Review by Kelly Keltner
Despite the word “Droid” plastered everywhere, the new Motorola CommandOne Bluetooth headset ($100) has already become my friend. True, it’ll never learn to pronounce my name correctly, is misunderstood by some of my other friends and has questionable fashion sense. We remain friends, however, because it’s easy to understand and comfortably fits in my ear. It’s unlike most relationships, but it works for us.
Sound from the CommandOne is good. Callers are crystal clear, and even at mid-volume, the sound is crisp enough to earn a nice golf clap. This is true whether you’re listening to a friend praising (or complaining about) their iPad or listening to music via the headset’s A2DP technology.
The earpiece doesn’t require that feeling of being rooted into your ear canal to work, so those who fear overly-intrusive headsets due to fears of suddenly being called on by the Cyber-Controller won’t have to worry about being upgraded due to a bad choice in headset. Instead, the headset’s earhook secures the piece to your ear, allowing your ear to breathe (even if it does make you look a little like a half-Lobot).
When pairing the headset, a phantom voice sounding somewhat similar to Darth Vader tells you exactly how much battery life the headset has remaining. This is also indicated by an icon that appears next to the iPhone’s own battery life indicator. Battery life is decent, close to its rated talk-time of five hours.
Cosmetically, the whole piece is really light and plastic-y, and it almost feels like a cheap child’s toy. When it comes to fashion sense, the CommandOne won’t find a place on either the worst or best dressed list as it plays it just a bit too safe.
Controls are a bit befuddling too. The volume controls consist of two rubbery buttons on the side of the headset. With the mute button just down below the two volume controls (and very similar in texture), getting used to actually controlling the volume instead of muting your call takes a bit of practice. At the top of the headset is a slightly more awkward call button that feels so-much like the rest of the headset that I typically found it easier just to answer the call through the iPhone’s touchscreen.
Plugging the headset into the charger is a bit awkward with the charge socket located on the top of the headset in the middle of the call button. Because of the curved shape of the call button, I usually found myself making two or three unsuccessful jabs at the socket before successfully connecting the headset to the charger.
Speaking of phantom voices, the CommandOne also announces callers by name using Darth Vader’s phantom girlfriend as call announcer. Unfortunately, all the names come out sounding awkward including my own name, which is announced as “KEL-EYE” when I first pair the headset with my phone.
I should also mention that the headset’s mic only does an average job of canceling out background noise. Substantial noise in your vicinity makes your voice come out a bit static-y to people on the other end.
Perhaps one of the biggest issues for iPhone owners and the CommandOne is the iPhone’s incompatibility with the Motospeak app (similar to the issue we found with BlueAnt’s Q2), which allows you to dictate and hear your texts through your headset. As this is one of the CommandOne’s biggest selling points, this might also be one of its biggest drawbacks for iPhone users.
Overall, the CommandOne is a comfortable, clean-sounding choice with some trick features, but misses the mark in places that should be some of its biggest draws, such as noise cancellation and the whole MotoSpeak issue with the iPhone.
This is Primo Headset Week, and we’ll be test driving all the high-end Bluetooth headsets we can lay our hands on.