Motorola lately updated their previously released Bluetooth Stereo headset HT820 with a stereo Bluetooth gateway addition (called DC800) and this combo is called the Motorola Bluetooth Home Entertainment Solution HT820/DC800.
While the stereo headset supports the standard Bluetooth headset profile (it has a small microphone in the right earphone), it also supports the Bluetooth stereo A2DP profile for music streaming as well as the AVRCP profile to remote control bonded Bluetooth devices. Basically it means you can use the headset for a couple of scenarios: as a headset for your mobile phone voice calls, stereo headset for your (stereo profile enabled) mobile device to listen music as well as remote control your mobile device media player and in combination with a PC as headset for VoIP calls.
The stereo gateway supports A2DP only and can not be used as a Bluetooth dongle with PCs since it misses the required connector. Instead, it is connected via chinch plugs to any audio source. The package includes all required cables, power plugs and chargers including a chinch to chinch cable as well as a 3.5" to chinch cable to connect the gateway either to your HiFi via chinch or any other source (like Media Center PCs or Notebooks) with the 3.5" connector.
Bonding the headset with the gateway is a piece of cake and Motorola made it as
simple as possible that even non-Bluetooth users shouldn't face a problem here,
if they follow the manual. After both devices are paired, the audio stream is
transmitted immediately to the headset. Since the gateway is a Bluetooth class 1
device, theoretically it transmits up to 100 meters which you will not reach in
reality, at least not in closed environments like apartments. However, the range
is good enough that you should be able to roam through your domicile without
loosing the connection between the headset and the gateway. This allows you to
listen your music in stereo, without disturbing others and without staying in
the same room where your media speakers are.
A specialty of the headset is to support (no surprise, since it is
specified that way by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group) concurrent Bluetooth
connections. This means, that you can bond the headset with your Bluetooth
enabled mobile phone and can connect it in parallel to the media gateway. In
case you receive a call while you are listening music, the stereo transmission
mutes and you can take the call. As soon as you hang up, the stereo transmission
continues. With this Bluetooth stereo/headset combo you will not miss a single
If your mobile device also supports A2DP, you can also bond both profiles in
parallel to one single device. For instance you can listen music as well as
making phone calls with your AKU2 enabled Windows Mobile Pocket PC or Smartphone
(see my previous review about the stereo Bluetooth support of
Windows Mobile's AKU2 here).
It works similar to the wired standard headsets which comes with most of the
Smartphones and Pocket PC Phone Editions where these headsets are used for both,
audio and voice. And again the playback is muted or even paused if you receive a
call (the mute/pause functionality depends on the mobile device).
Using the headset as a remote means you can do two things: controlling your
mobile phone (as you might used to do already with standard Bluetooth headsets as well) and
controlling the media player of supported devices.
Also here, Motorola tried to make it as easy as possible to remember the
functions. One the left side of the headset, you have the call start/end button
(which can also activate voice command functionalities of your mobile device, if
supported) and the volume up/down buttons.
On the right side, you have the play/pause button and the next/previous song
As said, the headset functionalities are the same as with standard headsets
and you can accept, reject and hang-up calls as well as you can change the call
volume (as well as the audio volume if you listen music). However, even more
interesting is the remote control functionality which lets you control the media
player of the attached Bluetooth stereo device (as long as it supports the
Bluetooth AVRCP profile which most A2DP devices supports in
addition too). Here you can play and pause a song, jump to the next or previous
one without taking the device out of your pocket. This is more than handy since you
don't need a second (wired) control and provides the best user experience you
If you are not allowed to use Bluetooth in certain environments - like aircrafts
- you can also connect the headset with your mobile device using an included
seperate cable. However, if you connect it this way, the remote control functionality
doesn't works at all.
According to Motorola, a single battery charge last 12 hours for music
streaming and 15 hours for phone calls. That's far more than any Windows
Mobile device can be used for today and should be enough.
The headset is charged with the included power adapter, which is the same power
adapter like used for Motorola mobile phones like the MPx200 or Razr V3.
The stereo gateway and the headset works perfectly together simply trouble-free and
allows you to listen your music up to 100 meters away from the source. Pairing
both devices couldn't be easier. So far so good.
I'm a little bit disappointed about the stereo gateway potentials which is a
pure and dumb audio "converter". Even if it has a mini USB connector, you can
not use it as a Bluetooth dongle with your PC, let's say a Media Center PC. This
mini USB is the power plug only, not a communication plug. This misses the
opportunity to get the music transmitted fully digital, end-to-end, but it takes the analogue
signal from the chinch plug and converts it back to a digital Bluetooth signal.
Also it means you have to buy a second Bluetooth dongle, if you want to use the
headset for bidirectional communication, let's say as your headset for VoIP. At
the end it means you don't need the whole combo, if you plan to use the headset
with your Media Center PC but better buy the headset only plus an additional
Bluetooth dongle which supports the A2DP stereo profile as well. In this case,
you can stream the music from your Media Center to the headset as well as you
can use the microphone of the headset for VoIP communication. Here, Motorola
missed a real opportunity, especially because Motorola also provides such A2DP
enabled Bluetooth USB adapters.
The headset is comfortable to wear (even/especially for me as I'm wearing
glasses as well) and the use and navigation functionalities
are placed well. It's a great headset for both, listening music as well as
making phone calls, even if I have to admit it's a little bit too silent. If you
tune the volume to the maximum, it's still lower than a comparable wired headset.
While it is loud enough in rooms and silent environments, you will notice it in
streets with lot of traffic or loud environments. Also you can definitely hear
weaknesses in bass and highs playbacks. Nothing which makes it unusable but in
the direct comparison with high-end HiFi headsets you can notice the difference.
Maybe the biggest problem, depending how strong your ego is, is the size and
bulkiness of the headset. It's thick, really thick and it looks a little bit
the hairstyle of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in Star Wars.
Not a big problem in Winter, where most of the folks around you might think you
are wearing earlaps but anyway, it looks a little bit strange and therefore I
always get (too) many looks if I'm walking around with the headset.
On the other hand, I don't want to miss the headset anymore for voice calls
in loud environments. While it is not stereo for phone calls, both speakers are
used and therefore you can hear your partner crystal clear.
All together, the headset gets my recommendation, even if it looks and is
bulky (hope v2 will becomes smaller) but the handling is perfect. The stereo
gateway missed the opportunity to be a Bluetooth adapter as well which makes it
more useless for me, since I use a Media Center as my only HiFi but on the other
hand it saves money if you want to use it with your TV, DVD or regular HiFi only
where you don't need a full blown Bluetooth adapter solution which would makes
the gateway more expensive.
The Bluetooth Home Entertainment Solution HT820/DC800 combo is available from
Motorola for 149 Euro, the headset allone is available for 99 Euro.
Cheers ~ Arne