LINKS: The S9 headset’s instruction manual and quick-start guide
NOTE: Some S9 users have complained about their S9 music skipping during playback. I do NOT experience this EVER when playing music from any of my desktop PCs. However, this will happen VERY occasionally when playing music from my Motorola Moto Q 9m phone. The issue is either with the phone’s weak processor or issues accessing the MicroSDHC card where the music is – it is NOT the S9 headset or it would happen when playing music from my PC as well.
Like so many other states around the nation, my home state has felt it necessary to ban the hand-held use of mobile phones while the operator is also engaged in the operation of a motor-vehicle.
I had already made a personal decision to accommodate the hands-free use of my mobile phone during driving by installing a smart-phone cradle in my Monte Carlo. This allows me to use the speaker-phone feature of my Motorola Q9m and keeps my hands and concentration upon the road. (I still, however, must quickly close the windows and sunroof while turning down the radio)
Nonetheless, I opted to also purchase a Bluetooth stereo/hands-free headset for the additional utility of severing the wires of my battered PC headphones at home and at work. So the search was on, and I wanted the following features:
- Bluetooth version 2.0
- Handle both phone calls (HFP – Hands Free Profile) AND music (A2DP – Advanced Audio Distribution Profile)
- Optionally support remote audio control i.e. Play/Pause/Skip (AVRCP – Audio Video Remote Control Profile)
- Optionally Class 1 – 100 meters range (Class 2 – 10 meters – acceptable though as that is my phone’s range anyway)
- Decent in-use battery life, 6+ hours
- Relatively unobtrusive appearance and lightweight
- Reasonably priced – around $50
- adding a Bluetooth v2.0 + EDR Class 1 USB PC Adapter – reasonably priced at around $20
Not long into my search I happened across the Motorola "MOTOROKR" S9 Stereo Bluetooth Headset which seemed to offer virtually everything I was looking for. It was very compact for being a stereo headset, and barely weighs an ounce. It was also rated at over six hours of playback time. The overwhelming majority of reviews of the S9 were quite positive. I then saw the price – nearly $100 everywhere – and started to lose interest. I decided to try EBay and found Motorola had apparently made some significantly lower priced bulk-packaging offerings of the S9 to mobile retailers which had also found there way onto EBay and into other e-tailer stores. With this option, you did NOT get the "carrying pouch" or spare ear-plugs, which was fine by me! I quickly found a store-front offering a bulk-package S9 for $52.95 shipped. While ResellerRatings.Com had limited information on this e-tailer, EBay reviewers were positive of their EBay store, so I placed my order. NOTE: NewEgg.Com has the OEM kit for $47 shipped – CLICK HERE!
Next to buy was the PC USB Bluetooth v2.0 adapter. I found that Azio offers a Bluetooth v2.0 + EDR Class 1 USB PC adapter (BTD603-132) which had everything I wanted. Reviewers spoke positively of the device and of the included software, noting it used the Toshiba Bluetooth stack. I decided to give it a try. I found it for $22.30 shipped at Directron.Com. I had already used Directron with great results for a few other purchases, so I placed my order straight away.
The Azio PC USB adapter arrived quickly, and I was able to install it without any issues. I was quickly linked up with my Motorola Moto Q9m and able to pass objects and files using 3mbit EDR without any problems. This was cool, but not my primary interest as it was not a big deal to connect my phone to the PC using the USB cable, and was required to utilize ActiveSync anyway. I really wanted this adapter to use with a wireless headset. My S9 headset, however, was delayed in shipping. I did not receive it in time for my beach trip (annoying!), but I spent the entire day on my return just experimenting with it.
The S9 headset’s instruction manual and quick-start guide was very easy to use. I quickly determined where all the ports and controls were. I was instructed to charge the headset for two hours. I found that the power adapter’s USB-style end did not easily push into the headset port. I was able to slide it in partially – just enough to get the yellow flashing indicator – but it did NOT go into a solid red indicator like it was supposed to. A little firmer push finally seated the plug in all the way and set the indicator light to a solid red (meaning under 25% charge). After about 30 minutes, the indicator went to yellow, which means 25% or higher charged. After the two hours minimum, the indicator became green which means fully charged.
Instructions suggest pairing the S9 headset with your phone first, so this I did. I powered on the phone and made sure Bluetooth was on and visible. I then turned on the S9 by pressing-holding power on for 5 seconds. The headset powered up and then went to a solid blue indicator meaning it was in pairing mode. I went to my Moto Q9m Windows Mobile phone’s START>BLUETOOTH>BLUETOOTH MANAGER option and selected 1. HANDS FREE. It stated it was CONNECTING and found/listed the MOTOROLA S9. I selected it, and the phone asked for the S9 passkey. I entered 0000 as instructed in the manual and it connected. The phone then stated that it discovered the "STEREO HEADSET" feature was available on this device and asked if it should also enable/pair that feature. I responded YES. And that was it!
All the S9 features worked flawlessly – both the hands free phone feature (only utilizes the left speaker) and the stereo music with remote control. Sound quality is nice, but understandably sub-par on bass. I then had a friend place a call from my Moto q9m phone (while upstairs) to my home phone, which I answered from downstairs. The S9 utilizes CSR’s BlueCore3-Multimedia integrated DSP (Digital Signal Processing) and CVC (Clear Voice Capture) – a world-leading echo and noise cancellation technology. This was plenty evident from the clarity of that call. Voice sound was much stronger than I expected given the lack of a directional microphone.
Next – to pair the headset to my PC. I plugged in my Azio USB PC Bluetooth v2.0 adapter and launched the PC’s Bluetooth Manager software. I then TURNED OFF MY PHONE to make sure it did not interfere with the PC/S9 pairing process (you could also just power off the phone’s Bluetooth feature so you don’t miss any calls). With my phone completely powered off I also powered off my S9 headphones. I powered the S9 headphones back on to once again place it in Discovery mode (automatically happens when it realizes it can’t connect back to the phone). I then clicked the NEW CONNECTION button on the PC’s Bluetooth Manager window. It discovered the Motorola S9 and prompted me for the passkey. Again I entered 0000 as instructed in the S9 manual and it connected! Apparently it enabled all available profiles automatically as I was not asked individually on each, yet all features worked fine in testing with Windows Media Player. I did notice, however, that the music control – play/pause/skip – sometimes caused the headset to disconnect from the PC, requiring me to power-cycle the S9 to get it to reconnect.
A distance test of the S9 proved I could get nearly the full 10 meters when talking on my phone, and anywhere in the house when listening to music from my Class 1 adapter on the PC. Also – the headset worked really well while paired simultaneously to both my mobile phone and my home PC. I was listening to music on my PC and received a call on my mobile phone. The PC music was paused while I was allowed to answer the mobile phone, and the music resumed afterwards!
All in all, I am VERY pleased with both the S9 headset and the Azio Class 1 Bluetooth v2.0 + EDR adapter. I strongly recommend either product.