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Treo A2DP Stereo Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones Review

Best Bluetooth Stereo HeadphonesThere is no doubt that Bluetooth Stereo Headphones for your Treo are becoming increasingly popular even though for now only the Windows Mobile Treo 750 fully supports the A2DP and AVRCP profiles required for use with these headsets.  Having said this, many Treo 680, 700p and 650 owners have recently also been able to enjoy the freedom of wireless audio thanks to an application called Softick Audio Gateway – the first Bluetooth audio streaming solution for PalmOS devices.

Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones

The latest set of stereo Bluetooth headphones that I’ve had the opportunity to test are the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones pictured here and I have to admit that in a very short period I’ve come to like them at lot.  So much so in fact that they have now become my preferred headsets (combined with the ActiveLife WorkoutCase) for running in the morning because the lack of cables makes it that much easier to move freely.

Clearly the Motorola S9 headphones have been designed with this “active” lifestyle in mind as there are no cables of any kind to fumble with, there are no small pieces that could go missing, the entire headset is extremely light and solid, the combination of hard plastic, rubber and black/red color further enhances the “sport” look while still being discreet enough to use in any situation.

Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones

The back of the headset (above) features a simple and large On/Off button, indicator light and also the charging connector – all of which are covered in red rubber.

 Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones

The left ear loop provides touch sensitive volume controls and also the Call Answer/End button while the left side offers track Forward/Back controls as well as the Play/Pause button.  The speakers are large, loud and comfortable and three sets of different shaped and sized ear cups make it easy to find your perfect fit.

Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones

Aside from the three sets of ear cups, the Motorola S9 kit is pretty basic and includes a wall charger but suprisingly and annoyingly for a headset priced above $100 no USB charging cable is included (my only complaint really).

Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones

As I mentioned earlier, I found the S9 headphones to be extremely comfortable to wear for long periods of time – at only 36 grams the weight is easily balanced between your right and left ears – barely noticing that you’re wearing them.  The cantilevered design also ensures that the back of the unit normally “floats” over your neck without actually touching it.

Separately, I found Bluetooth audio quality and volume to be extremely good and I was also particularly impressed by the range which allowed to easily move over 5 meters away from my Treo without any sound distortion.  Inbound and outbound call quality is also good (a rated 6 hours of talk time) but for extended calls I feel that dedicated Bluetooth Wireless Headsets are still a better choice.

Overall what I like the most about these new S9 headphones is how simple to use, comfortable to wear and extremely solid they are – a combination that makes them ideal for sports but equally great if you just want to listen to music or watch movies while on the go.  Although I won’t be replacing any of my favourite Bluetooth headsets to make calls I am nonetheless now happily keeping the Motorola S9 for my morning runs.  My rating: Very Highly Recommended.

Treonauts always enjoy something new


Posted by Andrew on May 17, 2007 at 09:33 AM

Treo Accessories , Treo Bluetooth , Treo Bluetooth A2DP Headphones

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Comments

1
by mbh513 | May 17, 2007 11:54:33 AM

I just got these and they are fantastic! I bought them to replace the Motorola HT820-tired of looking like Princess Leia. I use them with my 650 and have absolutely no problems. I downloaded the most recent version of Softick Audio Gateway and the whole setup is perfect.

2
by Michael Hildebrand | May 17, 2007 12:24:42 PM

I assume that seen you can receive calls, it has a reliable, and good sounding mic?

3
by dafttreo | May 17, 2007 3:23:13 PM

Alright, as a runner myself, you've got my attention. Currently I utilize Sennheiser's PMX70 Sport Line Stereo Neckband Headphones coupled with a Smartphone Experts Stereo Adapter. I've found this to be a pretty good running solution for my Treo 680. The wireless capability of a Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones piques my interest though. Now let's go into greater detail: does the back of the unit (where it appears all the weight is) bounce on your neck while running? How well do the earbuds stay in your ears while running? You say the weight of the unit is comfortable, but are the buds comfortable in your ears over long durations? And as to sound quality, how does it rate (with music, for example)? Thanks for bringing these headphones to our attention.

4
by justin | May 17, 2007 6:02:53 PM

will they work with the 755 for sure?

5
by Andrew | May 17, 2007 7:47:45 PM

dafttreo - coincidentally I also happen to have the PMX70 for running...

The back of the S9 does not bounce on your neck and the earbuds stay in extremely well (no chance of accidentally falling out). You need to find the right bud fit but personally I found no problem listening to music a couple of hours at a time. I'm no sound quality expert but I'm very happy listening to my music with these headphones.

Justin - they may work with the Treo 755p once Softick Audio Gateway has been updated - I don't know what the current status is as I have not tested them with the 755 yet.

Cheers, A.

6
by mike | May 17, 2007 8:36:24 PM

is there a built in mic for talking on calls or do you have to speak into the treo mic?

7
by Homer | May 18, 2007 12:23:30 AM

I bought the plantronics 590A which is nice. But the softick audioGateway on my treo700P is complete Garbage. I pretty much locks up the phone whenever a call comes in and I'm constanly reseting the phone to get it to pair back again. Definly not ready for prime time. Pluss it started draining my battery bigtime! Can't wait for a treo that works with a stero headset from the getgo.

8
by mbh513 | May 18, 2007 10:03:01 AM

Just took a call on the S9-the person I was talking to said they could tell something sounded a little different. I could hear them fine and they could hear me. It didn't sound tinny or far away. The only thing I have noticed is when you are on a call, the headset only works in the left ear but when you play music, it's in stereo. The HT820 did both in stereo.

9
by Peter | May 18, 2007 6:37:17 PM

I bought the s9 for my wife's upstage but, of course, I had to try it with my 650. It worked pretty great with the afore mentioned softick audio gateway software. As of today, the s9 with the audio gateway software DOES NOT work on my 755p. I read on another forum that a person received a response from softick support saying they are trying to release a beta version of audio gateway that will be compatible with the 755p in the next few days. As soon as they do, I'll let you know if it works.

10
by Gil | May 18, 2007 9:15:57 PM

I tried pairing it with the 755p and it does not work. When paired it pairs like a headset and you can only hear it while making calls.

11
by dmm | May 19, 2007 10:00:09 AM

Gil--see Peter's comment above yours. I can't tell from your post if you have Audio Gateway loaded--it won't work without that, and it looks like enough components/software have changed from the 700p to the 755p to warrant a change to Audio Gateway. Keep your eyes peeled or subscribe to their RSS feed for updates.

http://www.softick.com/bluetooth-audio/

12
by Arnold | May 21, 2007 12:16:03 PM

I just got the S9, and the audio Gateway software. Did anyone have this problem? When playing music it is fantastic, but when I take a call, it works but after the call is hung up the Ptunes or Realone player will freeze and then the music will play with the external speaker for a breif moment, then the palm will freeze? I have to do a soft reset to start over but it happens everytime I make or take a call. Please help someone?
Thanks

13
by Peter | May 21, 2007 10:21:27 PM

I just installed the new Softick Audio Gateway 1.12. The S9 worked flawlessly on the Treo 755p. This is a great headset. I know from personal experience that it works great on the Treo 650 and the Treo 755p.

14
by Darryl | May 26, 2007 10:34:10 AM

I dunno. My S9 just arrived in the mail compliments of Amazon. I find them uncomfortable, and i mean really uncomfortable. I've tried the various earpieces and none of them seem to work for me. After only a few minutes, they are really painful whereas I couldn't even think of running with these things.

I've got a Treo 750 and while I can hear fine, people who I am talking to tell me it sound slike I'm talking under water. I had my son try then on while I talked with him and the sound definitely is muddy (and he was standing inside my house), can't imagine what they would sound like if you're outside or in a crowded place full of ambient noise.

I'm going to return mine. And I was VERY excited to get them too. Quelle Dommage. I'm currently using the Motorola h700 bluetooth headset, altho maybe I'll try the Jawbone. The 750 comes with a wired stereo headphone that will have to suffice until I find a better alternative.

15
by Jason | Jun 5, 2007 1:22:09 AM

I have a Treo 700w (Verizon) and just bought a pair of S9's. After searching all night, it seems I may have made a foolish purchase. Will I be able to use the S9's with my Treo 700w?

16
by Jason | Jun 5, 2007 11:32:32 PM

I was able to make my S9's work with my Treo 700w. However, after I downloaded and installed the software that makes the S9's work, now the volume on my Jabra JX-10 is very faint. I am not able to increase the volume. I paired the Jabra with another phone and the volume works fine. If anyone can, help!

17
by aviston | Jun 7, 2007 1:34:27 PM

How did you install your headphones to your 700w and make them work.. I have some motorola ht820's and they dont play music through them.

18
by Aloke | Jun 25, 2007 6:52:59 PM

Even though Motorola claims that the S9 is sweat and moisture resistant, that claim was severely tested by me.

On the first bike ride (2 hrs, 34 miles), with sweat poring in rivulets off my large head, the switches in the sides shorted out after about 90 minutes. The small touch sensitive switches to control the volume and the next/previous track were the problem. The bigger switch in the middle (pause music, pick up call) were OK.

The symptom was that I heard a series of muted beeps like when you increase volume, the volume went to maximum and could not be reduced (I had to place the earpieces out of the ear-canal for the duration of the ride).

I wiped off the headset with a moist cloth, took off the rubber earpieces, and let the unit dry off for 24 hrs. The buttons started working again. Yay!!

On my next such 2 hr bike ride, after about 1 hr, the "volume up" and the "next track" controls stopped working. The tracks started changing in a random manner, with no way to stop that behavior. This time, even after a cleaning and waiting, the controls remained defunct (even in phone calls).

I exchanged the unit for another at Best Buy (they handled this very nicely..). I am thinking of using the S9 only for daily car-pool commutes and casual use in my office etc. Too bad, I was really hoping to use this during my bike rides.

Summary: While I did sweat profusely into/on my S9, I did not swim or immerse it, or use it in poring rain. It still malfunctioned under those conditions. Consider this a warning, in case someone is planning to (ab)use this the same way.

Treo+SAG1.12 worked very well throughout this period.

I am planning to e-mail Motorola with my experience, hoping that it helps them design their future products (I could even test those for them )

19
by dsantana | Jun 28, 2007 8:35:41 AM

Thanks Aloke for sharing this info.
I found the same problem myself, and was looking at another case.
In my situation I used the S9 to run, and after 20 min same issues occured, sensitivity on the track change buttons was affected by sweat flowing down my head and the headset, everything stopped woking and even ater trying to 'fix it' by cleaning/drying, it never worked again...
Too bad, as I really liked the S9 headset, and found it very confortable to use. I hope they fix this for the next release.

20
by charred_water | Jul 3, 2007 5:47:36 PM

I have Treo 650 with Softick audio gateway 1.12 (latest), pTunes 3.1.1, RealPlayer 1.6.0.

The sounds works great. The volume buttons work. But the pause, FF, RW buttons have no effect on either pTunes or RealPlayer.

I also have Freedom utility installed. Could that be a problem. I disabled it. No change.

Would appreciate any suggestions.

21
by Aloke | Jul 4, 2007 9:21:59 AM

I had emailed Motorola describing my experience with the side buttons (too touch sensitive) and water resistance. Here is what they said. Not very helpful, but FWIW:

"the S9 was designed to be moisture proof, direct drops of water or sweat on the device may cause it to malfunction, we appreciate your feedback, people like you help us improve our products to make them reliable and user friendly, thank you for taking the time to let us now about this."

22
by frank | Jul 25, 2007 11:23:01 AM

Yeah... s9 is weird like that.
Using mortplayer 3.31 rc7 and widcomm bt stack - avrcp and a2dp work great. Sound quality is wonderful. Using for extended periods is great!!!
BUT
those vol(up/dn) and track(next/prev) are tooo damn sensitive!! the wind blowing can erroneously trigger.
is weird, when exit mortplayer I experience rapid fire auto-volume changes (beep beep beep beep...)
AND
those ear peices are very painful even for 10 minutes or so - just feels bad. Adjusting them usually results in accidental track, volume changes.

x51v axim dell a12 wm5 english widcom .50 speedswitch and flowcontrol reg set to 0.

23
by sam | Aug 5, 2007 5:17:21 AM

Hi Folks

I m from London just got my s9 it did work couple of days fine but now only one speaker works when i play music does any one know wot shud i do.
ta

24
by Shawn | Aug 6, 2007 2:14:06 PM

I had the exact same experience as Aloke. I just took my new S9 out for a long run yesterday for the first time. I loved everything about the experience - fit, sound, and convenience. But then just over an hour into the activity the "volume up" button apparently shorted out and it maxed out. I shut the thing off and on and continued with it set and a moderate volume - which I could not adjust either way. Later I realized that all the flush buttons were ineffective, only the proud pause/play button worked.

25
by Louis | Aug 6, 2007 11:04:43 PM

I also had same problem with buttons and sweat. Used S9 with my Treo 650, SAG1.12, pTunes, took it out daily to run for 1 hr. Everything was great for a few days, then track change buttons stopped working. Returned them to Amazon, got another pair, same problem after a week, this time volume down button was also affected. Got a refund but I really liked the design. Look forward to a new release.

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