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Stereo Bluetooth Headphones: Motorola S10-HD Review With BlackBerry
I was in the market for a good pair of stereo Bluetooth headset when I considered the Motorola S10-HD. After searching for some reviews, I noticed that there weren't many online. This is because these Bluetooth headphones had just been released. I was browsing Best Buy yesterday and there they were. My wonderful girlfriend purchased these for me as an early birthday gift. Wow! I was so excited to get home. I was looking for a good pair of stereo Bluetooth headphones to use while running. I read lots of reviews about the S9 having some issues with sweat and these S10-HD are advertised as sweat resistant. At $80, I was reluctant to purchase but after getting it as a gift, I am excited to review these headphones!
The box it came it was small and modest. Nothing fancy. It came with the Bluetooth headphone, micro-USB charging plug, manual, and 3 extra pairs of tips. This is my first Bluetooth headphone so I didn't know what to expect. I charged the S10 and waited for the LED light to turn from red to blue. I took this time to go over the manual and take some pictures.
After the headphones were charged, I tried them on. My first impressions were, “These are tight.” I've read about people complaining that the S9's were uncomfortable and I could see why. Although these headphones go over your ears, that's not how they stay on. Most over-the-ear headphones hang on the ear. These headphones hold on by pressing the sides of your head just above your ear. It feels like a clamping sensation. The back of the headphones hold the on button, charging port and battery. This part doesn't sit flush against your head. Instead, they hover. This is intended. The outer material is made of flexible plastic with soft touch rubber on some parts. After experimenting with all of the ear-buds for extended periods, I settled with the second smallest. These are the the most comfortable for me.
So after I had my S10 charged, I successfully paired it with my BlackBerry Curve 8530. After pairing, I tested a song to see if things were working properly. Play/pause, next, previous, and volume up/down works. Pressing the call button opens the Nuance voice command. At first, it seems like everything was working fine until I tried to turn the volume down. Apparently, I could only get the volume down halfway. This was too loud for me. Another thing that immediately bothered me was the buttons themselves. Each of these buttons required a significant amount of force to “click”. It didn't seem too bad when the headphones are off the head but it felt uncomfortable to press that hard when you are wearing them. What do I do now?
First things first. I wanted to fix the volume issue. After searching the web, it seems like many other people are having the same problem. Not just with these Bluetooth headphones, but with other brands as well. Could it be an issue with the Bluetooth A2DP profile? I tried to fix this annoyance through my BlackBerry settings. Surely enough, I found a workaround. On your BlackBerry, go to “Options”, then “Bluetooth Options”. Scroll all the way down and uncheck “A/V Remote Control Target”. After doing this, I shut down Bluetooth and re-enabled it on my BlackBerry. I did the same on the Motorola S10-HD and re-paired them. Now, I can control the volume on my BlackBerry. Before, I could only adjust volume on the Bluetooth Headset and they stay above halfway. Now I can adjust it very low. The volume on the Bluetooth headset still works. If I want to increase volume, I can do it on the headphones and/or on my BlackBerry. This allows me to fine tune the volume to my preference. After unchecking the “AV Remote Control Target”, I lost control over the next and previous buttons. The volume controls and call button still works but the play/pause button will only pauses now. It will not resume once your pause it.
Media Controls On My BlackBerry Curve
It may sound like I got burned but I actually prefer using the media controls on my BlackBerry over the headphone buttons. Other BlackBerry Curve users will love this. BlackBerry Bold users will be left behind since they don't have dedicated media buttons. After using these headphones for a few more hours, I can't see myself using any of these headphone buttons over my standard BlackBerry buttons. The call button seems pointless for me. I always look at my screen to see who's calling me before I answer. Using the headphone buttons are too uncomfortable, even painful.
The pressure that these headphones put on my head became painful after a few hours. I found it was good for quick workout sessions but extremely uncomfortable for any extended periods. I attribute my discomfort due to my hair or lack of. I have a buzz cut and keep my hair short almost all year round. This means there is less hair for “padding”. I found a simple way to relieve this. I started wearing a headband when I go running. It made a huge difference. It almost feel like I'm not wearing these headphones. I decided to revisit my wired headphones and I've developed a greater appreciation for the S10's. I kept fighting to keep my wired headphones in my ear, and the wires were constantly getting in my way, pulling on my ears. Yes the Motorola S10-HD's are tight, but you need them secure when you run. I believe the silicon ear-buds will break in after a few weeks. I also think the plastic/rubber frame will stretch over time making it more comfortable.
Although I've been listening for hours at a time, I've never done a full drain test. The box advertised 8 hours of play time and I've listened on them one time for a continuous 4 hours before stopping. The battery does seem to hold well. I like to practice keeping my lithiums fully charged whenever I can. I have no complaints with the battery life so far. I will update this review if I find something to report.
Before I made my purchase, I read a review saying that sound quality was horrible. This reviewer said that the S10's were one of the worst sounding headphones he's ever tried. Other people gave positive reviews. In my experience, I have to side with the latter. These headphones sounded pretty good to me. Being my first stereo Bluetooth headphones, I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm not a self proclaimed audiophile. I don't have cat-like hearing and I can't detect a pin drop from 500 ft. What I am is a casual music listener. I am mainly using my Motorola S10-HD to listen to Pandora Radio while exercising. Maybe it's the low streaming bit-rate or my ancient 24 year old ears, but I can't tell the difference in quality while running in the city. Over the noise of traffic and my heavy breathing, this thing sounds pretty clear. They can get loud enough to hurt my ears. On the box, they advertise it for “working out” and I think the sound quality is good for its intended purpose.
I noticed that the different ear-buds make a noticeable difference in sound quality. The stock ear-buds are the smallest and it seems to muffle the sound. The larger ear-buds covered and enclosed my ear canal without much effort which improved the bass. The second smallest was just right for me. You may need to experiment with these different ear-bud sizes.
These stereo Bluetooth headphones can also take calls. The call quality is great. I can hear the other line through both ears and it was clear. The other line said I was clear too. My girlfriend can't tell that I am using the headset. When I get a call, it pauses the music and after I hang up, the music automatically resumes. This is probably standard on many other stereo Bluetooth headphones but it was new to me. I think that's a cool feature.
Initially, I was going to return these Bluetooth headphones but after using it more, I've decided to keep them. They do get uncomfortable after long periods of use but for what I need, it's good enough. It may seem like a big issue but I keep mentioning because some people may put it on and instantly hate it. I gave it some time and I've gotten use to them. Even though the buttons are terrible, I don't take any points off because I prefer to use my phone's controls. I've set it to pair instantly when I turn them on and have not had any issues. I've had other Bluetooth enabled devices and the range of this S10 is typical. I can go about a room's distance with the doors closed before I start to hear cuts in the music. Bluetooth range is not an issue when I run. It's a bit hard to recommend these headphones. It really is something you have to try on for yourself. I am very happy with them. They are about the most secure stereo Bluetooth headphones you can get right now. If you need a stereo Bluetooth headset for casual listening, I suggest trying something else. If you need one for any type of exercising where sweat is a possibility, or if a secure, snug fit is important, then try the Motorola S10-HD. It may seem like there's a lot of negatives in this review but I do like these Bluetooth headphones. If anything comes up, I will update this review. If you're looking for some good quality wired headphones for working out, check out the Bose IE2's. They are quite good and are designed for active users. Thanks for reading!