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Review of Bluetooth stereo-headset Motorola S605
Sales package (tentative):
I suppose all headset aficionados remember the Motorola S705 very well – one of those wonderkids with a display and radio that was phone-independent. In fact the market has seen only a couple of gadgets like this – the abovementioned SoudPilot and Nokia HS-12W, a metallic and classy headset. Unfortunately, Motorola’s device didn’t really make it on the local market, for its price tag of around 200 USD didn’t appeal much to the masses. However, I really like the S705 because of its 3.5 mm and handy controls, plus it was a decent performer battery-wise. Today we’ll be examining a new headset that follows in the footsteps of the S705 and at the same time comes in at a much lower price point. This is rather a preview of the headset that will be beefed up with more impressions analysis as soon as we get our mitts on a commercial unit.
As you see, the S605 is a proud bearer of the ROKR brand on its casing, in fact that’s the way all music-minded accessories are to be distinguished from now on; this way, this headset’s full name is Motorola ROKR S605. A change like this in the maker’s naming policy would have made sense a year ago too, but it is better late than never after all. Along with the gadget’s name, its looks has been overhauled as well, so now instead of the very PEBL-ish design of the S705, this one sports obvious cues from the bony and somewhat brutal Motorola E8 – you will easily notice how similar the S605’s and the E8’s edges are, as well as their hold/power switches. I, for one, have a lot of sympathy for this approach, as the new headset’s looks goes very well with the maker’s range of music-centric handsets. The S605 comes only in black with glossy, yet quite fingerprint-resistant plastic, which feels good in the hand. However, its build quality was a little bit on the crude side – I stumbled upon some creaking parts, but I hope commercial units will have this issue dealt with.
The S605 also houses a reliable clothing clip that won’t slip off your shirt or jacket. The top end sports the standard 3.5mm audio jack along with a neat LED and the microphone’s grill. Flipping over to the bottom edge you will find the charger socket. Wisely enough, they have put the ROKR logo on the back of the headset; what is more, most Motorola-branded accessories will employ the same layout, since it is not for sure that its user will own ROKR phones too. The S605 is a pretty diminutive headset after all – it is a little lighter and slimmer than a match box, meaning that it is nothing to worry about; probably you won’t even feel it.
I’ve literally fallen in love with the S605’s well thought out controls. The right-hand spine holds the volume rocker, while on the opposite side you will find the hold/power switch. The front fascia features the Play/Stop button, sitting in the corners (clockwise) are: radio button, pick/hang up key, fast forward and rewind. These are not touch-sensitive pads, but rather mechanical buttons that sink when pressed, plus they are quite soft and responsive at that. Obviously, all these buttons have a couple of functions linked to them, so as to allow for better usability when managing your phone’s player or listening to the radio. The only thing that somewhat disappointed me was the process of hooking up with my handset – for this to happen I needed to hold the pick up key and switch the headset on; I really hope they will change this sequence to a pretty much common press-the-power-on-key-down.
In order to enable radio on the S605, press its shortcut key, what is more, you can listen to it both when the headset is connected to a phone and when using it separately. To jump between stations tap the fast forward/rewind keys, and to shut it down – punch the radio button again. The S605’s reception quality was pretty good for the most part, but when I was underground or in places where strong reception is pretty much impossible, I was happy to turn it off, as I don’t have the nerves to listen to static and noises. As far as sound quality and volume go, I found nothing to fault the headset for. Probably, many are already wondering whether radio with a display is worth a try. If you are used to just listen to music or broadcasts you like, you will definitely have no trouble finding them with the S605. Of course, they could have tacked an OLED single-line display onto it, but I suppose this tiny add-on would have resulted in a heftier price tag. All in all, I was happy with the radio found in the S605; in a way it is almost like the approach exercised in the iPod Shuffle, which is, as you remember, not just an FM receiver, but a real music player on top of that.
The jury is still out on the S605’s battery time – we will definitely post real numbers here after we carry out our routine tests. As things stand today, I’ve been using the S605’s radio for around four days straight (one-two hour sessions, I turn it off once I get bored) and it still has some charge left. So I suppose there are all reasons to believe the headset will do just fine on this front. Other things of note include its microUSB slot that can win over some owners of Nokia-branded devices (like the Nokia N81, for instance).
Connectivity, sound quality
The headset will come boxed with a pretty decent pair of Motorola’s earphones, and it possibly they will be available separately as well (with a short cord). The sales package will also include a couple of earbuds, which is a mandatory thing to have with this type of headphones. Although they don’t make all the difference, the earphones are still quite awkward while in the ear, just like most other units of this type.
I won’t waste your time here with stories on how we tested the S605, or especially, how we tried to pair it with different phones. It did just fine for a prototype unit, all glitches that it has now will be rectified in the final release. In a nutshell, I tested it with the SE W910i and pretty much like the way it sounded. Volume- and bass-wise it trumps the Jabra BT3030, SonyEricsson DS-200, largely thanks to its good headphones that aren't the worst option to go for if you have a music-minded phone. My voice during calls was also quite clear; other calling features didn’t let me down either – redialing, switching between lines, although we didn’t test Skype Calls or multiple connections to the headset. On incoming calls the music (be it from the radio of music player) in the earphones fades out and resumes once you have finished talking. In the case of the W910 I didn’t hear a ring tone in the earphones, though. Effective range – 5-6 meters, which makes the S605 a typical type two device (range-wise).
Speaking of the positives we found in the S605, these are:
It is not a typo that the last item on the list comes with a question mark – it is said the S605 will go for less than 80 USD, which is what we can only hope for. If that’s the case, then the S605 will be literally a steal, a great gadget to have around, especially if you own one of the ROKR handsets. While it has a lot of rivals out there, including the SE DS-200, Jabra BT3030 they are all at least 20 USD more expensive and don’t have a significant edge of the S605 (the DS-200, for instance, has none). That’s why the Motorola ROKR S605 gets the “Highly Recommended” rating from me even before its official release.
P.S. It is good to know that by this autumn the market is bound to see a couple of stellar headsets that will be just as sought-after as the SE DS-970 – which spells a period of great deals for us.
Published 29 February 2008
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