Ever since we heard about the Invisio Q7 bone conduction headset at CES 2008, we've looked forward to it finally coming to market. The headset promised a way to translate the vibration of the jaw to actual speech without the use of a microphone, thus eliminating noise. But a year had now gone by, and we had not seen any sign of it, leading us to believe it was vaporware.
Yet, it appears it may have been reincarnated as the Motorola Endeavor HX1. Motorola has mentioned that it was working with the Invisio folks to come up with a Motorola-branded version of the Invisio Q7, and indeed, the HX1 is it. It doesn't look quite as smooth and sleek as the Q7, but it does feature that bone conduction technology we raved about back in 2008. The HX1 also has dual microphones for Motorola's own CrystalTalk noise-canceling technology. The idea is that you would use CrystalTalk for everyday use, and then switch on bone conduction--or as Motorola calls it, "stealth mode"--for extremely noisy situations.
So, does the bone conduction work? Yes, and amazingly well at that. "Stealth mode" completely eliminates every single noise in the environment except for your own voice. Our callers could hardly hear that we were standing in front of a fan, for example. But this bone conduction technology does come at a cost: our voice quality was just not as good. Callers said that we sounded digitized, and if we spoke a little too fast or too soft, we sounded very mumbly and garbled. It's definitely better than not being heard at all, but we recommend using the "stealth mode" only in situations when you absolutely need it. For the rest of the time, you're better off using the "normal" CrystalTalk mode.
The Motorola Endeavor HX1 will be out later this year for a yet-to-be-determined price. You can read our review of the Motorola Endeavor HX1 to get a better idea of the headset's pros and cons.