Moto Pulse

Along with three new smartphones, Motorola at its annual products event last month dropped a couple new Bluetooth kits on us. This one's the Moto Pulse, an over-the-ear set that brings decent sound without burning a hole in your wallet.

Let's take a look. (And for those of us on this side of the keyboard, a listen.)

Moto PulseThe particulars: Moto Pulse is a $60 pair of Bluetooth headphones that works with, well, anything that does Bluetooth. That means Android. That means iOS. Computers. Whatever. These are on-ear headphones (meaning that they sit on top of and don't completely encapsulate your ears), but the 40mm drivers themselves are recessed a bit. It's available in white or black, connects via Bluetooth 4.1 (A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, etc.), and lets you place and receive phone calls. The Pulse charges via microUSB and has a stated run time (music and talk) of up to 18 hours.

The Pulse is a pretty simple and nicely put-together accessory. Everything's in once pice, without any unslightly bulges where the electronics live. You see just a smidge of exposed wire from the headphone up into the body, but it's readily apparent that you're not going to be dealing with extraneous length. You get about an inch and a half of travel on each side, and once expanded the 'phones fit nicely. Not too snug, not too loose. (They're not quite fully extended on my melon.) There's a tiny bit of padding on the headband, which itself isn't exactly stealthy. It's not huge, but you'll know it's there.

Controls also are simple, and on the right-hand side. There's a play/pause button that also serves to pick up and hang up on phone calls. You have volume-down and volume up, a long press of which will go back or forward one track. (Press them simultaneously during a phone call to mute.) And there's a power button that's a little awkward to reach when you're wearing the headphones, but that also means it's practically impossible to accidentally turn the things off when you're reaching for the volume+ button. That's a decent amount of functionality in four buttons.

Pairing with a phone or tablet or computer went without issue. And you can have the Pulse connected to two devices at once, which is handy if you like to flip back and forth between or phone and tablet, or throw computer into the mix.

As for how they sound? Music is actually pretty good, considering this is just a $60 pair of headphones. They're not as dynamic as the wired Bose AE2 headphones I keep in the office, and they're a bit too bassy. But the also cost half as much and are wireless. Highs tended to get a little crunchy with signal noise. But, again, not unexpected given the price.

And then there's phone calls. You feel kinda silly talking while wearing the Pulse, but it's a handy feature to have if you need it. Callers sound like you'd expect them to sound through headphones. And here's how the microphone performs:

So all in all? A decent set of headphones. The $60 retail price tag isn't horrible, either. And that pretty much sums up where Motorola's at these days. Really good products for the price.

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