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Motor Trend Max 4x Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headset - Neat Stuff

Posted in Product Reviews on January 1, 2009
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We'll spare you all the techno-babble and simply point out that this Motor Trend Max 4x hands-free setup works. Really works. Not only are the noise-cancelling properties phenomenal, but the 30-foot working range seems grossly underrated-sometimes by about 100 percent. A claimed 8-hour talk time and 250-hour standby time is nice...nicer yet is that the unit comes with both 110V and 12V chargers. How can they do this? Frankly, we really don't care.

Here in California, we had no choice but to start using some sort of hands-free device when on the phone in a motor vehicle, as it became law last summer. A wireless setup is obviously most practical, and there are many, many versions to choose from, most of which share a common problem-noise cancelling that doesn't.

Not overly fond of newfangled gizmos, we began practicing with a popular Bluetooth unit months before the law went into effect and quickly learned two things. Foremost, that being able to use both hands while on the phone saves a lot of time, allowing you to keep working with the welder, grinder, or impact wrench while yapping away. And, unfortunately, that all the "background" noise seemed to take precedence over what we said. It was no different in our vehicles, most of which are a bit on the loud side and probably should be driven with OSHA-approved hearing protection.

When seeing a news release for the Motor Trend Max 4x in a truck magazine, it sure seemed to make sense-if a headset's noise-cancelling qualities are good enough for an 18-wheeler they should be good enough for a four-wheeler. And besides, it says "4x" right there in the name.

We expected good performance from the $130 headset, but weren't in the least prepared for how well it worked in real life. Picture yourself with your head in the wheelwell of a Dodge Ram with an idling Cummins 12-valve motor (yes, that is loud) and the person on the other end can't hear the diesel running but hears you perfectly. Amazing, to put it mildly. Not even in our noisiest vehicle-accelerating up a grade with the windows down, stereo blaring and the CB on full blast with the squelch down-could people hear any background noise when we called them.

Now, this was with the older MT BT-09 version, a true headset with a boom mike and a strap across the head, but we really liked the compactness of our "old" hang-it-on-the-ear setup. Well, then the MT BT-10 came out, which with the same electronics unit can be used either as a headset or by hanging it off your ear. Whichever type you prefer using, the MT BT-10 is noise-cancelling nirvana in one package.

If there's anything to complain about regarding the MT BT-10, or the BT-09 for that matter, it's that while people can usually hear you just fine in a really noisy environment, you can't necessarily hear them, even with the volume at the highest setting. That problem is easily fixed by asking them to speak louder, although they generally don't realize why they should. Oh, and why is it called Bluetooth when it's your ear that's blinking blue?!?

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