
    11-01-2019 11:39 AM
  14. Mooncatt's Avatar
    Just an update that Blue Parrot is releasing a "refresh" version of the 450-XT soon. It includes updated padding and ear cup, IP54 rating, conversion from micro-USB to a USB-C connector, and the ability to update wirelessly via the mobile app.

    One of my main complaints of the headset was ear cup comfort when wearing glasses. I can't tell if that will be affected one way or the other, so I have no opinion on that. The IP rating may be useful to some, but most of my use is in my vehicles. It has seen some drizzle with no issues, so I think this rating is not a huge benefit. Switching to USB C is nice, but it's not really a problem having that cable tucked away until I need it. Updating via the app is a big plus... If updates are your thing. In the time I've owned mine, I think I checked for updates once and there wasn't one available. If one is available now, I'm not missing it.

    Now for the kicker. They announced a $170 MSRP. The current version is still available for $110-120 at stores. The updates on the refreshed version are nice, but not game changing enough to justify a $50+ premium. You can watch the release video below.

    05-01-2020 09:08 AM
  15. Mooncatt's Avatar
    I wanted to add an update of sorts to this review. My B450-XT is still going strong, save for the cosmetic blemishes expected to happen over time on something like this. Over 2 years old and the battery life seems to be almost unchanged, and the padding is in excellent shape. But the bigger reason for this post is I just received the newest version, the B550-XT. In the interest of full disclosure, I won this headset through a recent Facebook contest Blue Parrot was holding. I didn't pay anything for it, but this was also not given to me specifically for a review or with any strings attached. As far as the company is concerned, I'm just a random lucky dude.

    My review of the Blue Parrot B450-XT-1007202253_hdr.jpeg

    To cut right to it, there isn't much to say about the B550-XT that I haven't already said about its predecessor. It has some mostly minor differences that I will focus on here.

    For starters, and to my great joy, they fixed that blasted maximum volume alert that blows out your ear drums on the B450-XT. Now all of the audible alerts are the same volume, and have been turned down a bit. Audio quality in general is about the same, though with a slightly shrill treble. It's not enough to be distracting, but was noticeable.

    My review of the Blue Parrot B450-XT-1007202255.jpeg

    The ear cup got a slight redesign, as you can see on the left in the photo. The wider top makes that more comfortable, and also slightly improves comfort when wearing sun glasses (another complaint of the B450-XT). The open end of the head band is now has a thin padding, but I didn't feel a difference between it and the bare plastic of the B450-XT. Another different is the main headband padding is narrower and more stiff than the B450-XT, which makes it more noticeable and slightly less comfortable. It's not a big difference, and I only realized it when trying both on back to back. The trade-off makes overall comfort a wash, to being slightly in favor of the B550-XT.

    My review of the Blue Parrot B450-XT-1007202258a.jpeg

    The Parrot Button is now squarish instead of round, which makes it easier to press the wrong button when going for it or the main MFB/power button. The MFB now has a raised texture to it, but isn't very distinguishing in practice.

    Range seems slightly improved. I can get further away from my phone before the sound starts to break up. I can now have the phone in my left pocket, the headset on the right side of my head, and not worry about my body blocking the signal (apparently Bluetooth is heavily affected by water, and thus your own body).

    Lastly, you now get IP54 protection against dust and water intrusion. Personally, I think that's a bit gimmicky and my non-rated headsets have lasted years. So I wouldn't buy this one just to get the rating. And while they refreshed the B450-XT to switch to USB C and wireless updates, the B550-XT is back to micro-USB and no wireless updates. Since updates don't seem to be a big deal, losing those are a trivial matter.

    Retail on the B550-XT is around $200. The refreshed B450-XT, which is still available, is about $50 less, and they have design refreshed versions of earlier models for cheaper still. With that in mind, I say it's only a marginally better headset that isn't much more than a spec bump, and honestly not worth the extra cost. If you are in the market, I would stick with the B450-XT or even the refreshed (not refurbished, but the redesigned model with USB) B250-XT and save your money. Or do like I did and follow them on Facebook so you can try to win one of your own in their contests. No, they didn't pay me to say that, that was just me suggesting a way for you to score free stuff.
    mobrules likes this.
    10-08-2020 12:57 AM

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