"Pretty good 1st iteration"4.0 starson by schmenge123
Pros: great controls and feedback; good build quality; clear noise-cancellation; decent bone-conduction
Cons: stealth mode could work better; awkward to put on or wear for extended periods
Summary: The military applications of bone conduction mics has been proven in the spec-ops community for years, providing clear, intelligible communications even under very demanding circumstances. Motorola's version of Invisio's Q7 has been eagerly awaited and feared as vaporwear. But the wait appears to be worth it. The HX1 is a very credible (albeit imperfect) version of true bone-conduction technology for wireless BT.
Motorola got it right to boot the HX1 into CrystalTalk, its version of noise-cancelling mic. It is clear and loud, and perfectly fine for most applications. As the default mode, this works. But for noisy or windy environments, Stealth mode, using bone-conduction, is a revelation. Standing near loudspeakers with both music and voices at high levels, callers just couldn't hear it. I could hear them perfectly (the earpiece sits in the ear canal, shutting out lots of ambient noise) and they could hear me fairly clearly as I spoke in a normal voice (though not as well as through CrystalTalk).
The trick is in the fit. I found the HX1 did not stay tightly in my ear canal. It has a tendency to work its way out to sit more loosely in my ear than is optimal for Stealth. Switching to Stealth would be frustrating for callers because I had little volume and sounded very muffled. But if I repositioned the earpiece, callers reported 50-60% for volume and intelligibility. However, if I held the earpiece (finding the sweet spot took a little time), callers reported 80-90% volume and clarity. That's pretty good. Of course, nobody really wants to be holding the earpiece for optimal sound, but it sure beats pushing my old BT to my ear, a finger in my other ear, and shouting as loud as I could to be heard. I'm more than happy to use a headset that actually WORKS in noisy environments. This is the best BT I've tried in this regard, bar none (and I've tried plenty).
The controls are very clearly laid out and easy to find and activate without inadvertently pushing something else. The audio chimes and feedback are very nice (it even gives you the battery level upon startup), and pairing is simple for up to two phones. The on/off switch actually toggles, which I find much less prone to accidental power-ups or shutdowns in my pocket. And it's easy to locate and turn on unless you have very large fingers. Talk and stand-by times are pretty good, and the earpiece, while not as sleek as some, is not heavy.
Putting the headset on was a challenge at first. The earhook, necessary to keep the unit in place, was awkward to put on. I finally found that if I keep the earhook vertical to the speaker, and pushed the earpiece into my ear, I could take a finger and lift the earhook up and over my ear, and push it into place. With a little practice, it wasn't too hard to put on, but certainly not as easy as other headsets I've use.
The earpiece is not the most comfortable to wear for long periods, although it seems to be less of an irritant now than when I first started using it.
This is an excellent first try for Motorola. If I had to rate it only for its Stealth ability, I'd give it 5 stars in that it actually works. There's room for improvement, and I'm excited to see where Motorola takes this in the future.