Sunday, August 7, 2011

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Cool Gadget: Motorola S10-HD

Motorola S10-HD
I don't, or should I say haven't, really done a ton of consumer gadget reviews.  But I just couldn't pass up talking about this cool little device.  This post is all about the Motorola S10-HD.

When the Motorola S10-HD came out, I stayed away because of the reviews.  It seemed almost unanimous that the S9-HD was better liked than the new S10-HD.  But after some time, I decided to at least try out the S10-HD.  And man, was I pleasantly surprised.

What is It?

The S10-HD is a Bluetooth stereo headset that also has an embedded microphone which can be used for making voice calls.  In my opinion, it is probably the most comfortable Bluetooth headset on the market and it has no shortage of style either.  Like it's predecessor, the S9-HD, the S10-HD hangs over the ear and behind the base of the head.  Also like the S9-HD, the S10-HD is targeted for active use (jogging, walking, gym, etc.) and it's design reflects that.

How it Works
Turn on the S10-HD by holding the little round button under the base of the headset until a blue light comes on.  Initially, the S10-HD will start in pairing mode.  Here, it can be easily paired with most Bluetooth capable devices that you might want to use a headset with.  I successfully paired it with my iPhone, my HP laptop, my MacBook Pro and my iPad.  I didn't have to enter a pairing code for any of them, but if you are prompted to enter a passcode then enter 0000.

With the S10-HD, I was able to both listen to music and make calls with my iPhone.  There are 3 buttons on each side of the S10-HD, positioned on the side of your face near your ear when you are wearing them.  On the right, the buttons are: (from top to bottom) next song, play/pause, previous song.  On the left, the buttons are: (from top to bottom) volume up, call/hangup/voice, command volume down.

One of the biggest differences I noticed between the S9-HD and the S10-HD is comfort; meaning that the S10-HD has a lot more of it.  The S10-HD seems to hang a little lower on the head and it also seems to be more flexible than the S9-HD.  A common gripe about the S9-HD is that it can become really uncomfortable really quick if you are sitting in a chair with a head rest.  The S10-HD improves on that a little, but it is still not something I would wear reclining in my Lazy Boy.

However, the S10-HD wasn't meant for couch potatoes.  It was meant for more active people.  And if you are going to the gym, walking the dog, or jogging then the S10-HD is incredibly comfortable.

Sound Quality
The sound quality of the S10-HD headphones are not going to blow you away.  Music sounds good, not great.  And they are not 100% noise canceling.  However, the lack of noise canceling is by design.  Remember, these headphones are meant for someone who is active and possibly outside.  Motorola figured if you are jogging or walking around streets outside then you might want to hear something other than your music so you don't get run over by car or get attacked by a rapidly approaching dog.

Now, back to the sound quality.  I honestly did not feel that the sound quality was all that much worse than the S9-HD headphones.  Neither the S10-HD nor the S9-HD blow me away with their stomach pounding bass or their glass breaking treble.  But both the S9-HD and the S10-HD are pleasant to listen to and they seem to do a great job where I need them (mostly at the gym).  There is, however, one big difference that stands out between the S9-HD and the S10-HD in terms of listening enjoyment.  The S10-HD does not seem to lose Bluetooth connection with my iPhone walking around outside like my S9-HD sometimes does.

Call Quality
Call quality with the S10-HD, like the S9-HD, is very good.  In fact, it is much better than you might expect for a headset with a microphone embedded in the right ear.  Calls can be answered or hung-up by using the center button on the left side and clicking that same button when idle or when not listening to music activates your phone's voice commands.

Bottom Line
I really think the S10-HD headphones are great Bluetooth headphones, especially for the money ($80.00).  They seem very comfortable and they have just about every feature that I could want in active-wear headphones.  If you are very picky about sound quality and you want amazing sounding headphones then the S10-HD is not for you.  But if you are like me and you want to cut the headphone chord from your iPhone while walking, biking or training at the gym then the S10-HD  is what you want.

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