I remember owning the world’s first bluetooth headset from Ericsson (HBH-10) back in 2001. My, it’s rather weighty and comes with a limited-edition large biscuit-tin box with loads of accessories and a bluetooth receiver to plug to your compatible Ericsson phones.

10 years later, I received a Motorola bluetooth headest HX550 for review. It’s so small and feather-light at only 9 grams, I can’t even feel I’m wearing it. The unit has 3 hardware buttons: the volume up/down and the answer/hang up button. The flip doubles as a switch to turn on and off the unit.

Besides the weight (or lack of), the experience is much improved. It comes with voice-assisted audio prompts to inform you of the headset status. For instance, when you turn on the headset by flipping out the mic pickup, the headset will inform you whether it is paired with any device. It will also remind you with instructions on how to pair the headset with your phone device. When your headset is out of range from your paired device, you will also hear the announcement. But once you are back in range, the headset will also inform you via the voice prompt. No worries of compatibility issues, as the HX550 can pair with any mobile devices that supports the usual Bluetooth profiles.

The headset will inform you of the battery level every time you switch on so that you will not be caught with battery issues. Speaking of battery, the HX550 has a great battery life. I did not do any scientific tests, but you can rest assured that the phone battery will drain faster than than the headset itself. You can easily charge it with a micro-USB cable.

What I also like about the headset is the ear hook is easily adjustable to fit any ear. You can also pair this headset with up to 2 devices at any time. And the headset will automatically switch to one of the devices when there is an incoming call.

I’m amazed with how the HX550 instantly connects to an incoming call when you flip open the headset to switch it on. Motorola calls it the RapidConnect(TM) feature. If you are a casual headset user who do not wear it constantly on your ear, this method will save your battery life extensively.

Other noteworthy features:
– RapidCharge: 15 minutes charge gets you over 4 hours of usage
– Talk Time: 9 hours
– Standby Time: 16 days
– 300 feet range

If there is anything to nitpick, I’d say that the music playback quality is no match for the stereo bluetooth headsets which may be more practical but is double the price of the HX550. The size of the headset also means it can easily get lost in your bag. But if your life depends on owning a wireless handsfree solution, then I’d say the HX550 is a fantastic piece of gadget.

Chester writes for XinMSN.

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