The more I use Bluetooth headsets, the more I realize that a dedicated on/off switch is a necessity. Combining power functions with a multifunction button simply gets confusing. Im never quite sure if Im holding the button down long enough. Then there are times when I think Im turning the unit on and Im actually turning it off. The Motorola H800 solves that with a lovely, elegant feature. Press the multifunction button and the lower portion gracefully glides into position. A quick snap sends it back. There is even a small switch to lock the slider back in place to make sure an accidental press of the button doesnt send it sliding out again unwanted.
Despite all of Motorolas claims of stylish design, at its core, this is still a very basic earpiece with an earloop. The unit ships with three different sizes; so achieving a comfortable fit is a breeze. The earloops are of a fairly common design soft rubber on the inside with a harder plastic outer rim. To install a new earhook, gently snap it off the two pin hinges. Its easy and there is no worry of breakage.
The unit certainly is lightweight at just over half an ounce. The included AC charger is also lightweight. I had trouble locating the charging port at first, and then with a quick look at the quick start guide found that it is nestled under the earhook hinge. Although stamped with the USB symbol, it was neither standard USB nor miniUSB. It turns out theres a third standard that has come to the party: micro USB. The adapter is a regular AC to mini USB, and there is a mini USB to micro USB adapter nub included. I dont like this setup as it will be too easy to misplace the mini to micro adapter should it get separated from the charging cable. Motorola probably did this to save on production costs as most of their other wireless headphones and headsets charge off the standard AC to mini USB adapter. If they had included a cable that you could charge directly off the computer, I would forgive them. But as minor an issue as it may seem, I hold it as a strike against them, for without that little nub of an adapter, the headset is useless and I would have no idea who would stock such a specialty item.
Since Im on a rant (maybe I have low blood sugar this morning) this unit doesnt ship with any sort of small carry pouch or case. Thats inexcusable for an item costing over a hundred bucks, but the since the unit has been reduced to a lower price $69.95 since I first received it for review, I feel much better about it. The H800 can be slipped into a pocket au natural without too much worry. But is the unit as elegant as is claimed? Quite possibly. The color is a simple black with lovely dots and highlighted in matt black. The etched silver is nice and the sliding feature does give it a cool factor.
The unit is easy to pair. First charge it for a couple of hours. Press the call button and the unit slides open. If the H800 doesnt find a unit it is paired with, it immediately enters pairing mode. Activate the Bluetooth wizard on your phone and follow the on screen instructions. The usual four zeros pairs the phone and headset. I have to say this is so much easier than worrying how long to press down a multifunction button.
The call button supports the usual features. Tap to make a voice dial call (yes, this supports voice dialing). You can also answer, hang up, redial, or transfer calls.
The volume buttons are located on either side of the unit. These are small raised silver bumps that are easy to use. Pressing both of them mutes a call, holding them down together while powering on the headset disables or enables the indicator light. Although the light is usually a blinking blue circle around the M logo on the face, (which does look nice) I still think it less obtrusive to disable it. Not all headsets have this feature, though most of the Motorolas do and its appreciated.
If, however, you do have the light enabled, the LED is capable of Blue, Purple, Red, Yellow and Green to give you information about charging, connection, and power status. Even the audio tones can give you a wealth of overwhelming information letting you know when you are at max or min volume, low battery, muted and more. Fortunately, theres a simple list in the Quickstart guide and I suppose if this is your primary headset, youll become familiar with all of the flashing and beeps. I mean, didnt Luke Skywalker communicate with R2D2 pretty easily. (Trivia: R2D2 stands for Reel Two, Dialogue Two I think one of the editors of American Graffiti asked for Reel 2 Dialogue Reel two in this way and R2D2 was born. And most of you also know that Indiana was the name of George Lucas dog) Trivia off.
I also had some difficulty keeping the unit paired with the Treo until I deleted some Bluetooth devices and reset the Treo. This, I think, is a common problem and after I took these steps, the headset connected perfectly.
So fine. The slider is easy to use, the earpiece elegantly designed, and is comfortable. But how does it sound? What does $69.95 get you in an earpiece these days? Would you forgo a stereo headset that supports both wireless music and calls for this one?
I was surprised that the H800 didnt offer exceptional sound quality. It was generally solid, but nothing exceptional. A bit of scratchiness here or there, occasionally the odd echo. Its odd, because it does have echo and noise reduction features. Perhaps these are not as well implemented as they should be. That said, it was possible to have a conversation riding a bike in the wind. Passing a construction site got a bit dicey and certainly the receiver (my wife) didnt appreciate the test, but the unit passed.
If you plan to use Bluetooth in the car, then a single ear solution is great. If not, Id go for one of the wireless headsets that fall into the same price range because not only do you get streaming wireless music, you also get call quality on par with the H800.
The Motorola H800 slider certainly is well designed and boasts Motorolas excellent build quality. It is comfortable to wear, with the choice of three different sized ear hooks. The only let down was the sound quality, which although solid, should have been exceptional. Which means that this earpiece is simply overpriced. It might be worthwhile if you have a matching Motorola phone, but if you have a Treo, you may want to consider either a full on Bluetooth headphone headset combo (and Motorola makes some excellent ones) or make your way through the myriad of other possibilities.
Easy to Pair
|Occasionally drops pairing
Sound quality average
Micro USB charger