Motorola H17txt review: the Bluetooth headset that talks back

The Motorola H17txt Bluetooth headset open from the back / Jeff Rauschert

Michigan recently passed a law to ban texting while driving, joining 18 other states that have passed similar legislation.

Governor Jennifer Granholm TMs signing of the law even appeared on Oprah Winfrey TMs show as the talk-show host is calling for people to stop texting and calling while driving.

Since you TMre not supposed to text and drive in Michigan any longer, what can you do to keep up with friends who are trying to contact you while you TMre cruising the roads?

Here TMs the solution.

Imagine a revolutionary Bluetooth headset that reads your texts, emails (up to 500 words) and more while driving, so you can keep your eyes on the road.

In what might be a breakthrough for the industry, Motorola has released the H17txt Bluetooth headset through Verizon Wireless. I was able to try one with the HTC Droid Incredible.

The headset has MotoSpeak, Motorola's app with text-to-speech technology. It can read text messages (SMS) so you never have to take your eyes off the road. It also reads acronyms like "lol" and "l8r" as actual words. Motorola claims the device knows 150 acronyms. I didn TMt test all of them, because, frankly, who knows 150 acronyms for texting?

The headset will also read incoming caller/texter IDs, plus it comes with a list of autoresponse messages that users can customize.

For example, you can opt to send an automated text message to callers telling them that you are driving and will call back when available or pick a more personalized message to send.

Other features include Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) streaming so you can listen to podcasts or your phone's turn-by-turn directions. A2DP defines how high-quality audio can be streamed from one device to another over a Bluetooth connection. It also has voice prompts to let you know the status of your headset. is annother great program to use with the H17txt. You can find it in the Android Market or BlackBerry or Apple App store (for iPhone).


Having never used a Bluetooth device before (I never felt the need to have one), I was pleasantly surprised by the clarity of the headset. To top it off, it even pronounced my strong, German last name correctly. I would highly recommend the device.

For $99.99, the price of the headset is less than the ticket you TMll get while texting in front of a police officer. Plus, you TMll likely receive points on your license and a blemish on your driving record. Oh, and don TMt forget the insurance.

The Motorola H17txt works with most Android and BlackBerry devices. MotoSpeak is available for from the App Store and the Android Market. It is called the Motorola Motospeak H17 Bluetooth Headset on Verizon TMs website.