Essentially the Motorola S11-Flex HD is designed to provide wireless stereo audio for listening to music during workouts at the gym, or while just walking around town. The device also can pair with Bluetooth-equipped phones to function as a traditional hands-free headset for making and receiving calls.
Another important skill the S11-Flex HD has in its tool kit are dual microphones for enhanced noise canceling on calls, which Motorola claims matches your typical mono Bluetooth headset built solely for this purpose. There’s also a range of baked-in equalizer settings to better match the music you’re listening to. For example, there’s one for bass-heavy tracks, another for vocal and acoustic genres, and a balanced mode to cover most audio situations.
Motorola definitely makes some bold claims concerning the S11-Flex HD’s capabilities but I’m sorry to say the device doesn’t quite live up to much of the hype. Pairing the headphones with my test handsets, the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD (Verizon) and Samsung Galaxy Nexus (unlocked), was a cinch. I simply pressed the power button and the device immediately placed itself into pairing mode for 5 minutes. I then scanned for the device in my test phone’s Bluetooth menu and linked to the S11 within a few short screen taps.
Audio quality for music streamed from my handset was acceptable but not outstanding.For instance, I didn’t experience as much bass as I have from larger over-ear models. Also, sound didn’t have an open quality, something I appreciate in premium headphones.
Additionally, calls that I made on either of my test phones and linked to the S11-Flex didn’t deliver the crystal-clear audio quality Motorola promises. Callers immediately knew I was calling from a mobile phone or even accused me of dialing over a speakerphone. While people on the other end sounded fine to me, callers reported that my voice was robotic and flat to their ears, as well.
Motorola says the S11 will provide up to 7 hours of talktime, 6 hours of audio playback, and a standby time of 6 days. The device features a rapid charge function too, which will allow 1 hour of operation after merely charging for 5 minutes. My experience was in line with these claims and I was able to charge the device quickly.
I’ve long dreamed of owning just one wireless pair of headphones that could serve all of my daily needs. In the same spirit, the $129.99 Motorola S11-Flex HD is a good attempt to merge a fitness-minded stereo audio device with a dedicated Bluetooth headset for hands-free calling. The S11 certainly offers plenty of ways to adjust its fit to your personal needs, with multiple eartips and a stability strap in the box. It’s a bit tricky to strap the S11 on quickly and its audio quality certainly won’t blow you away, especially on calls. If you really want to have your cake and eat it too, I suggest springing for two products. First is the $79.99 In-Ear Headphones, which are better suited for gym duty thanks to great sound quality, and a supersecure fit. Second, you just can’t beat the clear call quality the $99.99 headset provides. Otherwise, the Motorola S11-Flex HD is a decent compromise as long as you don’t expect to fall in love.