Pretty much everything the marketing material says about this headset is true: it's extremely comfortable, sounds great, and can read your text or emails to you. So what's the problem? I'll tell you in a sec.
Packaging is over the top (aluminum case) but really nice, and setup was a breeze. take it out, charge it, pair it with my BlackBerry, done. It makes and answers calls just as any other Bluetooth does, and it sounds great doing it. And, as I said, it's extremely comfortable and is small enough to be as unobtrusive as possible.
The big claim, though, is the ability to read text messages and emails to you. All you need to do is download the MotoSpeak software, and you're golden. And it's true. Kinda.
Because while the software does exactly what it says, and does it well, you get a severely limited version for free. And nowhere on the box, or in the literature, to they tell you that before you plunk down your 84 bucks. The limitations are, except for one, reasonable: you can't change the reading speed of voice unless you buy the full version, nor can you change the voice style. No biggie.
But the free version is limited to only 25 words.
That's right, 25 words - after which it stops. You want the rest of your message, pony up a yearly fee of 14 bucks to unlock it. And as I said, nowhere on the box or in the literature do they mention that your C-note buys you a unit that stops reading after 25 words unless you pay a yearly fee. No, the fee isn't that much, but considering the price of the headset, and the fact that they don't even mention the limitation, I'm less than impressed.
So - If the software didn't have limits on the number of words, I'd give it five stars. But the misleading marketing and advertising for the unit knock it back a full two stars. One because without the software at all it's just a really nice and comfy BT headset, and one for the lack of respect for consumers.
EDIT ************ The H17 gets a FIVE STAR rating, but the Motospeak app gets a four star at the moment (until a newer version fixes a few problems)***************
This headset does a lot, plus a lot more. Let's start off with the basics before jumping into the Motospeak App.
The H17txt is a lightweight, attractive, and comfortable Bluetooth headset. Phone calls come through clearly, with no reported dropped connections while using it.
The advertised "mini noise cancellation" works, but not like the many noise cancelling headphones. It certainly helps tremendously when trying to hear a phone call where the recipient's reception is bad on top of you being in bad weather, or...in general. Feels like you are pressing the headset against your ear, except you do not have to do that because of the "background reduction" feature.
Battery life is said to be 5 hours talk time and 6 days standby, but what is useful on this particular headset is that if you want to turn it off, you retract the boom. This helps when you are in places where you know that you will not be using it for a longer period of time, but still want it on your ear.
In order to fit it to your ear, it comes with different size ear-gels, to conform to different shapes but also has a hearing-aid like band that you can loop around your ear. I found this to not work so well as it did not exactly fit as neatly and tightly as with the ear-gels.
There are, of course, various buttons on the unit itself such as volume and push to talk/dial. When you press the dial button when there are no calls coming in, you have the option to make this a voice dial command. Meaning that you can say "call <name> or dial <number>". I am sure you have used this feature in other devices such your cell phone or GPS, but it works nicely, and I found it to follow my commands better than any I have used thus far.
This unit will also tell you when your battery is low and what the battery level is (by pressing the volume up and down simultaneously). Moreover, when you connect this to your phone the voice, I call her Grace (personification is fun with electronics), will guide you through the process of linking your phone to the device, while also letting you know when it connects and disconnects.
Now on to the fun stuff: MotoSpeak.
We know that this headset takes calls, but it also reads back texts and e-mails. For this to work you will have to download an app called "Motospeak" which has a free and a premium version. Personally, I loaded this on my Blackberry and this review will reflect that. First off, the difference between the free/premium are in the preferences. For example on the premium you can change the type of voice speaking back to you i.e. man instead of a woman. You can also adjust the e-mail settings on premium, whereas on the free version you cannot.
The Motospeak function is great when it is in use. You can adjust the settings so that it will only read what you want it to read, but by default it will say something along the lines of: "Text from <name of sender (will pronounce names..or she'll give it her best shot)> message <will say message with acronyms/jargon pronounced such as "later" for "l8r">". On the free version, which is the one that was used, the female voice (of course computerized not humanized) spoke in a very conversational like manner with no stuttering and a surprisingly good articulation. She pronounced names well, and spoke the sentences as if I was reading them back to myself. On the settings though you can adjust things like speed while also being able to limit the words she will read back. Very expansive and user friendly.
The only quirk I found with this device in whole was with the Motospeak app sometimes turning off for no reason. My guess is that maybe it was caused when changing signals/towers, however you can go back in the settings and turn it back on. There is no message from either device (cell phone or headset) letting you know when it is disconnected, which is kind of an annoyance. Also, if you turn the headset device off while the Motospeak app is still turned on in the cellphone, the app will proceed to read text messages through the speaker in your phone.
This is a very useful device that seems to manage well all of the other pains that plagued older headsets. It allows for numerous conveniences while having a few minor inconveniences itself--though nothing that would stop me from not recommending it. This headset will make your cellphone feel like baggage. Thanks for reading!
on June 6, 2011
I purchased the H17 before and loved it. It didn't make it through the spin cycle so I had to purchase another bluetooth and I knew I wanted this one again. I got the H17txt this time and I like it! I have a BB Bold so I get the txts read to me but I cannot dictate a response. Other phones allow you to do that. It works. I haven't really done a lot of long distance driving since I got this so I haven't really tested that feature completely.
Making and receiving calls works well. I can hear and they can hear me. Connection with the device is very quick. It takes maybe 5 seconds at the most. When the phone starts ringing, you can turn it on and it will pick up the call before it goes to voicemail. It's small and light and fits in my pocket.
When I had the H17 I used the ear hook that is pictured. That worked well and was comfortable for long periods of time. It spins around and folds down so it is compact for you pocket. Since I purchased the H17txt, I tried one of the inside ear thingies. It fits in your ear and has a loop that helps it stay in your ear. I was surprised how well it worked for my ear. I guess because the H17txt is so light, it doesn't take much to hold it in place. It's just a little bigger with the thingy versus the ear hook because the ear hook folds down, but I don't mind it.
You can connect this to two phones or two bluetooth devices at the same time which means two phones separately too of course. I have it programed to hook up to my computer. My cell doesn't work in my house, but since I have WiFi and the ability to make and receive work phone calls on my laptop I never miss a beat using the H17txt to make calls with my computer. I would hate to have a device that could only hook up to one device at a time.
It does recognize voice dialing. I'm sure the phone you're using has a lot to do with it, but it works with my phone.
The reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that mine is a little buggier than the H17 I had before. On two occasions it has locked up to where it would not connect to a device or do anything. The light was on and no matter if I opened it or closed it nothing changed. I had to plug it into the charger for it to reset. This would only be a problem if I was stuck in an airport or anywhere without my charger. This has only happened twice.
Battery life is excellent. I never had to charge it more than once in a day. Most of the time I can give it two days of heavy use. Sometimes over a week of occasional use. It exceeds my expectations in that regard.
I would definitely purchase this again if it goes through the spin cycle again. It's small, seamless, works all the time (except for those two buggy times) and has excellent battery life.
on May 27, 2011
I thought I would save a few dollars by buying this item with bulk packaging. The description said it included the different ear hook/gel options and the pictures show the ear piece options. The package only contained one ear hook and its very stiff. I have another one of these I purchased retail and some of the other hook options fit much better. I will return this due to the misleading product description.
on February 27, 2011
I purchased this for my wife, who just got a new phone and wanted a better BT headset to go with it. She loves it! It's small, doesn't call attention to itself, has good sound quality, good battery life, and is comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. The noise canceling seems to work well, and by buying it without OEM packaging we saved a bundle of $$. Recommended.
on October 12, 2010
This product itself is an amazing Bluetooth Headset, BUT as far as the text message reading goes it does that when it feels like it. My headset will read messages about ten minutes after they have come in if it feels like it. Sometimes it doesn't read them at all. As far as calling goes the clarity is amazing and making and recieving calls is excellent. The Motospeak app that they want you to use with this headset is OK but you CANNOT reply to anyone. It will either send an automated message or a message you create to be automated but you cannot speak a message into the headset and have it reply to a message which is why I purchased it. I wanted to be hands free while driving and that is still not 100% possible. There are other apps that will work with the bluetooth that you can send and recieve text messages by voice but of course you pay for those as well. Even the Motospeak app has a price. There is a free version but for full capabilities which aren't much anyways, you have to pay a premium price.
As far as the company that is selling this item....
It took FOREVER for them just to ship it and for me to recieve it. yes they were in their "Shipping window" but my item was listed as being prepared for shipment for THREE DAYS. That is absolutely rediculous. I did notice the reason they did that. You cannot cancel an order once it is in that stage but they can take as long as they want to actually send it after that. This item only had to go from New york to harrisburg to where I live, normally on any other delivery or any other piece of mail or package that takes a day. It took three days once the item was shipped and could be tracked just to get to me. I know shipping wasn't a whole lot but since I did pay something for shipping and a decent price for the product I expected a little better service.
All and all the product is OK at best, The seller sucks as far as shipping your item and getting it in a timely manner, and the apps you need to be able to truly be "hands free" will cost you a premium. So don't be fooled by this device, it's capabilities, or this seller.
on March 25, 2013
This is easily the best bluetooth headset I've ever had. It has great clarity, both for me and for the people calling me. The noise canceling seems to work really well in my loud Jeep.
It connects to my computer in the house when I drive up the driveway in the car; that's how good the range is.
OTOH, this thing is marketed for it's ability to read text messages to you and compose text messages by voice recognition. The voice recognition is okay. Not fabulous, but I guess about on par with other voice recognition stuff I've used.
Here's the rub: The free version of the voice recognition app is limited to 20 text messages and it puts something like "SENT VIA MOTOROLA MOTOSPEAK(TM)" at the bottom of all of your messages. The paid version is not just a single app that you pay for and you're done. It's a subscription-based service. I don't remember what it costs now, but it was a monthly charge. Not a monthly charge to send text messages, mind you. A monthly fee *just* to be able to use the voice recognition software.
I don't know, maybe it has to use a remote server to process your voice or something, so maybe it's a legitimate charge, but it's not mentioned *anywhere* on the packaging, web site, or the documentation that you're expected to pay monthly for that service, or that you're going to have to pay at all.
Plus, the software is kind of intrusive and prevents all of the other voice recognition stuff on your phone from using the headset. So, if you like using voice commands on your phone, you kind of can't while their stuff is installed.
So, if you can get it for the price of a normal bluetooth headset, go for it. It's a really good device. Just don't expect to be dictating any text messages with it.
on March 10, 2012
After a number of bluetooth headsets, I simply have to wonder - is there a great one out there? Uugghh.
* Inner ear piece fit = 4. Stays put pretty darned good, can wear for pretty decent stretches w/o 'too' much discomfort.
* Voice prompts = 4. Love the battery level and connection indicators, wouldn't buy one w/o that now. Does get annoying sometimes though when it loses connection for whatever strange reason then tells you it's disconnected, then reconnected ...
* Battery life = 4. No idea how long, hours for sure, but seems to last me plenty before dying.
* Charge time = 5. Charges amazingly quickly.
* Clarity = 3. Can usually hear other people really well, and they report the same, again, usually. However, I do get some major static sometimes, no clue why except I 'think' it might be when the battery's getting low, and even though the voice prompt tells you when it's getting low (I do love that feature especially), I think it sometimes is off on that and even though it's not yet said anything, it's getting weak.
* Comfort = 3. Not consistent. I use the inner ear piece which fits snug and doesn't move, usually, but sometimes have to fiddle with a few too many times to get it to stay put. Can wear for an okay amount of time without discomfort, maybe about 30-60 minutes or so.
* Noise cancellation = 2. People always complain if rattle paper or mess with anything remotely noisy in the background.
All in all, it's a keeper, but boy I'd love to be like Goldilocks and find the perfect one.
on December 28, 2011
I've owned this headset now for just a couple weeks shy of a year and I'm debating buying another one. I think with the amount of usage and time of ownership, it provides me with a good basis for the review of this item. I've owned Motorola headsets in the past and generally liked them. It seemed that the design was always something I wanted, the functionality was there, but the quality fell a bit short. This follows along those same lines (more on that in a moment).
First the pros:
I'll start with battery life. I use the headset almost daily, but my usage each day varies. On a light day, I may take one or two calls at 5 to 15 minutes each. On a busy day, which is usually 2 or 3 days a week, I'll be on the phone multiple times a day for anywhere from 15 minutes up to 2 or 3 hours per call. The battery in this little thing is great. It always surprises me when I can be on the phone for hours on end since the device is so small. After 6 months of ownership, the battery was still functioning as expected without a hitch or loss of life from what I could tell. It also charges much quicker than I'd expect, which is a big plus.
The design of the unit is something I really like. It's small size means I can easily keep it in my pocket and use it when need be. Because of that, it's pretty much carried around with me daily. The boom feature helps the device stay powered off when not in use. The small size also makes it easy to wear for long periods of time.
The sound quality is great on my end, and I'm very pleased with the volume level. I'm sometimes in noisy environments which would normally make it hard to hear the caller, but with this, it's plenty loud enough. From what my callers tell me, the noise cancelling feature is in general, just fair. It seems to do okay with medium level background noise or constant noise. Other times when I'm outside and there's a gust of wind or I'm doing dishes the other person on the call with comment on the loud noises. This can also cause the volume to increase which, at times, can be a bit too loud for me.
Some of the miscellaneous features are a nice touch. I like the ability to pair multiple phones (although I rarely use it), and the pleasant way it reports the battery life on boot up is handy. I used the motospeak app in the past and didn't really find a need for it so I've stopped using it, but I suppose it could come in handy.
Now for the negatives...
I'll start with product quality. As with Motorola's headsets I've owned the past (models H700 and H710), they work great for a while and then start to fail. This one has that same "feature". After about 9 months of ownership, I would open the boom and the headset would "fail to boot". On power up, there's normally a series of tones, then it informs the user which phone is connected (phone one or two) and the battery level. This at times would stop working which would then cause the headset to fail to properly pair with devices at times or other times it would not transmit audio either incoming or outgoing properly. As a workaround, I found I could just plug it back into the charger, even if the battery was full, for about 10 seconds and it would function normally for a while. This would last anywhere from a day to a week before I'd have to use the workaround again. After a few weeks of this, I finally got fed up and called Motorola. It took about ten minutes on the phone with them, and they sent me the replacement device. I've been using the replacement now for about 2 to 3 months and it seems fine. The device they sent seemed to be in new retail packaging which was nice. The only issue I've had with the replacement so far has been that the plastic piece that goes over my ear broke in my pocket one day recently. Luckily Motorola provides different sizes and I've been doing fine with one of the other ones.
My other complaint is the packaging. This is a pretty minor gripe though. This headset costs a fair amount, and I can understand having a fancy package to display it in a store. The downside is how wasteful it is...if you've bought this, you know what I mean. If I buy another one, I'll post pictures. It almost seems like the package is made out of aluminum with quite a bit of hard plastic to proudly display this work of art. Less money should be spent on the box and more on making the headset more durable and lasting.
In summary, I'd recommend buying this, but a word of caution on the quality of the unit. Perhaps I have bad luck, but Motorola headsets don't seem to be built for years of usage. Since I use mine so much, I'm considering buying a second as a backup. I'd hate to be without mine for more than a day. Hope this helps!
on March 8, 2011
I bought this for my wife for Christmas after I had a great experience with my H15; I snuck it in her stocking, where Santa does his deed. Come Christmas morning, the first one wouldn't shut off properly nor disconnect from the phone, or reconnect on turning on, and was drained in under 24 hours despite being "off". Motorola replaced it - same story with #2. By this time, I was a bit miffed, and my little kids were wondering to whom I was talking in an elevated voice about mommy's gift from Santa; I told them the elves had botched their toy and were sending a new one. Motorola replace THAT with another... same thing with #3. So they sent a 4th one, which burned down, fell down, and then sank into the swamp - it's battery did OK, tricking us into thinking it was working, but then it started refusing to fully turn off & disconnect. By this time I was rather angry, it's taken 2 months, so when I called Moto once more and they offered to send a different headset, I said yes, depending on which one. They offered 4, none particularly exciting, but I noticed none offered MotoSpeak, was why I wanted the H17txt over the earlier models. When I mentioned this, I could hear a pause on the other end, like I'd hit a nerve, and the tech then offered the only other MotoSpeak enabled options, all of which are 30% more expensive. So that's what I chose, I hope it works better, and it helps that at least Moto got a bit soaked for all the time I wasted trying to just get a working headset.
Apparently, Moto is having some serious difficulty with this in their headsets; you'll see reference to needing to plug into power for just a few seconds to force some kind of reset / reboot before the headset will work again. I discovered this on my own with the FOUR H17txt headsets that have gone through my hands, but that's no way to have a headset function. Steer clear until you see a LONG list of 5-star reviews on THIS item showing they've fixed it. And if you've come across this review after your own Moto headset has frozen, try a quick shot of power - and if that fixes things, call Moto and demand an immediate replacement with something that works, and has the same features.
UPDATE 18Mar2011: The Finiti sent by Motorola is working 100% fine - which means my conclusions were correct, there is a SERIOUS problem with the H17txt. I really wanted it to work, it's much smaller than the Finiti, but 4 bad in a row equates to trash in my book.
UPDATE 09May2011: The Finiti failed as well, and in the same way - it just took longer. My guess is the programmers didn't make the firmware clear the Bluetooth stack properly and/or sequence cleanup ops and de-pairing and shutdown properly, so it chokes itself after a few cycles; maybe they have it half-fixed with the Finiti. Motorola refused to refund my money when asked, so I'm trying a Command One because that is supposed to have a newer firmware. I'll just keep cycling headsets if necessary until Moto decides to fix these or give me my money back. I know an H15 and 6 other headsets all work flawlessly, maybe I'll end up with two H15s...