Bluetooth Headset Review: Motorola Elite Sliver Bluetooth Headset
Reviewed by Tong Zhang
Editor's Rating (1-5): 4.5
What's hot: Small and light, easy to use, long battery.
What's not: Charging premium price.
Motorola has been making great quality Bluetooth headsets for years now, and their latest premium model Motorola Elite Sliver model sports a discrete behind the ear design, the latested Bluetooth technology and works with My MotoSpeak app for Android. The Bluetooth headset has Motorola's CrystalTalk technology for echo cancelling and noise cancelling and extra wide audio band for A2DP music and movie playback.
The form factor of the Motorola Elite Sliver isn't new, we've seen it on older Motorola models as well as other brands such as Jabra. But Motorola still managed to sneak in a couple of cool features in this familiar design. The Motorola Elite Sliver is a quite small measuring 1.49 x 1.85 x 0.57 inches and weighs 0.31 ounce. The largest part of the headset hides behind your ear with only a small arm extending to your ear. The headset has a soft touch surface and feels comfortable to wear. The size of the headset is medium, so if your ear's shorter the headset might feel a bit loose, and vice versa if you are large size the headset might feel a bit tight. The package comes with five ear gels in different sizes to fit your ear canal. One neat feature of the Motorola Elite Sliver's design builds into the function: the tip of the headset that go into your ear can turn sideway so that it fits into your ear nicely. By turning it sideways, you will also turn on the headset or put it into pairing mode if it's not paired. The button turns in both left and right so that you can put the headset in either the left or right ear. It's elegant way to power and on off the headset, and eliminates the need for a power button. Speaking of buttons, the Motorola Elite Sliver has two buttons; one lives on the arm of the headset for volume adjustment and a call button on the bottom of the larger part of the headset behind your ear. Both buttons are well placed and easy to use.
The Motorola Elite Sliver has another great design feature that's build into functionality, the charging case. The small charging case has a docking port and molded shape for the Bluetooth headset to dock in perfectly, and you can carry the small headset in the case to avoid losing it. Also since you turn on or off the headset by turning the earpiece, the charging case prevents accidental powering on the headset in your pocket or bag. The charging case has built-in battery as well to provide additional power, and helps eliminate a charging port on the small headset. Both headset and the charging case come with a LED light indicating battery status, pairing and more. We really enjoy the design of the Motorola Elite Sliver and appreciate the convenience it offers.
Pairing and Features
The Motorola Elite Sliver is very easy to use thanks to the voice instructions that walks you through setup, pairing and other features step-by-step. The headset puts itself into pairing mode when you turn it on the first time, and the voice prompt will give you instructions on how to pair it with your phone. For subsequent pairing, turn off the previously paired devices, and turn off and then on the headset, it will go into pairing mode and instruct you how to pair with a new device. If you have a phone that has NFC activated, the headset can also paired via NFC: just dock the headset into the case, and hold the case next to your phone's NFC chip until it's paired.
As with new Bluetooth 3.0 headsets, the Motorola Elite Sliver offers multi-pairing feature, which allows you to pair the headset with several devices, and multipoint feature, which allows you to connect two phones to the headset simultaneously. We tested several Android devices with the headset including the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX, the LG Spectrum and the iPhone 4S, they all paired and multi-paired with the Motorola Elite Sliver nicely. The headset supports Hands-Free for phone calls as well as A2DP and AVRCP profiles for audio playback. Hands-free features such as last number dialing and taking a second call using the headset worked well in our tests. You can also change volume and mute/unmute during a call. For A2DP audio streaming, you only need to connect the headset to your device. When you play music or movie, the audio streams automatically through the headset.
If you are like me who pair the headset with many devices, you might eventually experience issues with pairing. Luckily the headset comes with reset feature. But before you reset your headset you should know that the process eases all pairing info stored in your headset and you will need to go through the initial setup again after the reset. To reset the headset, press and hold the call button while turning the headset on to start Settings menu which includes an option to "reset to factory default".
For Android user, the Motorola Elite Sliver offers an additional function. You can send text messages using your voice via the headset when you use My MotoSpeak app on your phone. Download the app in the Android Market, install and run it to start texting or calling via the headset. You can also tell the app to read any text messages you receive and initial a call back to the sender via voice command.
Audio Quality and Range
The Motorola Elite Sliver has built-in DSP for noise reduction and echo cancelling. It also has dual mic for better outgoing voice quality. Motorola's CrystalTalk is onboard and since the headset supports A2DP for stereo audio streaming, it offers wider band of audio. Voice quality is quite good, though the Motorola H730 Bluetooth headset still has a bit of edge in voice quality amazingly. The Motorola Elite Sliver had effective DSP and noise cancelling with most phones we tested it with, and good volume. Range between the phones and the headset generally reached 20-25 feet.
Here is more info on some of the phones we tested with the Motorola Elite Sliver:
When working with the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX: We had expected that the Motorola Elite Sliver would work with the DROID RAZR MAXX the best in voice quality and range, but we were surprised. The call voice was good on both incoming and outgoing ends, but it wasn't crystal clear. Our call recipients could tell that we were on a Bluetooth headset as the voice was a bit processed. The headset had effective DSP against road noise and heavy machinery noise in our tests, and was mostly effective against wind noise but had some audio degradation when filtering out wind noise. Volume was decent but not very loud. Range between the headset and the RAZR MAXX was about 25 feet.
When working with the LG Spectrum: The best voice quality for the Motorola Elite Sliver came when working with the LG Spectrum. Voice quality was noticeably clearer on both incoming and outgoing ends, and volume much louder than on the RAZR MAXX. The DSP worked well on the headset with the LG Spectrum, filtering out most noise even wind noise. Range was about 25 feet between the headset and the LG phone.
When working with the iPhone 4S: Motorola is a Bluetooth headset brand that crosses over platforms, so we tested the Elite Sliver with the iPhone 4S as well. Voice quality was good on both ends, but not exceptional when working with the new iPhone, and volume was quite high. The DSP was quite effective filtering out most noise around us, and the range was about 20 feet. It's a good choice for the iPhone 4S users.
As the Motorola Elite Sliver can stream stereo audio, the headset offers a wider audio band than more mono headset. Music and movie audio does sound more spacious but it still isn't a good substitute for stereo wireless headsets with two earpieces. But if you make video calls on your PC or phone, the added audio band improves audio quality noticeably.
The Motorola Elite Sliver has long battery life thanks to the charging case design, as the charging case has an additional battery. The headset has 5 hours of claimed talk time, and that seems to be on target in our tests. The charging case adds 10 additional hours when it's fully charged, as it can fully charge the headset twice. That makes total talk time of 15 hours with the headset's battery and charging case battery combined. The claimed standby time is over a month with the charging case.
When you plug the headset into the case, the case will charge the headset if it has power left. You can charge them both when you plug the AC adapter included in the package. When the headset is in the case while it's plugged in with power, the headset gets charged first, then the charging case. Both the headset and the charging case have battery level indicators. On the headset, when the status light is green it means the headset has 5 hours of talk time, yellow means 2-4 hours of talk time and red means less than 1 hour. On the charging case, the LED light turns green when it's fully charged, yellow when it's 70% charged and red when it's 50% or less charged. To extend the battery life on the headset, it's a good idea to turn it off overnight when you are not using it.
Motorola has produced some of the best Bluetooth headsets over the years, the new Motorola Elite Sliver is another solid entry. The headset is light and comfortable to wear, easy to use and has all the latest Bluetooth features. We love the design of the headset and the carrying/charging case, and the long battery life with the two combined. Voice quality is also solid and DSP effective. If you are an avid texter and using an Android phone, you can enjoy hands free texting using the My MotoSpeak app with the headset.
-Motorola Elite Sliver Bluetooth stereo headset -AC charger -5 ear gels in different sizes -Charging case -User guide
-Bluetooth 3.0 with EDR -Profiles supported: Hands-Free, A2DP, AVRCP -Claimed talk time: 5 hours with the headset, 15 hours with headset and charging case combined -Claimed standby time: 35 days combined -Headset size: 1.49 x 1.85 x 0.57 inches -Headset weight: 0.3 ounces -Battery: Lithium-polymer -AC adapter: 100-240V