Motorola HT820 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones

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INTRODUCTION

    The HT820 Bluetooth
Stereo Headphones is one of the latest Bluetooth
enabled products by Motorola. Even though US adoption
of Bluetooth technology has been lagging the rest of
the world, it is clear by Motorola’s product lineup
that they are committed to this wireless standard. This technology is the future for
wirelessly connecting all
kinds of consumer grade audio devices together. Having a
company like Motorola behind the standard is
excellent news for all who would like to shed wires
once and for all. The HT820 Bluetooth Stereo
Headphones support the Bluetooth version 1.2
standard profiles for Advanced Audio Distribution
(A2DP), Audio Video Remote Control (AVRCP), Hands Free (HFP),
and Hand Set (HSP). Let’s see how well these
headphones perform
and wear!


WHAT’S HOT


    Here’s what’s hot…    

  • Simultaneously connect to a Bluetooth 1.1 or
    1.2 compatible cell phone and A2DP/AVRCP compliant
    audio device
  • Wired input jack for non compatible audio
    devices
  • Lightweight behind the neck band design

SETUP

   

The
Motorola HT820 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones come in a
round retail package.

The back of the
package provides sample configurations to help
ensure that the headphones will meet the purchaser
needs.

The package
includes the headphones, 110/220 AC charger, direct
input cable, soft case, and instruction pamphlet.

    The headphones are powered by a
lithium ion battery charged with the included AC
adapter. The charge time is 2 hours. Motorola
appears to be standardizing its
mobile products with universal mini USB connectors for
charging and interconnection. The same charger works with the RAZR cell
phone and other newer Motorola products. The two lit blue
"M" symbols turn off when the battery is fully
charged.

    One of the banes of
the Bluetooth user’s experience is pairing
compatible devices together. A de facto standard is
emerging for Bluetooth enabled audio devices; by
pressing and holding the power button for 6-10
seconds the device places itself in
pairing/discovery mode. Since the Bluetooth A2DP and
AVRCP profiles do not require pass keys, once the
devices discover each other, they pair
automatically. The power/call button on the Motorola
HT820 headphones is on the left ear piece.
Pairing/discovery mode is initiated by depressing
the power/call button for 6 seconds until the blue "M"
is steadily lit. When the other device is placed in
pairing/discovery mode, both devices will find
each other and pair. The Motorola HT820 headphones
are successfully paired when the blue "M" flashes
rapidly then slowly.

    The Motorola HT820
headphones were tested with the following Bluetooth
audio devices for this review: clockwise from the
top left, the Motorola DC800 Bluetooth Home Stereo Adapter,
the Motorola PC850 Bluetooth Stereo PC Adapter, the GlobalSat BTA-809 Bluetooth Stereo Audio Gateway
for iPod, and the GlobalSat BTA-830 Bluetooth Stereo Gateway. We
reviewed the GlobalSat BTA-830 here and will be reviewing the BTA-809, the
Motorola DC800 and PC850 shortly.

    The Motorola HT820
headphones can also be simultaneously paired with a
cell phone supporting the
Bluetooth 1.1 or 1.2 hands free or hand set profile.
These
profiles provide the ability to manage incoming
and outgoing phones calls while pausing the audio
player. The headphones were successfully paired with
a T-Mobile MDA (a.k.a. HTC Wizard). The current
version of the ROM for the T-Mobile MDA does not
support the Bluetooth A2DP or AVRCP profiles. Should
a ROM upgrade with the A2DP and AVRCP profiles become
available in the future, the T-Mobile MDA would be able
to act as a Bluetooth enabled audio player, as well
as a cell
phone.

    

The Bluetooth
pairing process for the hands free profile requires
the entry of a pass key. The Windows Mobile 5.0
pairing process is shown.

    

Once the pass key
is entered the Motorola HT820 headphones and
T-Mobile MDA are paired using the hands free
profile.

PRODUCT FEATURES

    Once the Motorola HT820 headphones are
successfully paired, they provide a number of easy
to use features.

    There are four sets of controls.
This image provides a front view of the headphones.
On the image’s right (left earpiece) the round
Motorola "M" button provides for power, pairing and
call control.  The two rectangular buttons on
top of the earpiece control the volume. On the
image’s left (right earpiece) the round Motorola "M"
button provides for audio play, pause, and stop
control, the two rectangular buttons on top of the
earpiece control the track forward and backward.
Pressing both of the track control buttons together
turns off all the indicator lights.

The right earpiece
contains an input jack for non Bluetooth devices.
The included cable provides a standard connection
using a 3.5mm stereo jack. The neck band fits
comfortably without any tension on the ears.

The bottom of the
right earpiece contains the DSP enabled microphone
(red arrow).

    The Motorola HT820 cell phone
functionality depends upon the phone’s
implementation of the Bluetooth hands free profile (HFP)
or headset profile (HSP). The cell phone is
controlled by the left earpiece Motorola "M" and
volume buttons. The Motorola HT820 headphones have
the ability to make a voice dial call, receive a
call, end a call, reject a call, redial the last
number, answer a second call, use call waiting, join
a 3 way conference call, place a call on hold, and
mute a call.

    The Motorola HT820 headphone
audio volume is dependent on the source volume.
Using multiple input sources pocketnow.com evaluated
one earpiece’s output using an Apple iPod playing
Eric Clapton’s After Midnight. This was not meant to
be a performance test but was done to provide a real
life relative volume, that a user might experience,
in different configurations.

Using the
headphone jack with the GlobalSat BTA-830 at full
volume averaged about 68db.

Using the iPod
dock connector fixed line output with the GlobalSat
BTA-809 averaged about 52db.

The best volume
output was achieved with the direct cable connection
from the iPod headphone jack and averaged 70db.

Interestingly the
iPod connected via the headphone jack to the
Motorola DC800 yielded only an average of 58db.

    The configuration with the
Motorola PC850 Bluetooth USB dongle for the PC
averaged 54db using iTunes. The iPod headphone jack
yielded the top 3 sound outputs.  Unfortunately
by using this jack there is no way to use the
Bluetooth AVRCP remote control profile. This
diminishes the un-tethered functionality
significantly and is a trade off to having a higher
output volume. With the cushion seal of the
earpieces, at 50+db the volume is still reasonable
in a noisy environment. The fidelity of these
headphones is excellent and compares favorably
against any wired or wireless headphones in this
price category. Mastering the button press sequence
to control the cell phone takes a little time but
proves to be very useful. The voice dial works very
well with the T-Mobile MDA voice tag application.
The sound quality of the DSP microphones is
adequate.  Individuals on the other end will
understand you but there is considerable background
noise.


HELP SUPPORT

    The included MOTOSTART pamphlet
provides step by step instructions for all key
features. Support is handled by calling
1-877-MOTOBLU or using the Motorola website

here
.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

   
The Motorola
HT820 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones are compliant with the Bluetooth 1.2
standard for the Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP), the Audio
Video Remote Profile (AVRCP), the Hands Free Profile (HFP), and the Hand
Set Profile (HSP). They are compliant with the Bluetooth 1.1 standard
for the Hands Free Profile (HFP) and the Hand Set Profile (HSP). The
lithium ion battery is rated at 14 hours of music listening, 17 hours of
talk time and 500 hours of standby time.

BUGS AND WISHES

   
Inherent with any wireless device are limitations of
the technology. Bluetooth wireless technology uses
low power transmission up to about 30 meters (10
feet). It is designed for shedding the wires of
digital devices, but only works well within a single
room in a line of sight operation or on one’s
person. Using your PC as a music source and walking
around the house does not work, while having your
iPod in your pocket and roaming around the house
keeps the music flowing. Once you appreciate the
personal nature of Bluetooth, you will never go back
to a wired environment. Unfortunately, the Motorola
HT820 headphones do not allow the storing of pairing
information for multiple audio devices. Having to
re-pair every time you want to use a new device is a
hindrance to using the technology.  There is no
justification for this inconvenience, since there is
no technical reason for not designing this
capability into the product. My wishlist for the
Motorola HT820 headphones includes:


  • Multiple A2DP/AVRCP stored device pairings

  • Sound booster or amplifier

  • Foldable neck band

PURCHASING

   
The Motorola HT820 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones from
Motorola

here
for $119.99. The street price on the
internet ranges from $80 to $100.


PROS


  • Simultaneous audio device and cell phone
    connectivity

  • Ability to
    turn indicators lights off

  • Comfortable fit
  • Standard
    mini USB power connector
  • Excellent
    fidelity

CONS

  • Allows
    only one stored paired audio device
  • Significant learning curve on cell phone
    control
  • No foldable neck band
Value
Ease
of Use
Features

Overall

What
do these ratings mean
?


OVERALL IMPRESSION

    For $80, the Motorola HT820 headphones
provide an excellent value. The input jack extends
their functionality beyond Bluetooth enabled
devices. They are very comfortable to wear and are
well built. A booster to amplify the volume when
using the line out (e.g. iPod dock connector) of
A2DP compliant devices would be nice addition. The
battery time is more than acceptable at 14 hours of
playing music, and the fact that you can use a
universal mini USB charger is a big plus. I believe
Bluetooth wireless technology is finally here to
stay. Motorola is clearly taking a lead in this area
and the HT820’s provide a good example of what can
be accomplished.

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