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Motorola H790 Bluetooth Headset Review

In the box:

  • Headset,
  • AC charger;
  • Ear hook;
  • Five earpiece cushions;
  • User guide.

It has been a while since the last article about accessories from the well-known and beloved (one of) Motorola. Well, it's not surprising. There hasn't been anything new introduced. What can you expect from an inexpensive device? In this particular case, you can expect anything.

Build and Design

The headset comes in a plastic shell inside a carton box, which is a nice packaging. It allows you to see the actual device and in principle, won't make it lost on a product shelf in a retail store. The main advantages of the accessory are presented on the rear side Ц that is, "Universal compatibility Ц Our headsets can be connected to any Bluetooth-enabled phone on the planet Ц Nokia, Samsung, LG, iPhone, Blackberry, etc." You can find the AC charger and cushions in a separate department, whereas the user guide is behind the plastic shell. The packaging is excellent and you probably won't feel like throwing it away.

The headset itself appears unusual, too. It is a typical Motorola, from its appearance to the materials used. First of all, it looks more expensive than it actually is, which makes it a gorgeous, luxury product. The front panel is sleek and has a silver finish. However, what I really like is that the panel is covered with a transparent plastic layer, which makes a great general impression. The logo is in its usual place, closer to the rear side; the microphone holes are different in size. Turn the device upside down Ц and you will see some embossed plastic, which is very unusual and interesting. The speaker has a metal grille, and there is another microphone hole on the inside. The control elements feel very nice. In a word, I am astonished; it has been a while since I got my hands on such a sophisticated and ingenious product for the last time. The headset measures 20x52x7 mm, and weighs about 10 grams. It doesn't have a lanyard hook or charger port lid Ц all for the better.

Fingerprints are not a problem at all, since there is embossed plastic on the inside and a transparent layer on the outside. It's clean, tidy, and not cheap.

Usability

By default, the headset has the ear hook attached, which can, however, be removed if you wish. There are special cushions to compensate for the lack of it in the bundle. There is nothing to complain about; the H790 is very comfortable to wear. The regular cushions have an interesting, non-symmetric design with one of the sides being thicker, which makes some sort of a pad. The headset is not discreet wear, although ladies and longhaired fellows can hide it in the curls.

Controls

There is a volume rocker on one side and a power slider on the other, which is a typical headset design. A small and thin multifunction key is on the back. At first, the key doesn't appear very comfortable, but one gets used to it very quickly, albeit it is not ideal.

An LED indicator is hiding in one of the holes on the front panel, and quite successfully, which is another interesting and neat idea.

When the device is on for the first time, it automatically goes into the pairing mode. The main functions are standard Ц i.e. last number redial, call waiting, and voice dial. As a special feature, you get voice prompts (also alerts you when mute is on or off).

The light indicator reflects the remaining battery power; if it goes red when both sound controls are pressed, it's time to recharge.

Battery Life

The producer claims 5 hours of talk time and approximately seven days of standby. It's not that much. The bundled AC charger is a standard issue and will also allow you to charge virtually any microUSB enabled phone. On the other hand, the headset can be charged via USB, although that will take much more time (around two and a half hours).

Dual Pairing

The pairing procedure is standard. Connect to the first phone, turn it off, connect to the second one and turn the first back on. The voice prompts help you through the process of creating the multipoint connection (the phrases are quite simple Ц e.g. "phone 1 connected" or "phone 2 connected"). I used the iPhone 3Gs and Nexus One to test the dual pairing support. No problems there.

Phone Connection and Sound Quality

The headset was tested primarily with the iPhone 3Gs, and I did not experience any connection or other phone related problems. The ageing Bluetooth 2.0 requires you to enter a password (four zeros) to pair with a phone. The device is equipped with a dual microphone array and proprietary CrystalTalk noise cancelling technology. Despite all those tricks, I would put a letter grade A with a minus (a huge one) for the sound quality. The incoming audio stream is clear, the outgoing one is not bad, yet there is always some minor noise out there. You can also experience occasional sound distortions. The headset works just fine in the car or quiet office but not so well in the street.

Conclusion

What I liked:

  • Good design; the headset does stand out of the crowd;
  • Support for dual phone connectivity;
  • Comfortable ear hook and cushions.

Things that could be better:

  • On the whole, the controls are fine, yet the multifunction key is not that comfortable;
  • The battery life is moderate, to say the least. That can be mitigated by the presence of a decent charger and USB charging option, though.
  • Sound quality is not something to write home about.

I bought the Motorola H790 with my own, hard-earned cash after I had spent two months trying to get it from the official distributor. After the tests, most accessories get shelved and later disposed of in some way (sold, exchanged, given out as gifts or competition prizes, etc.)

Apparently, my using the H790 despite its disadvantages makes the perfect concluding remark. The headset is like a slightly damaged apple to me. Those are the tastiest ones, aren't they? The same is true for the headset.

The device is recommended for purchase. As far as the competitors are concerned, there is hardly any when the looks, functionality and price are all taken into account. On a related note, ladies like the H790, too, nearly every single one I had the chance to ask. It's sleek and comfortable to wear, they say.

Let it be like that then.

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Sergey Kuzmin (skuzmin@mobile-review.com)
Twitter    Livejournal
Translated by Olexandr Nikolaychuk (meiam@inbox.com)

Published Ч 19 July 2010

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com

 

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