We have seen the S9 headset before, bundled with the Motorola Z8, here on Pocket-lint. Motorola have now teamed up with David Beckham and launched a Fitness Music Pack. But is this a welcome accomplice as you pound the pavement? We get running to find out.
The main feature of the fitness pack is the Motorokr S9 headset. The S9 is a Bluetooth behind-the-head type headset, i.e., it loops over your ears and round the back of your head. As this is a wireless design, all the technological magic needs to be contained in the band, hence the blob at the back.
The S9 can be charged from a regular Motorola charger, or mini USB, which takes about 2 hours, giving you 6 days standby or 6 hours of music according to Motorola. We found that unlike a regular Bluetooth headset, because you might be using this for a couple of hours a day, you’ll need to charge it regularly.
The headphones feature controls just above the earpieces, which will allow you to change volume, answer calls, pause and skip music tracks, meaning you really don’t have to mess around with your phone whilst on the move. The system is pretty easy to use and we encountered no problems from a control point of view.
The headphones, of course, also operate as a handsfree kit, so your music is stopped when the phone rings and you can then receive your call as normal – you may not wish to do this on the run, or you might see this as a significant bonus on long training days.
However, to keep this gadgetry on your head requires a little more than just plug-power from the rubber cups in your ears. To get round this, Motorola have shaped the band so that as it passes over the top of your ears, it will grip the side of your head, and this is where we encountered the first problem. We found it uncomfortable, and despite the skull-grip of the S9, when running they had a tendency to bounce because of the weight of gubbins the back, despite being only 32g.
However, the sound quality was good, the firm seal in the ears meaning bass was well represented, however, as this is a Bluetooth device, we also noticed the occasional drop out which could be annoying on longer runs. The S9 headphones are water and sweat resistant so will stand up to the ardour of life on the running track.
You also get an armband in the kit, which is of two-piece construction: the armband and the carrier for the phone or music player. The armband features wide elastic strap that provides plenty of adjustment and considerable support to reduce bounce. The phone carrier part then attaches via Velcro, which is substantial enough, but somewhat bulky. The back has a key compartment and although the headphones are waterproof, no consideration has been given to waterproofing the armband.
Of course, Velcro means that any passing opportunist can make off with your phone, but at least with this being Bluetooth, if the tyke gets a 10 metre lead on you the music will stop – what a training incentive!
You also get the charger in the box and a protective bag for the S9 headphones.
As a sports option, being wireless is nice, although, as comfort is paramount, you’ll need to try before you buy. Despite the wireless element, in a sports capacity, we still prefer Sennheiser’s excellent PMX70 for the serious business of running whilst listening to music.
The S9 look the part and sound great, but as a sports option you’ll have to try before you buy to see if this will meet your needs and be comfortable enough to wear on the run. The armband is not the best on the market and doesn’t feature any sort of weather proofing, but will do the job.
Something of a mixed bag, the Fitness Music Pack from Motorola, adorned by David Beckham is an evolution of the S9 headset, rather than a considered final solution.