Already a satisfied S9-HD owner? Don’t know if you should upgrade? Wondering what the S10-HD offers over the S9-HD? Well, let’s take a look together at Motorola’s latest creative effort and figure it out.
Motorola is not breaking away from thebasic design and shape of their first S9 headset to try something new. Instead, they opted to making minor tweaks and changes along the way in hopes of improving it. These modifications have given the S10-HD a more modern look and feel than its predecessors, bringing it closer to resembling a wired headset. All the control buttons except the power button remain in the same place so there’s no learning curve for S9/S9-HD owners. The only real adjustment would be because the buttons aren’t as pronounced as with the S9/S9-HD so you may have to feel for them a little longer. The power button has been slight relocated to the center in the back underside of the headset along with the LED indicator light. The new miniUSB port has also been relocated to the left of the headset in the back (previously located on the underside of the headset). Motorola is taking the design to the next level by rotated the back portion of the headset (which contains the battery) 90° from vertical to horizontal. This not only looks better, sleeker and more symmetrical but also feels better in my opinion. The ear loops have also been slightly tweaked in the curvature which should make for a better fit and feel. I’d prefer some sort of adjustability in this department but Motorola will probably never do it. The new sealed design is very welcomed compared to the previous S9/S9-HD headsets. Although I haven’t tested the “sweat proofing”, I don’t see this headset shorting out with normal use during exercise. My only complaint with the current design is the white rubber on the earpiece. I can see this getting real dirty for those who use this for outdoor activities or any type of intense physical activities on a regular basis.
I’m not sure where to start. Motorola states these are “HD” and “brings your music to the next level”. The previous S9-HD not only has SRS WOW HD technology built-in but you could turn it on and off. There appears to be no implementation of either of these technologies inside the S10-HD. After listening to both both headsets the S9-HD out shines it’s successor by leaps and bounds. I never expect bluetooth sound quality to be on par with higher priced wired headsets like the Shure SE350, but I do expect decent full surround sound which the S10-HD fails to deliver. To be thorough I tested both headsets using multiple EQ settings on my iPhone 4 including custom variations I setup in iTunes then syncing them again to the iPhone. Even doing this I was not able to reproduce the same or similar sound as the S9-HD. Motorola missed the HD mark entirely. To make matters worse the volume for anything but voice related audio such as podcasts, audiobooks and phone calls is insufficient. I don’t need my ears blown out but the lack of volume is a real disappointment. Bass is almost none existent adding to an already unbalanced and just horrible listening experience. HD if implemented which is what is stated has been done totally wrong here.
I really wanted to like the Motorola S10-HD they have a good look and feel but their failure to deliver quality sound, sufficient volume, bass or abalanced EQ puts them in my don’t buy category. These headsets are only good for phone calls, podcasts and the music listener who doesn’t care about sound quality but just wants to hear their tunes without wires. I did not test the claimed run time of 8 hours because it failed sound tests so proceeding any further made no sense. If I can’t listen to it for 3 hours (which I did) I can’t fairly test it for 8+ hours multiple times to get a decent battery life average. Even at the $79.99 price point I can not recommend this headset to anyone who even remotely cares about sound. The S9-HD are still a better buy even though their more sensitive to sweat. For now I’ll wait to see if Motorola offers a second pair with better sound like they did with the original S9 by later offering the S9-HD. If not I’ll see what they do in 2011 with the S11-HD?