Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I carry a Motorola Razr cellphone.  (Don't laugh--it works, and the contract that I had to sign when Verizon "gave" it to me is long expired.)  I also bought a Bluetooth headset for it when I started driving back and forth to Bend, Oregon.  Partly this was because Oregon law prohibits using a cell phone while driving, except if you have a hands-free headset.  Partly it was because it is a pretty good idea, especially if you are driving in heavy traffic or dangerous conditions (such as was often the case when driving that road in winter).

I have never been entirely happy with this Motorola H500 headset.  The sound quality is definitely inferior to using the phone by itself.  "You sound like you are in the bottom of a well," I have been told.  Worse, if I am driving with the top off the Corvette, the rushing wind makes the headset unusable at almost any speed--and certainly not at freeway speed.  Even without the headset, I can't hear and all the other end hears is a hurricane.

A few weeks ago, the earhook that latches the headset to your ear broke.  After seeing today's news story that the World Health Organization now believes that there is at least a plausible connection between a type of brain cancer and prolonged cell phone use I decided that it was time to get that headset fixed.

I went to the local Wireless Toyz store (yes, that's the name) on Orchard, mostly because it is a nice walk from my job, and partly because the last time I was in there to buy a phone charger, they seemed like nice enough people.  I explained what I needed: a replacement earhook, which I knew could be purchased separately.  They did not have them, but the salesman explained that if I called up Motorola (and he gave me their phone number), that there was a good chance that Motorola would just mail me a replacement earhook, to encourage brand loyalty.

But while I was there, he proceeded to make a case for buying a new Bluetooth headset, because the newer ones have better sound quality than the H500, they stay on your ear better, and (here was the selling point), he had one for $30 that had a sound-cancelling feature that limits noise to a very small bubble immediately around it.

So, I bought it.  On the way up the street, I called Motorola, who was quite prepared to sell me a replacement (so much for buying brand loyalty) but they did not have any in stock.  They told me to contact Amazon.com, and sure enough, when I searched for "H500 earhook replacement" I found this: a collection of four of them (two black, two gray) for $2.38.  Of course, shipping more than doubled the price, but still, I can now get this H500 operational again, and get my wife (who spends, as near as I can tell from reading the phone bills, 130% of her commute on the phone) to start using it.  (She doesn't drive a car without a top.)

The noise-cancelling does indeed work very well.  I spent several minutes talking to my wife on it before explaining that I was using a Bluetooth headset--she could not tell--and normally she can.  I also called her while driving with both windows open at 50 mph--she could only hear a slight sound like a waterfall in the background.  I could have bought it from Amazon for $17.65, but with shipping it would have been only a tiny saving--and I have it today.

The only real irritation about it is that it does use the same connector as the Razr.  (It does seem to be the same connector as my wife's LG cell phone--which is a bit wider and flatter.)  On the plus side, it comes with a USB adapter, so I can recharge it from my desktop at work, or a laptop.  I don't know whether the promised eight hours of continual use promise is valid (the Razr's battery will give out before that), but I do notice that it went from out of the packaging (and presumably not charged) to fully charged in about ten minutes.


Minicapt said...

Just note that the conclusion announced by the WHO is not based on a study, but on a study of studies. No primary data were outraged in this process.


Sigivald said...

The WHO report (or more accurately the reporting about it) is, in plainest terms, bullshit.

Cell phones can't cause cancer (microwaves just don't damage DNA!) - all the WHO is saying, really, is that nobody can prove they can't cause cancer to their satisfaction.

(Which is a shame, since the WHO is actually usually better about such idiocy.)

The whole "cell phones cause cancer" thing is a vampire that simply will not stay dead, despite the utterly immense weight of scientific evidence against it.

Windy Wilson said...

Regarding your RAZR, watch it when the battery dies. I had a kyocera Smartphone from 2002 which I REALLY liked, in spite of it being big and heavy (it had good integration of the Palm system with the phone, including dialing from the phone list). When the second battery died late last year, the phone was unuseable because there is an internal battery that keeps your data while you change the main battery. Take this main battery out for a new one, and Poof! your data has gone to the great bit-bucket in the sky. 152 phone and address entries gone and never more to be seen (the sync backup was on the old computer). If your RAZR has a sync function, use it if your battery is getting old.

Robin said...

Interesting that you like that N500 Clayton since the only review is more negative. I'm thinking of picking up a new bluetooth headset.