Motorola S9 Black Neckband Headsets

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Epinions Product Rating: Very Good
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A bluetooth headset that preforms decently

Jan 6, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Lightweight, controls on headset itself, sound quality is better than expected

Cons:Some connectivity problems, skipping problems, weak for making calls, pricey

The Bottom Line: You're going to sacrifice sound quality and have some problems, but is countered by the freedom gained by listening to your music wirelessly.  I'm giving it a very high 3.


I got this headset when I bought my Motorola ROKR Z6 (cell phone) which conveniently match the phone.  I've had them for a long time now and the wireless stereo sound, even if it is only limited to 5 hours, has been great.  Although I did find a few problems, overall I am surely satisfied and, if need be, would purchase these again.

I can't say for sure that the design is ideal for everyone, but I personally am a fan of the black and orange look. The glossy black and rubber feel fit with the stereo headphones and the controls fit perfectly on the sides. One of my 2 biggest issues with the design is that, after a while of wearing these headphones, the sides of my head start to hurt. Since the headphones stay balanced on your head by squeezing to the sides of your head I can't fault Motorola for this design choice because it remains still on your head but sometimes it can be bothersome.  It may not effect everyone the same way, too.  The other issue I have is that I fear these will, overtime, stretch out and become to loose, although I can't really prove this and it hasn't happened yet. Another issue that some people might be turned off by are the actual ear buds. The headphones themselves include 3 sizes but none of them are noise canceling like what you'd expect in higher-end headphones that are priced similarly. Although I am pleased to say they don't hurt overtime like I was expecting them to, but they still could be better quality wise.

As I mentioned before, there are controls on the sides of the headphones. These are for making calls (if your using a cell phone, otherwise it can mute), play/pause, volume, and skipping through your playlist. I found all of these buttons pretty convenient so I didn't half to keep taking my phone out and looking at it. Some people probably thought I was weird when I was touching my headphones every few minutes though. Other than those, there is a power button on the thick, back part of the phone that houses the charging location as well. The charging spot is concealed by a small rubber flap.

There are draw backs I found in everyday use with the S9 headphones, though. I'll just mention right here that I am speaking of personal experience with use on my cell phone, other devices may and will most likely be different in performance. For starters, using wireless headphones is nothing like using wired headphones because you don't just plug them in and start listening. First you half to turn bluetooth on your phone or mp3 player and connect them. After you initially do this you can keep your bluetooth on your cell phone or mp3 player on and just have them automatically connect when you turn the headphones on, but its still not as convenient as wired headphones. The other issue I had was skipping. At times I have had huge problems, other times its a non-issue. I've noticed my headphones skip, or play back choppy, when I first turn the headphones on, but lately this is not really an issue. Recently, though, I noticed that most of the times it skips or there has been problems is when I'm outside (i.e. when I'm walking from class). I'm guessing this is due to interference and that there is generally more wide open space, especially during the day. Also when my phone is farther away from my headphones or when I'm wearing thicker layers (i.e. in deep pockets or thicker pants or even when the phone is upside down) the playback is sometimes less smooth. Interference from other devices could be a problem to. When sitting still or walking in doors or smaller areas the performance is nearly perfect, though. All in all, though, they preform decently most of the time but certainly aren't flawless.

When speaking in terms of cell phone use, I wouldn't recommend these headphones at all. It has a number of issues. Most importantly, it shifts from stereo sound to just the left ear for calls which is extreamly annoying. It also sounds much louder which is bothersome as well. Also, I've had people who couldn't hear me at all with these headphones and I say its just not worth the trouble so I usually just use the handset, unfortunately. Although I never planned on using these for phone calls to much anyway, but it certainly would have been nice. Of course just by looking at the headphones you can tell they might not be great for calls.

*Another important thing to note is that most states, probably all, don't allow you to cover your ears with headphones when driving, so if you use this for making calls when your driving, even though sound is only coming out of one earbud, you might have problems explaining it to an officer.

I wish I could say I used the S9 headphones for other mobile devices but wasn't able to. Other than mobile use, these headphones work perfectly for laptops. In fact, if you are looking for bluetooth headphones for your laptop only I would recommend these highly because I have ran into no issues past syncing them. It took longer than expected (I had to change your default playback method) but once it was set up, the headphones sync automatically almost every time. Not only that but the buttons work with Windows Media Player (unfortunately I haven't had them work with WinAmp yet) to control your music. I haven't experienced much, if any, skipping in playback. Of course since most people tend to stay in one spot there shouldn't be a problem anyway, but if you like to get up and walk around I was able to walk a good distance away without loosing my connection. I didn't try to use skype or anything with these headphones so I don't know if its better than use with a cell phone.

Another fallback of the S9 headphones include its battery life. But this isn't exclusive to these headphones, in fact 5 hours is pretty standard. For me, though, I think its pretty poor to get 5 hours out of something that took 2 hours to charge. Even though 5 hours is on par with other offerings, like Logitech's bluetooth headphones, it is unfortunate. Considering the size of the S9 headphones, 5 hours actually seems somewhat impressive. I wouldn't count it as a pro or con, though, just because all in all its about standard at this time. One other problem I have heard about, but haven't experienced, is the headphones shorting out during exercise. These are supposed to be great for those who exercise because Motorola claims them to be water proof and because they are so light weight. Well I have used them in light rain with no issues but I've heard of people shorting out their headphones with sweat from exercise. I can't confirm any of it but its what I've read from others so it may be something to note if its important to you.

One of the most important things people have on their minds when discussing headphones is sound quality. I saved this for last because this, in my opinion, is not something that you can just mention one line about. It needs its own paragraph. I found that the S9 headphones did much better than what I was expecting. I was buying these thinking they would be somewhere between poor and decent. At the quality of laptop speakers or the quality of most included headphones that come with mp3 players. The first time I wore them I was surprised but the sound got even better when I choose the right earbuds that fit better in my ears. Overall its still not as good as in-ear headphones or the Razer ones I reviewed before. And while the treble gets most of the attention the bass does have a noticeable sound that becomes more distinct when you use an equalizer. If you have a good equalizer or bass boost it can sound pretty good, but the bass is still weaker than what I have come accustomed to with in-ear headphones and noise-canceling ones. The sound is much better than I was expecting but I can perfectly understand people who don't want to sacrifice sound quality with wireless freedom. For me, though, not having a wire is worth the weaker quality simply because of not worrying about snapping the wire loose and all the other hassles that come with wires, depending on what I am doing. At times I want that good quality, but if its ambient music, casual listening, or on-the-go its not a huge deal to me. But the benefits of no wire are just much more comfortable.

In Review:

Build: Lightweight design that works nicely with the side controls. Can become uncomfortable after long use. Important to choose right sized ear buds that come with it.

Sound quality: Nothing outstanding but certainly better than what one would expect from wireless headphones. Works better with equalizer. Call quality (talking to and hearing from) is uncomfortable and doesn't work to well with these headphones.

Features: More than I was expecting, side controls work great with many devices and are useful. Wireless freedom is hard to go away from. Also, a nice carrying case is included that looks just as attractive as the headphones itself. Battery life is pretty standard.


Recommend this product? Yes


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