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.