Finally fed up with replacing my crappy iPhone headphones, I recently decided to explore other alternatives. But I really do like the design of the iPhone headphones, with the integrated microphone, playback, and volume controls, so I didn’t want to just get normal headphones. And I wanted something that would be useful for both phone calls and listening to music. I’ve always gotten a little frustrated with the cord from my headphones, so I decided to see what wireless Bluetooth options existed, and the Motorola S305 headset caught my eye on Amazon, so I ordered them. I’ve had them for almost a week now, so I’ve gotten a chance to really get a feel for their strengths and weaknesses, so I thought I’d write a review and share my impressions.
Spoiler: I would recommend them, but with several caveats. Read on to find out more.
The headphones are light, comfortable, and sound great. They’re relatively slim so I don’t feel like a huge dork walking around with them. Pairing with devices is pretty painless, and they have all the controls on the headphones you would expect, so you can pretty much leave your phone in your pocket and control (almost) everything from there. The battery life seems really good, and they charge with mini-USB, so I think you can just charge them from your computer and avoid lugging yet another charger around (though one is included). Overall, they seem pretty solid, and they’re only $40 from Amazon right now.
I’ve had several issues with them, but I suspect that none of them are the fault of the headphones. First, I use them with three different devices: my phone, my iPad, and my Macbook Pro. They work great with each one, but I often have to shuffle around the bluetooth settings on my devices to get it to connect to the desired device. The headset apparently connects to the first device it finds when you turn it on, so if you have your bluetooth turned for all three devices and you turn the headphones on, it’s a little random as to which it will connect with. This is frustrating, but I’m not sure how you’d solve it, except maybe a button to have the headset jump to the next device it knows about and can find? You can have it connect to your phone as a headset and your computer as headphones, which works great, until you want to listen to music on your phone, and then it won’t work. You have to disconnect from the phone and reconnect for them to be in “headphones” mode. This may just be how bluetooth works.
Also, the “headset” bluetooth profile on OS X is genuinely terrible. Snap, crackle and pop. Listening to music is fine, but if you have to enable the headset profile so you can use the microphone, watch out. I have no idea what the problem is, but it works fine on my iPhone and iPad in headset mode, so I think the problem must be OS X and not the headset. Speaking of Apple dropping the ball, they didn’t implement the protocol in the iPhone bluetooth stack that allows controlling the track, so you can’t skip forward or back, but interestingly you can play, pause, and stop. Go figure.
Finally, a bunch of reviews on Amazon said they stop working from sweat but I’ve worked out with them and no issues so far. Perhaps I’m not sweaty enough.
If you’re looking for a decent bluetooth headset that’s good primarily for music but also for calls, I recommend them, but you’ll have a smoother experience if you just use them with one device. And maybe wear a sweatband when you work out 🙂