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Review: Burton and Motorola's Tantrum Audex Helmet


Review by Michael Oryl on Friday March 16, 2007.

bluetooth / wireless reviews · bluetooth / wireless news · michael oryl

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The Headphones

The S805 stereo headphones offer very good audio quality when it comes to music. They put out a good amount of bass and have very good treble response. The S805 headphones make use of dual rotary controls, one on each ear, to control volume and track selection. This makes the S805 very easy to adjust - even when the user has thick winter gloves on. Each earphone also has a single large button on it. The left button initiates voice dialing as well as answers and ends calls. The right button starts and pauses music playback. While these buttons are reasonably large, about the same size as a US 10 cent coin, they were still a bit hard to find when I was wearing gloves. Eventually I learned where they were, but they were a bit of a problem for me for a few days.

I tested the helmet and headphones with a Nokia 5300 Xpress Music phone and Motorola's own Q smartphone. In terms of music playback, the S805 worked very well with the Q, as I had expected, but had some odd problems with the 5300. It just seemed that either the S805 or the 5300 would stop playing music unexpectedly - as if it were paused. I would normally have attributed this problem to the 5300, but the 5300 works perfectly with Motorola's HT820 Bluetooth headphones, which leads me to suspect the S805 as the source of the problem. One other problem was that the S805 headphone often had trouble automatically connecting with a phone - I was often forced to initiate the connection from the 5300 or the Q, even when they were both paired with the S805 already. There is one saving grace, however. The Tantrum Audex ships with a 3.5mm cable so you can use the system with any iPod or phone with the proper adapter.

I was also less than impressed by the call audio quality I experienced when using the S805. While Motorola claims that the helmet is equipped with noise reduction for outdoor use, I was not pleased with the audio at all. It sounds to the remote caller as if the S805 is doing a lot of noise reduction, even though the headset didn't manage to effectivley filter out even background fan noise when used indoors. The S805 user's voice sounds warped and very unnatural to the remote caller, and, similarly, I was unable to get the Q's normally great voice dialing system to work when wearing the helmet. The inbound sound that the S805 user hears, however, is quite good. It is very full sounding and has a good volume level that makes the remote caller easy to understand. It is just a shame that doesn't hold true for both sides of the conversation.

Like most other recent Motorola devices, the S805 headphones can be charged with any miniUSB power source. Meaning that you can charge it from your laptopn computer just as easily as you can from a wall adapter. The S805's batteries seemed to perform quite well, lasting for many hours of music playback per charge. Motorola and Burton also include a set of normal over the head headphone frames that the S805's ear pieces can be snapped into when not being used in the helmet.

Conclusion

Overall I just feel that there were too many small issues with the Tantrum Audex Motorola Bluetooth helmet. There are a number of build quality issues that might not have bothered me if I were paying $100 for the non-Bluetooth Tantrum that seem like a big deal when you consider that the Bluetooth Tantrum lists for a whopping US$260. Was it cool to be the only guy on the slopes with wireless music pumping into his head? Hell ya. Did it protect me from a number of tree branches and other obsticals? Yessir. But does it work well overall? Well, not so much. So with all of the small things in mind, I have to reluctantly give the Burton Tantrum Audex Motorola Bluetooth helmet a "Not Recommended" rating.

Not Recommended (explanation)
Good looking, high quality stereo sound
Poor helmet build quality, slightly uncomfortable, some connection problems
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About the author

Michael Oryl
Michael is the Philadelphia based owner and former editor-in-chief of MobileBurn.com. You can follow him on Twitter as @MichaelOryl

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