Hands-on with the Motorola Miniblue H9

It may not be the world's smallest anymore, but make no mistake, folks: Motorola's Miniblue H9 is really small. Of course, manufacturers have pretty much perfected the miniaturization of Bluetooth circuitry to the point that headset design has been more a question of aesthetic design for some time now -- so is smaller necessarily better when it comes to these suckers?

Some may remember the H9 better as the H5, the alias it'd been given when Moto teased us with it the first time around over a year ago. Nothing seems to have changed other than the name, which is just fine by us -- the original looked good, and more importantly, it was microscopic which seems to be the angle they're going for here.

No documentation was provided with the unit we had, but as with all Bluetooth headsets, the controls are pretty dead simple: a large, multifunction button on the headset's face along with two volume controls on either side. The multifunction button was a bit too "clicky" for our liking, but we'll hold final judgment for when we get our hands on a production example.

We had no trouble pairing the H9 and sound quality was fine on both ends, though the included bud was far too large to properly fit into our ears. This caused two problems. First, the thing stuck way too far out from the side of our face, making us look silly -- quite the opposite effect of purchasing such a diminutive headset. Second, it had a tendency to slip out of our ear. Bear in mind, here, that the only thing holding it in is the grip it has on the sides of your ear canal, so a properly fitted bud is crucial. We're assuming the production model will include a variety of sizes to fit ears big and small.

Possibly the coolest part of the H9 was not the headset itself, but its charging base. The thing is seriously built like a tank. It's heavy, and we couldn't really figure out what made it that way. Circuitry? Solid plastic? Lead weights? Who knows, but needless to say, it's not tipping over if you don't want it to. The H9 fits snugly up top with rubber guides to make sure the sensitive bits don't get roughed up.

Production H9s should be hitting the streets before too long, and assuming Motorola doesn't price itself out of the market, this one could be a winner -- just as long as we get some buds that fit. Y'hear, Moto?