I have an affinity for toys that beget the purchase of more toys. When I buy a new gadget, I immediately start looking for useful accessories for it. In the case of my Photon 4G (rant here) I needed something to listen to music, and perhaps field the occasional call. The quest begins.
I like the concept of wireless headsets. Over the course of the last six months I've bought and returned several pairs of stereo Bluetooth devices. I've learned that by and large, most of these gadgets just aren't built with my head in mind. When you're talking about listening to something for eight hours at a time, comfort matters a lot.
At this point I switched gears to wired earbuds. They're comfortable, don't require charging, and generally have good sound isolation. When I had an iPhone, my go-to headset was a pair of Sony MDR-EX38i earbuds.
Sadly, the button and mic don't work with the Photon 4G, nor did they work with my previous phone (the Motorola Triumph). I can't really fault Sony on this though; the earbuds stated clearly on the box that they were designed for Apple devices.
Next I purchased a pair of Motorola EH20 earbuds with mic, hoping that by virtue of brand parity they would work okay on the Photon. They did, sort of. The button on the EH20 is weird. It doesn't actually click, it just kind of mushes. It was hard for me to tell when I'd successfully clicked it. I inadvertently hung up or never picked up on several calls because of this.
Also, even though the box claims it can be used to control music and calls, any time I mushed the button while listening to music I got the voice command menu instead. The earbuds also emitted a high-pitched whine when I listened to quiet music (more on that later).
By virtue of a ridiculous sale at Fry's Electronics, I came across a pair of Bose On-Ear headphones with mic, and tried those out on the Photon 4G. The mic and button worked as advertised, which is to say they're only an answer call button and mic. The button doesn't control music except when using the "control headset" option in Winamp, which in itself is a pain because it would try to play music when I wanted to answer or hang up from a call.
It's surprisingly hard to find a mic/earbud combo that doesn't say "Designed for iPhone." I looked high and low, and ended up with a pair of SkullCandy 365J earbuds with mic. The sound quality is decent, the cord is nicely hefty and feels tough, and the button actually clicks. Sadly, it's really no better for music control than the Bose OEs.
Throughout my testing of wired headsets, I've noticed that all of them exhibit the high-pitched whine when playing any sort of sound. I can pause my music and the whine continues for about 3 seconds, followed by a click and silence. I thought perhaps it was a grounding issue with the headphone jack, and I haven't ruled out that possibility. My calls to Sprint tech support have yielded nothing useful.
The well-meaning but clueless tech rep told me to see if there was music running in the background at a very low volume (there wasn't) or try a factory reset (didn't help). I have a running thread on the Motorola Support forums here if anyone is interested. The fact that several wired headsets have exhibited this behavior makes me think it's a problem with the phone itself, specifically the headphone jack hardware since Bluetooth headsets did not exhibit the whine.
The best way to describe the sound is a very quiet teakettle. Imagine hearing that in the background of everything you listen to all day, and you'll understand why I want to get this fixed. It's possible by the pitch of the sound that a lot of folks never even notice it (to me the pitch is a very high C).
Long story short, for my Motorola Photon 4G, the best earbuds with mic I've found are the SkullCandy 365J (link). It helps that they're relatively inexpensive. I assume these would also work on other Android devices, but if they don't please give me some feedback. I'll post an update if anything comes of the whine issue.