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Bluetooth Headset and Carkit Reviews

Motorola HS820 Bluetooth Wireless Headset

Review posted Dec. 2004 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor

Motorola is a big mobile phone manufacturer in the US. As more and more cell phones come with built-in Bluetooth, Motorola offers a Bluetooth accessory product line that provides users with hands free and wireless connectivity solutions. We've reviewed Motorola HS810, their first generation Bluetooth headset. In late Fall 2004, Motorola released the second generation HS820 Bluetooth wireless headset and the HF800, a portable Bluetooth wireless car kit that you can use in vehicle or in office.

The Motorola HS820 Bluetooth headset is very lightweight at 0.8 oz. and is incredibly comfortable to wear for long periods of time. It has an ergonomic design and it's among the smallest headsets we've seen. The Nextlink Bluespoon headset is smaller. The HS820 has also updated Bluetooth version to 1.2 from the HS810's 1.1 version. The newer version of Bluetooth is much more robust and indeed offers better compatibility for faster connections, better audio quality and improved interference rejection.

The Motorola HS820 has a bullet shaped design and comes in three front cover color schemes (Teal Blue, Gray and Glossy Black). The silver multi-function button sits on the front cover above the LED. The volume up and down buttons live on each side of the headset with a charging port on top of the headset and a mic hole on the bottom. The earphone is extended out slightly from the headset to better aim the sound firing to your ear canal. The direction of the ear-hook can easily be changed for either ear. It has a flexible joint that allows you to open the ear-hook and loop it over your ear to put the headset on quickly. The headset is very comfortable to wear thanks to the lightweight and ergonomic design. Buttons are well placed for easy access. The boom sits naturally close to your face and points to the front for max outgoing speech volume.

Pairing the headset with cell phones is easy and painless. Turn the headset off; then hold the multi-function button until the blue LED light remains on. Discover and pair it with your cell phone or PDA using the default "0000" passkey. Even though Motorola includes only a few of their phones in the compatibility list, the HS820 will work with most Bluetooth phones and supports both Hands Free and Headset profiles. We tested the HS820 with variety of smartphones including the Nokia 3650, Motorola MPx220, Audiovox SMT5600, HP iPAQ 6315 and the Treo 650. All devices paired with the HS820 without a hitch. The Motorola headset can store pairing information for up to eight (8) different devices. Devices are stored in the memory in the order entered. If you pair it with more than 8 devices, the oldest device will be removed from the list.

The voice quality is very good on all devices with exception of the Audiovox SMT5600 which has a lower volume but is still quite usable. You can adjust speaker volume by pressing the volume buttons on each side of the headset. When you change the headset from right ear to left ear orientation, you can change the volume button orientation as well. The HS820 performed in range differently when used with different phones. When using it with the Motorola MPx220, the Audiovox SMT5600 and the HP iPAQ 6315, we got close to 25 foot range (distance between the phone and the headset). With the Nokia 3650, we got about 10-15 feet. The worst range we experienced was when using the HS820 with the Treo 650. It starts to have cracking noise and ugly interference at about 7 feet.

The Motorola HS820 handles road noise and reasonably windy conditions well. The Bluetooth update should help improve noise canceling and with the boom close to your face it picks up your voice better. We tested the HS820 with normal road noise and with the window down on expressways, and found the voice quality is quite good and clear. Voice quality performed equally well when speaking with both mobile and landline users in our tests.

The Motorola HS820 supports a good set of phone features such as voice dialing, call waiting, conference calling and voice command. Please note: not all cell phones support these features. Cell phones with the Hands-Free profile generally give you more functionality through the headset. Check the user guides of both your phone and the headset to find out how to use features such as redial a number, hold/resume a call and reject calls. The headset does not have a Mute function.

The Motorola HS820 has a rechargeable battery and can be charged using an included Motorola standard charger. Make sure that the charger connector is face down while the headset is facing up. It's very convenient if you are already using a Motorola phone with this headset since you only need to use and carry one charger. The LED will stay on while charging and turn off when the battery is fully charged. The claimed talk time is 6 hours and we got about 5 hours in our tests. If you don't use the headset for 5 minutes the LED will turn off but it's still ready for you next call . The claimed talk time is 100 hours and it's sufficed to say that it's quite long.

The package includes the Motorola Wireless Headset HS820, a standard Motorola charger, User Manual and a Quick Start Guide.


Pro: Ergonomic design and light weight make this headset a good choice for heavy headset users. Smooth pairing with up to 8 devices will ensure a broad user base for this product. It has good voice quality and efficient noise canceling. Supports many phone features such as voice dialing, call holding and voice command.

Con: No mute function.

Price: $79.99


Shopping: Where to Buy


Motorola HS820 Bluetooth Headset

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The HS820 is much smaller than the Plantronics M3500 (right).




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