capsule review

Motorola H790 Bluetooth Headset

At a Glance
  • Motorola H790 Bluetooth Headset

    PCWorld Rating

Lightweight, comfy, and unobtrusive: That's how I would describe the fit of the Motorola H790. This attractively priced ($80 as of 8/6/09) Bluetooth headset sports an over-the-ear plastic loop. Since the loop lacks flexibility to curve around the ear, it remains in its fixed shape. Admittedly, the loop looks chintzy, but to my surprise, it gripped my small ear just fine.

The earbud felt snug inside my ear canal; folks with larger ears can try out the assortment of replacement earbuds to obtain a better fit. The H790 barely touched my cheek, yet it stayed securely attached to my ear as I walked around and moved my head in all directions.

The H790 has a sliding power switch that shows orange when the unit is turned off and black when it's powered up, and that makes it easy to know whether the headset is on or off at all times. One nice touch that I like is the headset's voice announcement of the battery status ("Battery level is medium," for instance) when you turn the unit on.

Call quality on the H790 was very good; in some cases it was even better than handset quality. My conversations sounded loud and clear to recipients' ears, and the H790 eliminated a good amount of background noise, such as chatter, music, and typical traffic antics. When the noise level increased considerably, callers could hear indistinct sounds in the background--particularly when I stopped talking. I did have a few bad calls, however: One party said that my voice sounded as if I were underwater, and other calls came across as shaky, with my voice breaking up.

At my end, while callers' voices came through clearly, I consistently picked up a noticeable amount of static--irritating, yes, but the crackling wasn't bad enough for me to want to nix the headset and use my phone.

I like that the H790 is compact, but its buttons are a tad too dainty for me. Donning the headset, with the power switch on one side and the volume buttons on the other, required a little fumbling around to get a feel for the controls. The main call button, which activates your phone's voice commands and lets you accept and end calls, is perched at the top of the headset and is easy to maneuver.

For a headset with solid call quality and acceptable background-noise elimination, $80 is a nice price. Plus, the fit was anything but cumbersome.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Pros

    • Lightweight and secure
    • Dedicated power button; handy battery-status alert

    Cons

    • Controls on the small side
    • Nonadjustable loop may not suit all ears
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