Motorola HT820 Bluetooth Stereo Headset Review

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Working with a Bluetooth-enabled computer

Here is where things get really interesting.  Naturally, we wanted to use these headsets with our computer with applications like Skype and MSN Talk.  We already have a few computers with either built-in Bluetooth connectivity, or a Bluetooth-USB dongle.  Our current PC test rig has a Belkin F8T012 PC Adapter running WIDCOMM?s Bluetooth Software (version 4.0.1.2500).  We also are using a PowerBook G4 running OS X ?Panther? with built-in Bluetooth connectivity as well.  When trying to use the Motorola HT820 with our existing setups, we were unsuccessful. There were a variety of issues that initially stopped us from using this set:  Our Mac running OS X recognized the headset, but didn?t let the headset pair with the computer; when trying to pair the HT820 with our PC with Bluetooth dongle, again, the set was recognized and even was paired, but not usable.

Finally, we had success when we used Motorola?s Bluetooth Stereo PC Adapter PC850.  This is the Bluetooth dongle that Motorola recommends for use with the DC800 and HT820.  After installing the Motorola PC Adapter, we were able to pair our PC with the HT820 and use Skype wireless.  The sound and voice quality when using Skype was fairly good.  It wasn?t high-fi, but it was cool walking around the house talking to friends.  We found the range from the PC to be at least 30-40 feet.  In fact, it was hard for us to get the HT820 out of range.

We ran into disappointment again when playing CD quality audio ? the music was not stereo quality at all.  The best we got was ?cell phone? quality audio which, for this audiophile, was highly disappointing.  This is not the fault of Motorola though, as it goes back to how Bluetooth protocols are implemented in PC adapters right now.  We certainly hope that in the near future, more companies will make their products compatible with all Bluetooth protocols.

Final Thoughts

Weighing in at 100 grams, the Motorola HT820 is a solid, if not heavy wireless headset for use with your cell phone, Audio-Video System, and home computer.  When using the headset in conjunction with Motorola?s Bluetooth Home Stereo Adapter DC800, the sound quality is excellent.  Unfortunately, you can not get this same quality with your PC using native Bluetooth connectivity.  The closest thing you can get is ?cell-phone? quality sound with Motorola?s PC Adapter PC850.  For most people with Bluetooth enabled PCs or laptops, and for those who already have Bluetooth PC adapters, it is probably not worth the investment of another $60-$100 in equipment for PC connectivity.

With a behind-the-head design, this headset was feeling quite heavy after long-term use.  My ears really started to cry after an especially long session of Battlefield 2 and needed a rest.  Also, check your local ordinances and state laws on the legality of covering both ears if you plan to use this set while driving.  The HT820 is not exactly a set for those who want to be discrete when on the phone, but those looking for a wireless stereo headset for use with their Audio/Video system should definitely consider the combination of HT820 and DC800.

Legit Bottom Line

The Motorola HT820 is a great stereo headset with a street price of $100. It is built for the future supporting AVRCP and A2DP Bluetooth protocols so that a user can listen to stereo sound from either their cellular phone or personal computer. Unfortunately, these protocols are ?coming attractions? and to get anywhere close to full wireless stereo functionality, one must look at getting at least $60 worth of accessories in either the DC800 or PC850.  Users of the Treo 650 need not apply.

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