Stereo Bluetooth looks set to become incredibly popular throughout 2007. If CES is anything to go by, and that after all is what CES is for, then it looks like we’re going to be bombarded with all manner of devices offering A2DP connectivity, ranging from phones to car stereos, MP3 players to headphones. Apart from the blissful absence of wires, lure enough in itself for anyone who is fed up with constantly trying to untangle their mobile and iPod from a perpetually knotted headphone cable, A2DP often comes in conjunction with AVRCP which allows you to control music sources wirelessly as well.
Although there aren’t a huge number of A2DP standard wireless headsets available in the UK at the moment, Motorola has always been at the forefront of this particular technology and it’s no surprise then that it has been first to market with what I consider to be a decent sized pair of headphones. I personally can’t stand earphones and think they are bloody uncomfortable, so a full sized pair of cans is always my personal preference. And they always sound so much better.
The S805s have an integrated mic with echo and noise reduction for making and receiving calls and they offer play/pause, skip and volume controls accessed by buttons on either side and jog-wheels built into both ear pieces. You charge them via the mains, which takes about 3 hours, and if you want to listen to a non-Bluetooth source, they even come with a 3.5mm cable.
For a device with only two buttons, general operation, setup and pairing is remarkably straight forward. You simply hold the call button to switch the S805s off or on, or hold it longer to begin pairing. When tested with an A2DP compatible phone, I found the response speed for the playback controls was generally very fast and only occasionally lagged out.
Battery life is also very good. You get about 17 hours of playback from a single charge and the sound quality remains stable throughout, only beginning to tail off right as the battery is on its very last legs.
Comfort – always an essential factor in big headphones – is great too. These cans aren’t too heavy at less than four ounces and there is plenty of flex in the construction which means they fit round your head very nicely. If I had to complain, it would be to say that they don’t hang round your neck as well as my battered old pair of Sennheisers used too, but that’s not huge problem.
Take the ‘DJ’ part of the name with a heavy dose of salt. The sound quality isn’t stunning and certainly not up to the standards that any self respecting audiophile would appreciate. Bass tends to twang rather than thumps and rapidly tops out with a horrible jarring sound and the range of mid-end doesn’t fully compliment the lower end sounds. Treble is a bit better though and is crisper and clearer but with an understated feel similar to the bass. A2DP also yields a fair bit of background hiss too.
In fact you can do wonders for the sound quality by keeping the source volume about as low as humanly possible and turning up the S805s up to full. This implies that the more serious sound quality issues are not so much to do with the headphones themselves but the limitations of A2DP. It is fortunate then that the S805s do turn up very loud, but that is counter balanced by the fact you have to keep the source volume so low so that in the end you may struggle to hear properly in noisy conditions such as a busy street.
A2DP stereo Bluetooth
17 hours battery life
3 hours charge time
Control playback and answer calls
Streaming: up to 30ft
In the box: charger, case, 3.5mm cable
Integrated echo- and noise-reduction microphone
Clearly A2DP still has some way to go before it will ever come close to straying on to the level of quality that a wired solution can offer. Likewise, the Motorola S805 headphones have some creases to iron out and getting the best possible sound out of them is fiddly at best, hit and miss at worst. That said though, now that I have them sussed I am pretty keen on them. The fact that I can pause and skip tracks without reaching for my pocket, then answer a call without missing a beat, still never fails to raise a smile…
Related sites: Motorola