CrystalTalk is Motorola’s latest audio technology that is reported to deliver maximum audio performance in even the noisiest of environments. The Motorola H12 Bluetooth Headset ($89.95) is Moto’s first headset to incorporate this technology. According to Motorola, CrystalTalk uses dual microphones to cancel out background noise, enhance your voice and channel pure, clear audio directly into your ear. On paper, it would seem the H12 is leading the pack of mini-headsets on the market today.
To see if CrystalTalk and the Motorola H12 deliver the maximum audio performance, read on!
Out of the Box
The Motorola H12 is a lightweight headset, weighing only .4 ounces, and is very similar to the Motorola BH680. Measuring 1.65 inches long and .7 inches wide, the H12 is a smidgen larger than the H680. The best way to describe the headset’s diamond cut metal surface is sleek.
The H12 comes packaged with two charging cradles, the AC adapter, a few ear buds of assorted sizes, a Quick Start Guide and a clip that allows you to snap the headset to a shirt button. The headset also has a clear plastic ear hook that can be reversed for left ear use.
I don’t understand Motorola’s thinking on providing two chargers. One is a charging case (just like you get with the BH680) that the headset sits down into that the other is a stylish cradle that the headset leans on. Both charge through magnetic contacts and with only one AC adapter, having one in the office and the other at home doesn’t make sense. I would have preferred a single charging cradle and a means to charge the H12 in the car instead of the two cradles. As is, the cradle is the only way to charge the H12 and probably the H12’s greatest limitation.
The H12 has a dedicated power button which is nice because there is no doubt as to whether the device is on or not. Volume keys are found on the top side of the headset and a main button rests on the top surface of the H12. The buttons are large and easy to manipulate while the headset is worn as well as when it’s not. A small LED light is just below the main button to alert/confirm functions through various blinks and colors.
The H12, after fully charged, goes into pairing mode when first turned on. Pairing the H12 with my Samsung BlackJack II was uneventful and in a matter of seconds, I was connected. The Bluetooth connection between the phone and headset was strong. No static was present when carrying the phone on the opposite hip in a case.
The H12 was extremely comfortable to wear. While you can wear the headset without the ear hook, the hook was not uncomfortable and added a level of security to the wear. The shirt clip is an interesting accessory which allows you to clip the H12 to a shirt button. It’s essentially a “U” clip that goes around a button and the H12 snaps in between the thongs. Using the shirt clip is a little awkward and takes some time to get used to. While it adds a level of convenience, I prefer a lanyard carry option better.
I was interested to see if CrystalTalk was as good as Motorola claimed. Earpiece volume was good but a little muffled. Increasing the volume helps but you still have a slight muffle to the volume. In looking at the ear bud design a good portion of the earpiece is covered with the rubber ear bud. At first I thought the cut out was dependant on the ear bud size but the other ear buds had small cut outs for the speaker as well. Taking the ear bud off noticeably improved the volume but made the H12 noticeably uncomfortable to wear.
Microphone performance and volume was good, maybe a touch better than any other headset on the market. In using a normal tone and volume, my voice came in clear. Background noises such as traffic and the air conditioner were almost eliminated. Louder noises such as the car stereo were filtered out nicely.
The H12 has a nice feature set including last number redial, call reject, voice dialing (phone dependant), call mute and call hold. The H12 also has the ability to answer a second call or reject a second call. The LED confirms these actions as well as alerting owners to low batteries through a series of colored flashes. Battery life is rated by Motorola to be approximately 8 days of stand by time and 5.5 hours of talk time. With the limited charging options, battery power should last you the day or in between destinations when traveling.
So is the Motorola H12 Bluetooth Headset ($89.95) with CrystalTalk technology leading the pack of Bluetooth Headsets on the market today? The H12 is a solid performer that is comfortable to wear, has good microphone performance, a good feature set, and decent battery life. But with the volume muffled by the ear bud design and limited charging options, if it’s leading the pack it’s not by much.
I have to recognize the dedicated power button one more time. This feature of the H12 is something that other headset engineers should strongly consider. I’ve tested several Bluetooth headsets that power on through the call/main button and it is difficult at times to tell if the headset is on or off. I’ve caught myself staring at headsets waiting for the blinking blue light and turned the headset off when I thought I was turning it on too many times. It’s refreshing to look at the headset and know for certain the thing is on or off. It may be a minor feature to some but I think Motorola hit the nail on the head by having a dedicated power button.
Compared to the Motorola BH680 Bluetooth Headset ($59.95) the H12 is more comfortable, has slightly better microphone performance but the BH680 has slightly better speaker volume and battery life. Otherwise these two headsets are almost equal.
I really think if Motorola redesigned the ear buds the H12 would be very hard to beat even with the limited charging options. As is, the H12 simply makes choosing a mini-headset a little harder to make. It should be on everyone’s short list.