Manufacturers of Bluetooth headsets are in an arms race of sorts in an effort to design and build a headset with the most complete noise cancellation possible. Various headsets sporting an assortment of hardware and software solutions have been marketed over the years as offering high end noise reduction and cancellation, but it has never quite been perfected.
Motorola’s latest high-end headset, the HX1 Endeavor, leverages a number of technologies to provide optimal noise cancellation and voice quality in a wide array of situations. The full review follows the break. (And you can watch TiPB's video hands-on with it at CES here.)
As far as the core technologies are concerned, there isn’t anything earth-shattering about the HX1. The primary tools that Motorola utilizes are their CrystalTalk DSP (Digital Signal Processor), and a bone-conduction technology.
The big to-do about the HX1 is more about how all of the different technologies are implemented. CrystalTalk utilizes dual microphones in order to cancel out surrounding noise and does an admirable job. In my tests, I was able to have a phone conversation while listening to music in my car. Not only did the other party hear me clearly, they weren’t able to hear the music in the background.
The second piece of technology that is heavily used in order to provide the best quality call quality is the bone conduction. For the unfamiliar, bone conduction uses vibrations from the jaw or inner ear in order to better isolate the sound. The HX1 uses an earpiece that fits deeper into your ear than most headsets. The bone conduction is used in what Motorola terms “Stealth Mode”, which uses the bone conduction exclusively in order to cut out the most extreme wind noise. In testing, there was some degradation in the sound quality. My wife described it as similar to when you have water in your ears, which would seem to be pretty spot on considering the sound is being generated from vibrations in your ear.
The HX1 comes with a number of different options for customizing the headset to your ear. A standard ear hook is used in order to provide a secure fit. Because of the fact that this headset lodges fairly deep in your ear there are some comfort issues, but it wasn’t a problem for extended use.
The HX1 provides some of the best noise cancellation that I’ve used. Using CrystalTalk, I was able to carry on conversations in noisy environments without any complaints from the other end of the call. Stealth Mode, while not offering the best sound quality, allows you to be understood in extreme conditions such as high winds or loud environments. Incoming calls are very easy to hear largely because of the earpiece being placed in your ear.
If the Motorola HX1 doesn’t provide the best noise cancellation on the market, it is definitely close to the top of a very short list. This kind of sound quality does come at a hefty premium however. At $109.95 from the WMExperts store, if you require the best sound quality in extreme noise and the price tag doesn't scare you off, the HX1 is the headset for you.