Motorola H17 Bluetooth Headset for iPhone


When Dieter swoon-ishly told me the Motorola H17 Bluetooth Headset [$89.95 - iMore Store link] was his new daily driver, I knew I had to try it out -- the man is the definition of super-user. And the H17 didn't disappoint. It's my new daily driver as well. What makes it a go-to headset? A combination of form-factor and feature sets, and we'll look at both after the break...


First, a word on packaging. Motorola has been paying attention to the Apple-inspired renaissance in packaging and it shows. The H17, like the rest of their current line up, isn't so much boxed as it is displayed in a rounded metallic box with glass windowed display, the headset purchased atop an translucent stand.

You have to turn the plastic cap at the top with a coin and remove it, then pop off the front panel and carefully pull out the headset, but it works as an experience. Hidden away inside is a box with the extras -- AC charger and manual.

Oh, the slogan on the box? "Flipping brilliant". And it is. IMG_0179

Form Factored

I've always like the Motorola flip form factor but I've not always been wild about the rest of the headset design. Sometimes they're big and unwieldy or just make you look like you're wearing a weird, glowing space saucer on your ear.

The H17 gets it right. It looks professional. Small and darkly understated, it fits well and does its job. You extend the flip -- like a mini mic boom -- to turn it on or take a call, and you fold it back closed to end the call and/or put it on standby.

If you've read my previous reviews, you know my ears have been mashed by years of grappling, so I have a lot of trouble finding headsets that will stay where I put them. The ear loop on the H17 accomplishes that fine. I wear glasses as well, so after a while I do notice the extra loop is there, but even after a few hours it's not uncomfortable enough to make me take it off (the headset, not the ear!). And did I mention it stays in place, where I put it?

There's a simple, exposed micro-USB port for charging, which I prefer over the sometimes finicky flap covers on other headsets, a big call button on the back, and slim, chromed volume buttons along the top trim.

That's it. No muss, no fuss. If Moto were to adopt this design line-wide, they'd get no complaints from me.


Feature Fun

One of the great things about the H17 -- and something we're seeing on more and more headsets lately -- is the ability to pair with multiple phones. I could pair with both my iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G with no problem. If you have an iPhone and BlackBerry/Android/Palm/etc. you can carry both in your pockets and not need a headset on each ear. Or you and your significant other could share one headset between both your iPhones. You get the idea. For gadget lovers in particular, this is a great addition.

It also works well with the iPhone 3GS' Voice Control. Just tap the big button on the back, Voice Control pops up and, via the H17, gives you the tone to signal it's ready. Just say who you want to call and what number -- Rene Ritchie, Mobile -- and the call is placed.

Specs quote 5 hours talk time, 7 days standby. I think I'm getting slightly more than that, but I primarily use it while commuting so I talk less and standby more than others might.

When I did talk, call quality was good for BT and the people on the other end could hear me even with the window down and a good bit of traffic and wind.



Motorola positions the H17 in the mid-range, lower than the Endeavor HX1 yet slightly higher than something like the H720 (and its predecessors). While I like the bone-conduction in the HX1 (and will be reviewing it soon), the total package (i.e. design) of the H17 is hard to beat.

You can get the Motorola H17 Bluetooth Headset for iPhone now for $89.95 (10% off) at the TiPb iPhone Accessory store.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts



← Previously App Hits iPhone, Will Provide State of the Union Streaming

Next up →

Apple Announces Event, Verizon iPhone Rumors Follow

Reader comments

Motorola H17 Bluetooth Headset for iPhone


Yea, I was wondering that same thing. Also, is the 89.99 right? Amazon shows its list price at 69.99 and has it on sale for $65...

I bought my original H17 for $99 at the AT&T store and have loved it for the past two years. However, recently, I lost it and had to replace it. I looked on Amazon and got a replacement H17 for $25 with FREE shipping and am loving it just as I did the one I lost.
You can't go wrong with this Bluetooth headset and now with my HTC EVO 4G phone from Sprint, I am also able to hear text alert notifications and listen to music through the headset as well, when using Pandora or Slacker Radio.
To answer another persons question, I am also able to listen to my podcasts through the headset. I LOVE this Bluetooth Headset. Best one I've owned so far, and I've had 4 different ones over the years.

LeQuang242 I've found the answer to be YES, you can listen to your podcasts through this headset. I do it all the time.

I have had this headset for about a month now. Works very well and I would recommend it. It does NOT play podcast or music through it which was a downside. Overall though it is money well spent. I got it at an office supplies store (one that sells STAPLES) for 69.99 on sale.

I don't find it fugly at all. Not Apple iconic by any means, but sporty/functional looking.
It's not A2DP compliant, so no music, just telephony.
Several of the SPE editors are liking it quite a bit, and that's a good sign. For me, usability is the key feature, and the flip to turn on, push for Voice Control are the features I want right now.

Rene, have you used a Jawbone? I actually just picked up a Jawbone 3 Prime today. Pretty stoked to get it going. It definitely has more of an Apple-esque polished look to it than that motorola does.

Just bought Motorola H17, works great with Droid phones and its A2DP compliant. Download MotoSpeak and you can hear your text, music, and navigation in your ear piece. It also has capabilities to read your email in your ear piece also. Of course it has speed dialing, voice calling the works! So far the best I ever found. I've been using bluetooth ear phones since 2003. I have the current EVO 4G.

guys, does anyone know why my 3GS doesn't want to pair with Motorola H17? I got the bluetooth in an AT&T package and my phone is jailbroken and unlocked for T-mobile. Can it be the reason? Iphone finds the headset, asks if I want to pair with it and then, after pressing Pair, immedialy gives a message "could not pair with Motorola H17". Someone please help!!!!!!! :( Thanks.

I bought mine at tmobil store fir my iPhone 4 and l can listen to music podcast and everything else thru it. My wife bought hers at target for 89 slightly diffrent then mine but she can't listen to music. Mine was 99

I really like the Motorola H17. One problem...when the H17 is turned on, I do not hear an alert that I have received a text message. If I turn the H17 earbud off, the message alert sound is heard clearly on my IPhone. Just not in my ear with the H17 when it is on. Is there a setting to turn this on?

I just purchased the H17 at an AT&T store. I am using it with an iPhone 4 and had to return the first one because it gave me about 8 hours of standby time and after that it would not turn back on. It had to be plugged back in to get it to work again. Is this a known issue? The service rep at the store said she had heard of problems when using this headset with the iPhone.
Anyone else heard of the battery going from full charge to nothing in one day? That is certainly not the performance specs found on the package.

I now have to return the second one. I had it on standby for half an hour and it would not turn back on. When I plugged it back in, it had a full charge (light green immediately) and it turned back on. What is up with this thing? I love the unit and the clarity was excellent when I used it, but I can't be plugging it in every hour!!

This device worked well with my 3G
Not with the iPhone 4, the signal goes in and out, turning on and off. You can't sit the phone down and walk around a room anymore. It's only fit for the garbage can. I had two, but recently lost one because of the turning on and off in my ear.

according to apple tech service this will not work with the iphone4, must use the h17txt model. i don't believe them, but what can i do? the 2 i have work fine the first time after a change, but when the first use is over, they both lock up, have to be plugged into a charger for a couple of seconds, i guess to reboot.

I just got an iphone 4 and the H17 Blootooth and have all the above problems. I took the first one back yesterday, and thought I'd look online for a solution before I took this one back. I read comments on another site & the answer to the "won't turn back on after shutting the boom" question was something like "Oh mine does that too, I just keep a charger for the car and one at work". Oh H--L No! NOT FOR $90.00! Maybe if I paid $50.00 or less, but for $90.00 it should work. Taking these reviews and the H17 back to Verizon tomorrow.

Does anyone know why I have to pair my H17 to my iPhone every time I turn it on? The only thing I can think of is that my husband also has an H17 and I paired to it one time. But it has not been on in a very long time and I still have to pair every time I turn it on.
Also,it does not turn off when I close the boom, unless I close it immediately after a call ends.