Home

Share this Story

Review: Motorola S11-FLEX HD Wireless Headphones

Motorola S11-Flex HD Headphones

We don’t normally do headphone reviews, because well, we’re not a headphone site. We allow the real audio blogs to take care of that stuff, while we as Android enthusiasts, stick to what we do best. With that said, when Motorola asked if we would be interested in checking out their new wireless Bluetooth headphones, the S11-Flex HD, I couldn’t help but give them a shot. Since I know there is a small crew of you that also picked up their MotoActv sports watch, I figured you would also be interested in these headphones, which are their latest sweat-proof fitness product that can pair with any Android device on the planet. 

Basics

Motorola’s S11-Flex HD headphones connect wirelessly to devices using Bluetooth 3.0. You could connect to a phone, tablet or computer, and then walk away from it up to 150 feet without it disconnecting. The headphones have a multi-function button (switching tracks, changing settings, taking calls, etc.), a power button, and a volume rocker. There are also dual-mics to help with clarity during  calls. Once fully charged, you can get 6 hours of music playback, 7 hours of talk time, or up to 6 days on standby. The headphones weigh 54g, have customizable EQ settings, are sweat-proof, and have five points of adjustability, so that you can find the perfect fit.

Motorola S11-Flex HD Headphones

Fit and Design

It’s obvious that one of Motorola’s goals with the S11-Flex HD was to make sure that it fit everyone’s head, no matter the shape or size. The “flex” in the name isn’t an exaggeration as these headphones can be bent in all sorts of directions. The metal fixtures around the earbuds also adjust up or down, there is an inner band that can tighten them against your head, and the handful of earbud tips should give everyone an option.

The overall look of the S11-Flex HDs isn’t bad. I was a little embarrassed at first to put these on and walk out of my house for a run, but once I fully realized that there wasn’t a cord dangling around any longer during my training, I decided that it was OK to sacrifice fashion for form in this case. They definitely look “sporty,” if you will. I’m normally a pretty minimal kind of guy and avoid the flashy oranges, but again, once you get used to these and realize how great cordless running or working out is, you’ll be able to survive.

Sound

Ahhh yes, sound. Since I’m not an audiophile or a headphone guru, I’ll try to keep this simple (or in my terms). Overall, the sound is solid. To tell you the truth, I was expecting worse and came away slightly impressed, especially for a wireless Bluetooth product. It’s not overly weak in any area, other than bass, but these aren’t top-of-the-line over-ear headphones we’re talking about here. I’d argue that they sound much better than most average wired earbuds.

They have some “customizable” EQ settings that allow for a bass boost, balanced mode, super treble, vocalizer, or EQ-off. The treble mode, to me, sounds the clearest, bringing the right balance without sounding too empty or flat.

When taking calls, a simple press of the multi-function button answers and hangs up. On my end, things sounded as good as any other Bluetooth headset that I’ve used. Folks on the other end were quick to point out that I sounded like I was talking to them through speakerphone, though. There are dual-mics, but as with most Bluetooth calling, it’s not going to be as good as if you picked up your phone and talked directly through it.

Motorola S11-Flex HD Headphones

Other Goodies

Setup doesn’t get any easier than it is through the S11-Flex HDs. Turn them on and they start scanning for Bluetooth devices to pair with. Toggle Bluetooth “On” on your phone and it finds it almost immediately. The multi-function button does quite a bit. You can answer or end calls, change tracks (forward and back), or switch EQ settings. Battery life, has been pretty phenomenal in my testing. Out of the box, I got a solid 5.5 hours of streaming music. Also, these headphones “rapid charge,” which means in 5 minutes on the plug, you can get an hour of charge. In 15 minutes, you can get up to 3 hours of use. That’s pretty incredible. Last, these suckers are sweat-proof. I’ve put them through 40 miles of runs over the last couple of weeks and they haven’t had any issues.

Overall

The Motorola S11-Flex HD headphones are a great product for fitness fanatics, especially runners, like myself. At $129, they certainly aren’t going to fit everyone’s budget, though. The adjustability, feature set (taking both audio and calls), battery life (including rapid charge), and sweat-proof-ness (that a word?), have made them a pleasure to use over the last couple of weeks. With that said, audiophiles or headphone snobs probably won’t be impressed by the sound, but I’m guessing they aren’t the target market anyway. So as I mentioned, fitness gurus, I’d recommend you check these out if you have yet to take the cordless plunge – that is, if you have $130 to shell out for headphones.

  • Butch

    Working out and listening to music go together for me, but the “sweat-factor” takes it’s toll on my earbuds. Finally, an aptX sport headphone. My other aptX headphone sounds better than wired, so I am hoping to get one of these new aptX sport versions for my workout.

  • davey

    Those most important part of this review is overlooked. These new s11-hd headphones incorporate the lossless aptX codec instead of the decade old SBC which is highly lossy and adds an additional layer of conversion. Only few phones are capable of using the new aptX codec the new HTC phones, SG3, moto droid RAZR to name a few. I have both the S10-hd and S9-HD which I use for the gym and casual use respectively. Both sets use the older SBC codec, with post processing. The jaybirds also use SBC with post processing.

    I’m curious to know what this set sounds like with the right aptX handset… my review to follow

  • nightscout13

    An issue with in-ear buds while running, is sweat. I haven’t found a pair yet that is comfortable long distance.

    • klw5688

      Idk what you call long distance, but the last time i took my S-10s for a 13 mile run they were still comfortable when i got back home… Also note i dont sweat heavy until i stop running… I’m odd, i know

  • John

    why would you call someone a snob if they care about sound quality and call them a guru if they are into fitness? Every person i have met that is into fitness actuality qualify and are the very definition of snob. So to be fair let’s call them fitness snobs or better yet, let’s not insult people who care about getting quality for their money or who care about stuff. At $130 these headphones better sound pretty good. Wanting quality for your money is actually a good thing. Problem with people tolday is that they are so invested in buying cheap and garbage products that quality has become irrelevant. I personally would rather work hard, save and invest in quality products then throw my money away on garbage, that does not make me or anyone who believes the same a snob.

  • Scott H

    My wife wanted some good headphones to use with her MotoACTV when running. We did lots of reading on the Moto’s, Jaybirds, etc. While many of them had good reviews for the sound quality, far too many said they loved them until they broke. And that was far from just a couple reviews. We ended up going with a pair of Audiosynq from Amazon for just $30. They had very consistent good reviews. The main complaint was call quality. My wife didn’t want them for making any calls, so in her case she didn’t care about that.

  • bigredandroid

    These sound no different than the s10! Don’t waste your money. I bought these and after 4 days returned. Zero noise cancelation. Very low sound and I was able to hear everything around me with volume at max. Zero bass and adjusting sound equalization did nothing for me. I wish these had better sound volume.

    • rcro

      Sounds like you couldn’t get a good seal on the buds if these are more of an in ear style fit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/zGarrow Zach Garrow

    Get the JayBird freedom … best $90 you will ever spend!

    • Scott H

      When we were researching for my wife we looked at those, but there were an awful lot of bad reviews. People seemed to like them until they broke, and we were seeing too many reports of that. We ended up getting a pair of Audiosynqs from Amazon with more consistent good reviews for $30. The main complaints were for call quality, and my wife didn’t care about that. I don’t think she’s tried them for running yet.

  • Steve

    I’ve used alot of bt headsets including motorolas model that preceded this one, and ive found (I believe), two of the best models for under $100. First, rocketfish from bestbuy, you can’t beat the sound for $60, bass is awesome! Second, plantronics backbeat (walmart $70), excellent for working out! I workout in these (backbeat) at least five times a week and I sweat alot and they have held up great for almost a year now. The sound quality isnt as good as the rocketfish but they make up for it in durability.

  • ROB

    Jabra clipper and I use my own earbuds and its at amazon for a third of the price of these.

  • http://twitter.com/Patfactorx David Pat

    The Motorola Bluetooth headsets are amazing products. It’s hard to go back to wired sets.

    • JedixJarf

      Its always hard…

  • Tom Landberg

    These look like they have good sound but I don’t think they could replace my Jaybird Freedom for running.

  • Guest

    In honor of Veteran’s Day, I say these headphones deserve a giveaway…Now if only I could think of a worthy veteran who would benefit from these ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/ryanlaursen Ryan Laursen

    I had 2 of Moto S10s die. They were sweat/water resistant instead of proof…

  • soc13kid

    I have the S10-HDs and have been pretty happy with them. The sound especially bass lacks and I wish they were more in-ear and sealing for sound quality, but for no wire and $50 it works for me! I love them at work especially..

    That being said I would like a pair that isn’t coming unglued and had better sound, at least louder! The S9s were much louder but had crappy range… I could go on and on, in fact if you want to send those my way Kellex I would be glad to review them compared to the S10 and S9 :-). $130 seems way too steep for me especially with such little apparent difference from the S10s!

  • sk3litor

    I would put these on backwards and pretend I was Data from start trek

    • Aaron

      You never watched Star Trek, did you?

      • sk3litor

        Ha ha no I’ve never seen it. I just remember seeing the guy from reading rainbow wearing a headband over his eyes. Did I get something wrong?

        • DonSerrot

          Eyup. Data was the Android. You are thinking of Geordi La Forge. I always liked him because I remembered LeVar Burton from Reading Rainbow too.

          Just for a little extra, in TNG he had em on his eyes because he was “blind”, and those allowed him to see. Data was the Android that was constantly trying to understan Humans so he could act more human.

          Also, related.
          http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ldky4lBNc61qz9bu3o1_500.jpg

          • Lactose_the_Intolerant

            +1 for picture choice… righteous!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Trahan/100001039912055 Brian Trahan

      You may need to watch TNG again.

    • michael arazan

      i think you mean commander LaForge

  • Rob

    These things have promise, but $129??

    Finding good wireless headphones for running has always been a pain for me. I think that behind the neck ones don’t exist for under $100, which is disappointing. I have a the Jaybird JF3 and although the signal and sound are good, the wire is wayyy too long and it sticks to your neck.

    Can anyone recommend any good ones?

  • Jason

    How is the bounce in these. I tried the s-10′s but the way they bounced on my neck when I ran drove me nuts

  • vitriolix

    How is the outside noise damping? I need something like these for use jogging, but also for when I ride the stupidly noise subway. Also for drowning out loud talkers at work :-)

    I had a pair of wired Shure’s that were awesome but the wire got flakey on me.

  • Drew56

    “The Motorola S11-Flex HD headphones are a great product for fitness fanatics, especially runners, like myself. At $129,”

    Stopped reading.

    • Detonation

      So you’re saying you read the entire article up until the last couple of sentences

      • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

        No, he just jumped to the conclusion. :P

        • Lactose_the_Intolerant

          Jumping to conclusion is the only form of exercise I get >.<

          • Ibrick

            I had a million dollar idea once.. It’s a Jump to Conclusions Mat, where you.. jump.. to different conclusions.

          • Diablo81588

            Terrible, this idea. :P

          • Bob Sacamano

            Office Space=Great movie!

          • Ryan Zentz

            So…..what would ya say ya do here?!?!?!

  • Malcolm James II

    I agree…would be interesting to see the comparison between these and the SD-10s.

  • zepfloyd

    I’ve never found a pair BT headphones that left me overly impressed, but that’s a personally preference. I keep a pair of the cheap but reliable S305′s around when I have to be wireless for some reason.

  • thehobster

    If Motorola hasn’t figured out the “sweat” problem, this is going to be an expensive temporary toy. I went through 2 S9s in less than a year. I heard the S10s weren’t much better. I’ll check back about 6 months to see how they’re holding up.

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      These have been great so far, but then again, it has only been 2 weeks heh. If I run into issues, I’ll let you guys know.

      • SpikedRed

        Pro Tip: Try using PowerAmp with these phones. Phenominal!

  • MrlaMotte87

    LG HBS 730, to me, is a pretty solid Bluetooth headset as well and it fits perfectly under a Polo (for work) and doesn’t look weird if you decide to rock it on the weekend. Plus you have your Play/Pause controls as well as Volume controls right on the headset. This looks pretty cool too, might have to give it a whirl!

    • MrlaMotte87

      Also they’re only about $70 brand new and a little cheaper on Amazon. The older model (HBS-700) is pretty affordable now also.

    • http://twitter.com/Belatukadro Justtyn Hutcheson

      Been looking at these, but have read online about signal instability. Any problems there?

    • http://twitter.com/gregwlsn Greg Wilson

      What devices are you using it with? I’m having issues w/my 730 and I’m reading that connection reliability depends on the device. I have the SGS3 and iPad 3.

  • EndiSky

    While I have the S-10 HD’s…. I could not justify spending $120 on a set of headphones.

  • Sven Enterlein

    I am one of the MotoACTV crew and I love the device! Main reason I bought it though is because it doesn’t have a fruit logo on it. The earbuds that come with it are pretty shabby though…

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      Still loving it? That’s good to hear. I’ve sort of gone all Nike+ these days, so mine has taken a bit of a back seat lately. I noticed there haven’t been any new updates to the MotoActv in a while though, they still supporting it even with the new Google exec team?

      • Sven Enterlein

        I got an update a month or so ago. I haven’t used it as much lately since it’s too cold for me to run outside [whine whine] but I still use it at the gym. It works just fine for my needs. I can’t emphasize enough that I simply did not want to buy an iPod.

        • Futbolrunner

          I’m hoping they make a thinner watch. I was thinking of getting one but it looks like a huge rock.

          On another note, when is Nike going to have my Fuel band sync with my Android phone!? It shouldn’t take this long.

          • Tom Landberg

            I also use a Motoactv but I now only use it as looking at stats while I’m running. I use nike+ for keeping my stats. I was really hoping the Motoactv would make me stop using Nike+ but since Nike+ came to Android and the Motoactv portal is severely lacking it works great for real time stats and that’s about it.

  • Dan Churco

    Have you used the Jaybird freedom’s or the Motorola S10-HD? How would you compare them? I hated the S10-HD, but am relatively happy with the jaybirds…. any thoughts? I’m still looking for the perfect headset.

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      Haven’t used the Jaybird, sorry. :(

      • Tom Landberg

        Jaybirds are extremely comfortable and offer 3 different ways to have them in your ears.I also use S10-HD and they work great for under an hour. After that they get uncomfortable,.