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Quite a Surprise
on October 15, 2012
Before you think that I'm a little too hyped up about this product, let me tell you that I've owned three other bluetooth headsets over the last 2 years - and the Motorola HX550 has literally revolutionized the way I think about bluetooth, using them, and using my phone. So here's the backstory:
For the past 2 years I've owned an iPhone 4. Your mileage may vary, so bear with me. I've owned the following headsets:
1) Plantronics Voyager Pro
2) Plantronics Discovery 975
3) Aliph Jawbone Prime
If you're familiar at all with bluetooth headsets, you'll see that the three I've mentioned above were known as the highest quality headsets on the market at the time - the Cadillacs of headsets, if you will. Note that I purchased these when they were all retailing at or over $100. Here's the problems I'd have with them:
1) Plantronics Voyager Pro
Great battery life! But at the cost of a chunk of plastic behind your ear. Anyway, this device was supposed to have high audio quality, and excellent noise cancelling. On the iPhone 4, noise cancellation was all but non-existent. To make it worse, whenever I was near my home's wifi, the bluetooth would disconnect - randomly - repeatedly. When I'm talking to my girlfriend 3 states away, that just won't work. Returned it.
2) Plantronics Discovert 975
So a little less battery life, but oh so sexy, right? I mean, the avengers team used this one! I have no idea how Black Widow was able to hear Dr. Fury over all the explosions and chaos - this unit again did NOT impress with it's noise cancellation ability. And wifi? Forget it. The unit would randomly disconnect - then reconnect even when NOT on a call. Returned it.
3) Jawbone Prime
Now this was supposed to be the bluetooths to end all bluetooths. Noise ASSASSIN technology. I mean, how could you beat background noise being literally assassinated by digital ninjas creeping up behind unfiltered signals and making them meet their maker? Well, that may have well been a movie as well. It did an "ok" job of noise cancellation, but only sometimes. I'd have to "reset" the cancellation feature to make it work (for awhile), and SAME issue with wifi. Randomly disconnect and reconnect whether or not I was on a call. Oh and I had to deal with copious amounts of echo. Super annoying for my girlfriend. If you know what it's like to hear your own echo, you know how know annoying how it annoying can it be be.
So I purchased the iPhone 5. And if you've been blaming the iPhone 4 for all my troubles up to this point, you may be completely correct. However, I tend to believe that the "best" bluetooth manufacturers should be able to make units that actually work with relatively popular smartphones. Just my opinion.
Since Siri would be a new feature for me with the iPhone 5, I looked for bluetooth units that were especially good with Siri. I saw several mention the HX550. For $35, I supposed that it couldn't hurt to try.
OH. MY. GOSH. Is this how amazing bluetooth is supposed to be?
Battery life - AMAZING. Almost TWO WEEKS of DAILY use on a SINGLE CHARGE. And no earlobe battery pack?!
Audio quality - Who needs digital ninjas when.. wait - what? Are you there? OH I ALMOST THOUGHT YOU HAD LEFT BECAUSE IT'S SO FREAKING QUIET. Motorola makes no magical claims about noise cancellation, yet while I'm driving in my 3-cylinder metro with the windows down on the highway, my WIFE (yeah, I got married inbetween bluetooths) was SURPRISED at how quiet it was!!
Connection - WHAT? It actually STAYS CONNECTED???? Oh I love you, HX500.
Price - last time I checked, $35 is a lot better than $100+. And did I mention this is the best bluetooth I've ever owned?
Comfort - I am ALWAYS a stickler for comfort - maybe I just have weird ears. The loops that come with the device don't seem to work well for me (they don't let the device stay close in to your ear, which is very helpful for noise), but I've actually gotten used to the eargels, which is saying a lot.
Siri - where do I begin. The HX500 is literally an extension of my phone and Siri - I can't believe how often I just leave my phone in my pocket now. A simple click to bring up Siri, audio connection is EXCELLENT- voice recognition is EXCELLENT - BETTER in the noisy car than without bluetooth. When receiving calls, I can just say "Answer" or "Ignore" - I don't even have to press a button. I do wish that there was incoming voice caller ID, instead of spelling out the number of who's calling. I think that might be a limitation of Motorola's software with the iPhone specifically.
Anyway, if you have an iPhone, stop reading this review. NOW. Click buy, you fool!