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Motorola S11-HD sweat proof headphones: Quick charging and light weight

Many people enjoy using Bluetooth headphones for commuting and working out. The latest Motorola design functions well, but the fit isn't great if you wear glasses.
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By Matthew Miller, Contributor on
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1 of 9 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Motorola S11-HD retail package

I enjoy listening to music while I workout and have been using the Bluetooth earbuds. Motorola takes a different approach with a band style earphone and for the past couple of weeks I have been testing the Motorola S11-HD wireless stereo headphones loaned to me from the folks at AT&T.

Hardware

The Motorola S11-HD comes in attractive red and white retail package that has a clear plastic window to show off the actual headphones. Inside the package you will find the headphones, a microUSB A/C adapter, and eight earbud tips. A manual is also included to show you what each button is used for and how to connect your headphones.

The headphones are all black with orange buttons, orange ring around the earbuds, and orange earbud tips. The volume buttons are black. The power button is found on the top of the right side and the call/music control button is found on the bottom of the left side. A microUSB port is located under a cover on the bottom of the right side with the notification light shown just forward of the microUSB port. The volume button is located on the right side, along the back of the raised side of the headphones. Microphone openings are found on the right side of the headphones.

There is a snap-on rubber band the fits at the base of the raised earphone pieces. With this in place, the headphones are designed to fit more securely and I found they stayed in place much better than without the band. I understand the effectiveness of the band varies with usage, hair style, and head size.

Usage and experiences

I like that the headphones charge via a standard microUSB port, with the indicator light glowing red while charging and green when it is fully charged up. Motorola states that five minutes of charging will provide you with about one hour of usage. Specs state that you can get up to six hours of playback time with fully charged headphones.

Each headphone arm rotates about 30 degrees to help fit securely into your ear. There is no other adjustment on this model, but the Flex version has a few more adjustable pieces. They stayed in my ears pretty well, but a couple times while I was jumping over logs (I am training for the Tough Mudder) they started to fall out of one ear and since they are a connected headphone the other ear loosened up a bit. They seem to be just fine for the gym or commute, but may not stay as secure while on the road.

It was easy to pair up the headphones with various phones and tablets. I found the audio quality to be quite good with great volume levels.

They fit well when I went running with my contacts, but I did find they were not very comfortable while wearing my glasses. The upper part of the headphones fits over year ear with a piece over half and each wide fitting behind your ear. I personally wouldn't buy and use these if I wore glasses all the time.

People said calls sounded fine and it was easy to control calls with the button on the left side. The call/music button is pressed once or twice to control the music with a press and hold being used to change the equalizer settings.

Pros and Cons

To summarize my experiences and the specifications of the Moto X, here are my pros and cons.

Pros

  • Attractive design and colors
  • Light weight
  • Standard microUSB charging port
  • Quick charging
  • Sweat proof design
  • Reasonable price for workout headphones

Cons

  • Doesn't fit well with glasses
  • Rigid construction may pull out one side during motion

Pricing and availability

The Motorola S11-HD headphones are available from AT&T for $99.99. You can also pick them up at other various online and retail locations. There is also a bit more expensive S11-Flex HD pair ($129.99) that has another couple point of adjustability for a tighter fit for those who exercise hard.

The competition

There are several other behind-the-ear headphones designed for those who exercise, including models from iKross, Plantronics, and Nokia. Motorola has been making these for several years and the S11-HD is the latest iteration that fixes many of the issues we have heard about in the past.

Specifications

  • Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP
  • Support for aptX audio technology
  • microUSB charging port
  • Dual microphones
  • Five equalizer presets
  • Sweat proof construction
  • Up to seven hours of talk time or six hours of playback time
  • Weight of just 1.4 ounces

Conclusion

As a fan of orange, I was pleased to see the orange highlights on the black color headphones. I enjoyed using the headphones for the most part, but did not like the experience while wearing my glasses. The headphones charge up fast, are light weight, sound great, and are attractive.

Contributor's rating: 8 out of 10

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Inside the front cover of the retail package

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Included accessories

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Right side of headphones

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Orange highlight ring around the earbud

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Right side design

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MicroUSB port on the lower right side

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Headphones with the rubber band to improve the fit

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Power button showing orange highlights

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