Monday, November 3, 2014

Moto Hint: A Tiny Bluetooth Experience (Review)


There are a lot of options out there for bluetooth headsets. I mean a lot of options. A quick search on Amazon and the results are in the hundreds of thousands. Narrow that down to just "Cell phone related accessories" and the results shrink, but just barely. So how do you make a final decision for such as device. My advice? Comfort, ease of use and clarity. I recently toyed with one that has all three of those.

The Motorola Moto Hint is probably the tiniest bluetooth headset I've personally ever touched, or ever seen for that matter. In fact, I'd call it more of an earpiece. It doesn't wrap around your head, or neck or even over your ear. It is small enough to fit right inside the deepest depression on the outside of your ear. 




Comfort
Because of the unusual way you wear it, I was very curious about how comfortable it would be. The part that touches the ear itself, is rubberized. It has a definite grip to your skin when you touch it with your fingers, it does not slip or fall out of place. The "stem" fits in to the ear canal. As you would expect, that's where the speaker is and all the sound is focused directly into the ear. Being that it is literally in the ear canal, and not just sitting on the outside of the ear canal, like an earbud, the sound is low and fairly quiet at first. You control the volume with the device it's synced with such as your phone, tablet, or computer. Turned all the way up, it never hurt my ears, nor did it ever get too loud I had to quickly turn down the volume. 

To insert the Moto Hint, you would start holding the hint more of a vertical angle (around 80 degrees), place the stem into the ear canal, then twist the bigger side of the Hint downward so that it rests in a horizontal position. 


Due to its light weight, it's easy to forget that it's in your ear. That could be a bad thing as well as a good thing. But the fact that outside noise is muffled due to the Hint being in your ear, your easily reminded that it is still there. Long periods of use did cause my ear to grow sore a little bit. I would find myself removing the Hint, and feeling a little bit of discomfort. But rubbing my ear relieved the discomfort quickly. The fact that there was any discomfort though, has to be taken into account when we talk about price later on.


How Does It Work?
The Moto Hint comes in a small clear plastic package about 9 inches long and 2x2 square shaped. Inside is the Hint, a charging case, a USB to micro USB extender (5 inches long), three different sized rubber tips, and some "start up"/"warranty" paperwork. The charging case helps the Hint make it through the day. The Hint itself has a tiny battery that will get around 3 hours of use. Paired with the charging case, you will extend that use up to 2 more full charges. Getting about 10 hours total. The case is the size of a tube of lipstick. It's small enough to fit in a jacket pocket, but a bit too bulky for a pants pocket. Especially work pants such as khakis or suit pants. It was also a little too bulky for my Levi's 559 jeans. It's very important to have it on hand though. Keeping it easily accessible in the car or at your desk will prove beneficial.


The case and the Hint both have battery indicator lights that blink white when charging or steady white when fully charged and not in use. Its important to note that it doesn't glow white while in your ear. When the charging case battery is fully depleted, the indicator light glows red. The case has a micro USB charging port on the bottom. Charging the Hint itself, is a different story all together.

There are five small pins inside the charging case and five small connections on the underneath of the Hint. Slide the Hint into the charging case so that the connectors match up with the pins in the case, then slide the case shut to start charging the Hint. It charges fairly quickly too. I found it convenient to charge either during lunch or during a work meeting. Both times I didn't want to be interrupted but could start using the Hint again as soon as I was done with either. Because it was so easy to charge, I didn't find the battery dyeing hardly ever, which sincerely surprised me. 


The Moto Hint will connect to your phone via bluetooth, so to get the process started open your devices bluetooth settings menu and put it into discovery mode. Now, as I described above, place Moto Hint in your ear. It will fit in either ear, the same way. You will hear Moto Hint prompt you that "Moto Hint is in ray to pair". Watch for "Moto Hint" to appear on your bluetooth settings to pair the Hint, select it and then your set. Like most other bluetooth speaker connections, you can choose to hear media, phone, or both media and phone through the Hint.

Simply placing the Hint in your ear turns it on. Removing it from your ear turns it off. I have no idea how it knows, but it does, and it works 100% of the time. After you've connected the Hint to your device once, it will automatically connect it each time you place it in your ear. 

Aside from taking phone calls, when paired with the Motorola Moto X, the Moto Hint also acts as an input for all the usual "Moto Voice" commands, the ones that typically follow your "OK, Google Now" to wake up the Moto X phone. Also when connected to the Moto X, and with Moto Assist activated, you will hear the Moto X talk to you through the Moto Hint. You can also respond to the Moto X prompts through the Moto Hint. In a way, it's a perfect pair. (Throw the Moto 360 into the equation and who knows what you'll get?)


Buying Options
Motorola offers six different color options for the Moto Hint, and each have a matching charging case. The Moto Hint is sold directly from Motorola's website and will cost you a stifling $150. But price is like beauty in the eye of the beholder.  I may not be willing to pay it but it may fit your life and budget perfectly. 

The six different color options are:

Dark Fabric
Brown Leather


Walnut 


Bamboo


Light Fabric
 

Black Leather

Final Thoughts
The Motorola Moto Hint is a very cool new bluetooth headset. The size and ease of use make it a very enticing gadget. It fits nicely in the deepest part of the outer ear and the discomfort mentioned before, truly is minimal and choosing the right rubber tip helps minimize it even more. The cost is $150. And for that fact, it wasn't the right headset for me. I used bluetooth in the car via my bluetooth stereo system. However, I think the Hint would be great for anyone who doesn't have bluetooth connection in the car already. Especially someone whose job may consist of a lot of travel. 

I also think the many colors options make the buying process intriguing. However, it's hard to find each option available. It's a hot item right now and most colors are out of inventory. It's pretty much been that way since they were announced in August. 

If you work on the road or if you don't have a car with bluetooth, I think you will find the Moto Hint very helpful. If you pair it with the new Moto X, I think you will double the pleasure of this tiny yet efficient Motorola bluetooth headset.

Have you tried the Moto Hint? What did you think? Does the Moto Hint have a good place in this world as a valid bluetooth headset option? In the right conditions, I think so, do you?



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