Monday, February 15, 2010

Motorola S9-HD Review and Notes


Just bought the Motorola S9-HD, stereo bluetooth headphones. Thought I'd throw up some first impressions and notes.


How does it sound? In a word, muddy. Not $5 generic muddy, but certainly not as good as even my JVC marshmallows. They're okay for watching movies. Good for listening to well-known music while doing the dishes. I don't think I'd listen to too many new albums with these headphones.


The frame is made of hard plastic that has a little flexibility in order to "cling" to the wearer's head. Getting the proper fit takes a little getting used to.

The earbuds themselves are huge. I'm assuming they're not supposed to fit inside the ear canal like some other earbuds. I'm fine just letting them rest at my ear's opening, not trying to make any kind of seal.

Not very comfortable. As with all earbuds, it takes a while for my ears to get used to them, but after a little over an hour of continuous use, my ears are pretty sore. I may have to report back on this after some more use.


They paired with my Nokia N900 effortlessly. Pairing them with my HP Laptop took a little more work, because I've just upgraded to Windows 7 and hadn't installed the proper drivers. The headphones were recognized, I just couldn't use them until I found and installed the proper bluetooth drivers (not specific drivers for the headphones, but specific bluetooth drivers for the laptop).

The S9-HD has buttons for answering a call, skipping to the next track, skipping to the previous track, play/pause, and volume up and down. These all worked well with my N900.

Note that the volume up/down buttons affect the S9-HD's internal volume, and don't change anything on the devices it's paired to.

Windows Media Player recognized the hardware buttons on the headphones with no digging through settings.

Winamp has an option for "multimedia key support" (under "Global Hotkey" settings in "Preferences"). Turning that on allows the buttons on the headphones to control it's playback, though you can't pause music in Winamp, you can only hold the play/pause button down for a few seconds and stop the music completely.

If, like me, you don't like Windows Media Player, there is a freeware program called "Media Keyboard 2 Media Player" (MK2MP) that forwards the bluetooth button presses to VLC, XMplay, and iTunes.

Final Verdict

I haven't had these earphones long enough to test battery life, so I can't comment on that. Like I said, sound quality is a little muddy, but decent. The earphone-based controls add a little extra functionality and work pretty much as expected.

Is it worth the price? If you're after the best sound quality, no. If you're after some wireless headphones that you can use to watch videos on your laptop without the hassle of cords, maybe.


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