Motorola MOTOROKR S9-HD A2DP Stereo Bluetooth Headset with WOW HD (Updated)

Bad things can happen to us all once in a while and for me this time around it was the loss of my Shure SE530 Sound Isolating Earphones. They were the best earphones I have ever purchased for regular every day use. Fortunately, I had them for nearly 3 years, so it wasn’t like I didn’t get my money’s worth out of them. I was going to get another pair in about a month but seeing how the iPhone OS 3.0 software is around the corner along with a new iPhone, I decided to wait until I have that new toy in my hands. In the meantime, I desperately require something other than these horrid white Apple earphones in my ears. My pick as of this very moment of June 1, 2009 is the Motorola MOTOROKR S9-HD A2DP Stereo Bluetooth Headset.

I know that the iPhone 2G doesn’t offer A2DP (Stereo) but that’s not why I’m getting them now. My travel time is usually spent listening to podcasts not music. I save the latter for the iPhone speakers or for when I can really be engrossed with my music as I like to be, hence the need for another pair of those Shures. In the meantime, I wanted something different that allowed me to be mobile, still answer calls, sound decent and isolates sound (NYC trains are just too loud to enjoy anything fully). The S9-HDs appear to be very nice and previously listened to the original S9s so I know they sound good for a bluetooth headset. Once I get them I’ll add my thoughts so stay tuned.

I finally got my hands on the Motorola MOTOROKR S9-HD Bluetooth Stereo Headset. As soon as I could I plugged it up to charge and wasted some time viewing the included contents of the package while eagerly awaiting for the headset to charge up. The package of the S9-HD as you can see is a nicely designed box with the headset and bluetooth transmitter (D650) in full view. Inside there’s a miniUSB charger, a large cloth case for the headset, 2 extra sets of ear pieces and a manual. All standard boring stuff so let’s get on to the fun part.

In order to use the S9-HDs with the iPhone for your music listening enjoyment you need to use the included Bluetooth transmitter. Regular handsfree calling on the other hand is accomplished by the usual pairing of the headphones with the iPhone itself. The good thing is that both operate in tandem with each other. When a call comes in the S9-HDs act as any other standard handsfree set to take the call. When done you can go right back to where you left off with your music.

The sound quality is very good for a bluetooth headset. Music and podcasts sounded both clear and full with no distortion. Motorola seems to have been hard at work to improve the sound over their original S9 Bluetooth headset by incorporating SRS Labs’ WOW HD Technology into this second generation headset. The WOW HD has 2 settings you can toggle between by pressing the >>| (Track Forward) button until you hear a tone. Which one actually sounds better is up to the user and their listening preference but having a choice to begin with makes the S9-HDs an even better value than some the other competitor’s offerings. If you have a discriminating ear or are a self-proclaimed “audiophile” you’re not going to use these as a replacement to the excellent sound you get from a good pair of wired headphones. What you will appreciate is the higher quality of sound offered through this bluetooth connection. As a handsfree device call quality is equally very good. Clear and balanced sound devoid of extraneous background noises.

Like any bluetooth device the question of signal strength always comes up. The bluetooth connection seems to be very good but you must take in account both devices. I have only connected the S9-HD to my iPhone as both handsfree and for listening to music at the same time. During those occasions the iPhone has been in 3 separate locations. A front jacket pocket and both front and back jean pockets. Each time giving a steady signal as long as both devices were pretty much in line with each other. This seems to be the normal limitation for all bluetooth devices. The maximum distance I was able to walk away from the iPhone in a straight line while listening to music was about 45 feet. At that point the sound would sometimes begin to break up. Also interference from other devices have been a none issue so far.

The fit of the S9-HDs also seems to have been improved. While it is still limited by the shape and size of an individuals head the S9-HDs are pretty comfortable. Getting use to the S9-HD took no real effort on my part outside of the usual trying on the earbuds to see which one I prefer. This headset is very light but won’t fall off your head or pop out of your ears while walking or running. The only issue some may have are when wearing glasses depending to the shape (such as Oakley) as these loop over your ears where glasses normally sit. The earbuds themselves sit just outside the ear canal which doesn’t do a lot for sound isolation but it is sufficient enough to enjoy whatever you are listening to. If the earbuds were turned inward to face the ear canal a bit more they would provide an even better listening experience. There are also only 2 sizes of earbuds. Two of the sets are large and one is medium which also limits who can wear this headset comfortably.

Operation while wearing the headset is excellent. Motorala altered only the button styling but did not their locations making it easy for anyone upgrading from the original S9 headset. I found these buttons much better than the original S9 setup as each on is now raised instead of just the center buttons. This made them easier to find and more confidence when pressing buttons without looking. The buttons also require enough pressure to activate that you won’t make accidental presses when touching or handling the headset.

All in all I am very pleased with this headset thus far. The S9-HDs sound very good, are quite comfortable, easy to setup and use and stay in my ears. While the S9-HD is not perfect, they are a worthwhile upgrade path from the original S9 headset. Motorola has done an excellent job with this headset and hopefully future versions will continue improve and build on this solid design they now have. If you are in the market for a Bluetooth stereo headset then the Motorola S9-HDs should be on your short list of ones to try. At a retail price of $99.99 for the bundle (S9-HD + D650 (bluetooth transmitter) this set is a good value for the money.

Note: sound quality and volume was based on listening to various podcasts, music encoded at 320-bit AAC, standard CD recordings and riding the NYC transit system.


12 thoughts on “Motorola MOTOROKR S9-HD A2DP Stereo Bluetooth Headset with WOW HD (Updated)

  1. I love this bluetooth. It was easy to set up, only took a few minutes. I always use it without the radio because the sound is so clear and you can turn it up as loud as you want there is no need for the radio setup. I have tried the radio way and it is ok too. I was surprised and happy to see how small it is. I dont think you can go wrong with this.

  2. I too have a 2G iPhone (with plans to upgrade to the new model soon.) Does mono audio play through the headphones without use of the D650 transmitter? Only asking because the model at BestBuy where I usually get my gear doesn’t seem to have it included. I’m assuming that the new model iPhone will be able to broadcast audo natively using A2DP so as long as I could get any audio without the 650 I’d be happy to wait until the 3GS.

  3. The iPhone 2G will only be able answer phone calls without the BT adapter. I’m still conducting tests and will continue to do so on the new iPhone 3Gs as soon as I get it. For now if you don’t need it wait until some reports come in on sound and connection quality.

  4. Im considering giving this pair of headset a try… Im getting a deal at new egg for USD 55, but many reviews say that call quality is not good on this one…

    After much of experience how do you feel about the call Quality now..

    I was also considering SONY HBH-DS980 which is altogether different style of headset and costlier considering getting at USD 75.

    I’m really confused which style suits me.. Please reply

  5. @Yogesh Mhatre The S9-HD are one of the better sounding BT headsets you can buy. In my opinion call quality is good although mileage will vary depending on where you use them. Like any other wireless technology other devices can interfere with the wireless connection. So at $55.00 you’re getting a great deal. Try them out and see if you like them. If not return them, try something new and let us know your thoughts.

  6. I have the regular S9’s and love them. Now that Apple has deigned to enable ALL the Bluetooth feature on my iPod Touch 2G I’m even happier. Imagine, volume, track, and play/pause all work. And I tested them with my LG Imprint and the phone function works too. Imagine!

  7. The implementation of A2DP on the iPhone 3G and iPod Touch 2G & above should work with all headsets at this point as long as the headset also supports that functionality. It’s good to hear you’re still using the original S9. Enjoy the extra functionality I too love being wireless.

  8. Hello, I thought this article was very attention-grabbing,
    i’m currently trying to purchase an earpiece for my job and it’s confusing
    which earpiece i ought to get MTP, GP340, DP3400 even though they look
    very similar they’re all different!

  9. Don’t know if I could be much help here because it looks as if you’re talking about 2-way radio earpieces. While I’ve looked at a few from Surefire I’ve never used any. My only advise would be to go with which ever has the best specs you can afford. If it has a return period try it out thoroughly to make sure you’re satisfied with it. If not return it for another.

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s