This isn’t the smallest headset. In fact, Motorola’s Elite Sliver Bluetooth Headset ($130) is actually bulkier than many other personal BT headsets. Its trick, though, is to hide most of the bulk behind the user’s ear, leaving just a sliver — hence the name — of technology visbile.
But the Sliver isn’t just a one-trick pony; its case also doubles as a battery that will top off the Sliver when the headset is housed in the case (which actually does triple duty as a charger).
The Sliver turns on when the “sliver” part is rotated when placing it in an ear; I thought this was pretty smart, even if the unit’s voice assist (which was pleasantly loud and clear) often announced battery status before the unit was in my ear.
I love Motorola’s headset speakers. They’re big, but boy do they sound better and louder than almost anything on the market. The Sliver is no exception here; great sound from the speaker (with one caveat — see below) that let me hear callers on the other end no matter the environment I was in.
For the fashion-forward, the Sliver is about as stylish as headsets get. A tiny metal-and-rubber footprint is all that betrayed to others I had a communication device attached to my cranium. Heck, some of my less-observant friends may not have even noticed it at all, so long as they didn’t catch me from behind, an angle that would’ve revealed the big bulbous appendage behind my ear.
All the good stuff you’d expect from a premium headset was there: A2DP for music-streaming, multipoint connectivity for use with multiple phones, noise cancelation and even echo cancelation. Most of the time, callers on the other end claimed they could hear me very well via the unit’s two microphones, but this was highly dependent on poitioning of the unit — more on that later. Noise cancellation worked reasonably well for a headset in this class.
The Sliver is the undisputed Bluetooth headset endurance champ. The unit’s five-hour battery actually lasted just about that, itself an impressive feat; but the Sliver is equipped with a set of contacts that allow it to top off from the case’s reserve battery once inserted in the molded bed inside the case. Motorola claims an unbelieveable ten hours additional talk time from the case’s reserve battery; a literally unbelievable claim, as I only managed to eke perhaps another four hours from the reserve. Still, that’s almost ten hours without having to find an outlet.
Both the headset and the case are equipped with tiny, sleek multi-colored battery indicators that display battery or charging status, with the one on the Sliver also responsible for call status.
Hiding a reserve battery in a case is genius; only problem is, that’s where Motorola also hid the charging port — so losing the case is a bad idea, because there’s no way to charge the Sliver other than through the case. Though since the case is considerably larger than the headset, I suppose you’re more likely to lose the latter than the former.
The Sliver’s buttons were a little awkward to work. The call button — on the bottom of the bulbous bit — wasn’t as easy to hit for an incoming call as I would have liked, though I found myself getting more used to its postion as time progressed. The volume button near the top of the unit was worse, as it tended to shift the headset a little out of place when pressed.
Motorola says this unit has automatic volume control; if the feature is there, I didn’t notice it.
But the biggest issue I had with the Sliver was its fit. Most of Motorola’s headsets are worn with clips that fit over the ear, which works well with the large speakers the outfit usually employs in its sets. But the Sliver itself is the clip, and it just isn’t as stable. The set tended to shift more often — unfortunate, because the Sliver’s microphones seemed much more sensitive to placement than most other headsets, with a little shift dramatically affecting call quality.
Compelling qualities like a large, clear speaker, classy looks and unique battery-in-a-case are offset by an odd fit, odd choice of charging port location and premium pricetag.