The advent of Bluetooth 1.2 with the wireless music profiles is a boon to music lovers. We now have various options and price ranges to choose from in units that combine both wireless headphone and headset usage. Motorola takes this one step further and offers an optional wired version as well that puts these headphones to the front of the pack.
Out of the Box
The Motorola's are honking big headphones. These are studio style headphones, also known as DJ headphones. A thick band comes over your head; two ear muffs cover your ears. Compared to most anything out there today, the word clunky comes to mind. However, on closer inspection, you see that the clunky factor all has a purpose. The foam completely surrounds your ear, comfortable and soft. It helps block out unnecessary noise and creates a small auditory cave that enhances the sound. The headband on top also has cushioned foam and instead of a one size doesn't fit all model, the earpieces can slide down to accommodate a range of head sizes. The earpieces themselves are suspended and also pivot in four different directions. These are snug, but comfortable and adjustable.
These are Bluetooth wireless headphones that support the two profiles you need for wireless musical enjoyment Youll need a Bluetooth 1.1 device for voice calls only (not a recommended solution) and 1.2 with A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) for music. I'm using the Treo 750 which supports both profiles. The AVRCP (Audio Video Remote Control Profile) is needed for track and volume control. On the face of the right earpiece is a single button with the usual symbols for play, pause and stop (stop requires a longer press). One great feature is the track select control. There is a large circular dial that you twist forward to go forward one track and back once to go to the beginning of the track or twice to go back to the previous song.
On the left ear is a similar jog control for volume. There is also your call control button. These are a Bluetooth headset as well as a headphone. There is a microphone in the right earpiece and they work in the usual way. You can answer, hang up and such using the multi-function call control button and the caller is heard in both ears. As usual, not a good idea (or legal one at that) to use these while driving.
The S805s can be charged using the lightweight AC adapter with folding tines. The charging end is a mini USB which means you can charge directly off your computer with the appropriate cable. Like its little sibling, the HT 820 the headphones include a 3.5mm hard cable to plug into a laptop, iPod, or even a Treo with appropriate 2.5 to 3.5mm adapter. Surprisingly my package seemed to be missing this component and I grabbed the one from the previous headphones I tested and used it. I'm assuming the oversight was a random glitch in manufacture and packaging.
Finally, the headphones include a wonderful hard case. The earpieces swivel a full 90 degrees so they can lie flush with the headband and create a thinner case than you'd expect. It's criminal when someone sells you a fragile, expensive device and doesn't include a case. From headphones to Treos to what have you: if it's expensive, portable, and fragile the manufacturer should include an appropriate case. Oh, and the case has a small elastic pocket on the outside for the cable, adapter or anything else you might not want bunking in with your headphones.
The Quick Start Guide is simple and easy to follow. Step one, charge the headphones (2-3 hours). Step 2 pair by starting the Bluetooth wizard on the Treo and then hold down the multi-function button on the headphones for six seconds. You have the option to choose a handsfree or wireless headset mode, or both.
One great feature is that you can turn off the indicator lights by pressing both buttons. I find the constant blinking blue annoying. The headphones are rated for a stunning 17 hours of music and 20 hours of talk time.
So how do these suckers sound? As a wired solution, they're the best headphones I've ever used. Listening to a Clapton guitar solo is stunning. I especially enjoy the high end and hearing the ting of a high hat clearly gives me the tingles. The mids are completely clear so the voices are sharp and crisp. The basses achieve a wonderful richness as I feel the foam cushions give them space to breathe. The stereo separation is fantastic. The separation helps to create a clear sense of space and individuate the sounds. Most music, especially live performance is mixed as if you were looking at a stage with the lead vocalist center, the drummer in back, and the various guitars, lead and bass, on the sides so good separation clarifies the instruments and creates space for the vocal.
Using these wirelessly is also a treat. Although degraded from the wired solution sounding a bit fuzzy, wireless sounds good. Certainly, these are better than the other two headsets Ive used including the Nokia's that come in at the same price. However, those have a much more streamlined design.
As a wireless headset the Motorolas are just functional. This was a surprise, though considering their design, understandable. The microphone is a fair ways from your mouth. The foam ear cushions can emphasize bassy sounds in a way that is excellent for music but turns out to be not so good for a voice call. The result, calls sound very bassy. I'm also living in a small apartment with bare floors, so your experience will vary (and probably improve) if you have a lot of carpeting. I've also had a bit of trouble with call control, though I imagine it's just me getting use to the transfer of calls and such. The manual does say if you turn off Bluetooth, you may need to re-pair and Ive found myself re-pairing a bit more than Id expect. I cant fault the headphones though, I think the device can be a bit quirky at times. That said, I picked up the headsets this morning and had a simple call and now Im listening to music without a hitch.
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