Review: Motorola S10-HD Bluetooth Stereo Headphones

The Motorola S10HD is a solid pair of Bluetooth headphones that offers improved connectivity and flexibility when streaming music or answering calls.

Motorola S10-HD
By Alicia Erlich on 25 Jan 2012 02:47 pm EST

As an audiophile I take my search for Bluetooth headsets seriously. I spend hours nitpicking accessories to find one with everything I'm looking for especially when they're not wired headsets. They have to give the perfect balance of bass and treble (without the use of an equalizer) and be snug yet not too tight that I feel like my skull is in a vice. Now I've owned the Motorola S9-HD Bluetooth stereo headphones so I thought I'd pick up the newest model, the Motorola S10-HD, and take them for a spin.

Design and Comfort

The Motorola S10-HD is the latest model in the Motorola line of Bluetooth headphones. Now one of the issues I had with the prior model is that after awhile my ears would hurt or it would press too much on my temples. I have to say that there were times I didn't even feel like they were there, that's how soft the earbuds are. The soft silicon earpieces are interchangeable and come in four different sizes. There are three buttons on each side which operate the music and phone controls. On the left you'll find the three that control volume up/down, and the answer button while the three on the right control pause, play, and skip. I admit it took awhile to get used to the flatter rubberized buttons. The power button has been relocated to below the charging port on the back housing for easier pairing and for turning on/off.


Previous models suffered from one fatal flaw and that moisture acted as kryptonite. If you have an active lifestyle such as riding a bike, jogging, or my favorite going to the gym, they eventually failed from being in close proximity to sweat. The S10-HD features a new sweat proof design to keep moisture out through the use of hydrophobic mesh and silicone seals that encase the speakers. Even the micro-USB port is molded with a water-proof plug. You can see below how unaffected by moisture they were (not to gross you out or anything) after my most recent workout.

Sound and Performance

The S10 offers many design and performance enhancements including 8 hours of play time, 9 hours of talk time, 33 ft Bluetooth range, and 10 days of standby that is leaps and bounds ahead of the older model. Also, noise reduction was superb. It did a fantastic job of blocking out the usual disturbances on the train (I didn't hear when my stop was called) and all the background noises at the gym.

However, I miss the sound of the S9HD. It offered deep bass and a high level of clarity. Unfortunately, the rich bass is noticeably absent on the S10. That's not to say that they don't have great sound on their own, it's just that my favorite songs, such as "Uprising" by Muse and "I Don't Care" by Fall Out Boy, didn't have that extra oomph in the drumbeats.

The S10 is a well-designed headset in its own right. With the exception of the difference in sound when streaming music it offers relatively clear call quality and doesn't disconnect. Overall, its a solid headset that gets the job done day in and day out whether you're working out or sitting on the couch.

Motorola S10-HD

The Good

Motorola is known for making quality headphones and this is a solid accessory that performs well under normal conditions. It employs top notch noise reduction technology that in conjunction with the new design makes sure extraneous noise does not ruin your listening experience and improves comfort.

The Bad

Audiophiles will be disappointed in the sound quality when streaming their favorite music or radio stations. While playback and phone calls are crystal clear it lacks the richness and deep bass of its predecessor.

The Bottom line

The S10 outperforms previous models with improved BT range, battery life, and moisture protection, yet sacrifices the amazing sound of the S9 HD. It works well on a daily basis no matter what environment you're in and offers a new design for a more secure and comfortable fit.Solid performance and great for those who are active.

Similar stereo headphones

Motorola S9-HD Plantronics BackBeat 903 MOTOROKR S305
Motorola S9-HD
Nothing beats the original in terms of hi-def audio quality.
Plantronics BackBeat 903
If you want comfort and superb audio quality then this is your choice.
Stays put, answers calls, and offers great sound for a low price.

Reader comments

Review: Motorola S10-HD Bluetooth Stereo Headphones


I have these headphones, and they've been good so far. I will disagree on the sound quality issue, though. One set of the enclosed earbuds has a larger diameter hole, and using that set made a big difference in sound for me. Ymmv.

I've been using a pair of Rocketfish RF-MAB2. Sound is pretty decent, and it pairs flawlessly with my 9900. They are not as slick as the Motorolas, but they are OK for a daily commute. Best thing it's the value: $20 on ebay. They might be tight on you if you have a Frankenstein head, though. =P

I had these S10s for a few months and they are already done. Same problems as all the other moto S-series headsets -____-

OS1 lacks the stack for A2DP. I believe OS2 has it after the 6xxx build. I know it works on 7111

Same with me too, it feels like even more pressure on the ear because i wear glasses, n top of having long hair as well. It doesn't feel comfortable at all.

Good, not great headset. I've had them for about a year. As previously stated, wearing them with glasses is uncomfortable. Wearing them for more than 1 hour is also uncomfortable. The pros? They are durable and solid. They pair quite easily with my phone. I paid $80 and I can say I did not over pay. I have another BT headset that is a pleasure to wear but the range is spotty.

Motorola did NOT fix the sweat issues with the S10-HD's. I have gone through two pairs of these (exchanged under warranty, but without them for two weeks each time) and went through four pairs of S9's.

For these, sure they may have added some coatings here and there and some more rubber in places, but they did not fundamentally re-engineer the headset to make them "sweat proof" ...

So, for anyone who sweats A LOT, be warned... they may last a few weeks longer, but they still have the same root problem.

You should check out the JayBird Freedom, they claim to be heavy sweat proof.. Crackberry should do a review on those btw!!
Bold 9900 & PlayBook 64GB Wifi

I gotta disagree with you. I've had mine for a year and workout intensely, sweating like you'd expect. They have lasted very well. I'd buy them again if something happened to mine.

I have only two major gripes:
1. The silicone cups don't stay on well, and I'm constantly searching for them after knocking them off while stored.
2. They are a little tight and not really comfortable. I can't wear them longer than an hour.

A minor gripe is after sweating heavily for a while, sweat enters my ear canal and can cause some crackling of the audio if the headphones move. But I don't know how that could be avoided with silicone inserts. Without the silicone there would be no noise isolation.

I bought these a few months ago and returned them 2 days later. Everything worked great except the microphone, it just was not compatible with either my Samsung Nexus S or Blackberry Curve 9380 (tried two pairs of these both same issue, it was just all static and white noise when you played back microphone recordings, naturally they didn't work for phone calls because of this). Aside from the microphone no other issues with sound quality, bluetooth connectivity or comfort.

Just ordered the S-9 as I need a pair to carry around when my BT50s are not with me and as a new headset for calls since my Jawbone died. Used for music mostly so that's top priority. Just a little more than a Jawbone and does double duty.

They are terrible!!!
First, if you move your phone too much (i.e. in your pocket while jogging) you'll get silence gaps in the music for the first 2-5 minutes. You need to hold your phone in your hand or in a arm strap.
Second, (maybe is just mine) but I gotta make a call first before listen to music, otherwise volume is very low.
Third, the gel earbuds are too easy to detach, so I always find myself searching at the bottom of my gym bag the missing earbuds.

I sell the old ones at my store. I do not know for some reason I do not like Bluetooth s. I had a customer return them once when they said it hurt their ears.

I have these, they are pretty nice for working out. But as far as sound quality goes, coming from audiophile cans and earbuds, these are very muddy sounding. The bass is sloppy but volume of bass is not bad, the mids are hard to find and not clear, though the highs are not bad.

Not to say I don't recommend them, they are great for their purpose - but don't expect perfect sound... instead focus on your workout!

I wonder how long we can expect the battery to last. I've had the plantronics backbeat and sony BT headsets for working out. Both worked great for a while but within 2/3 months of steady use had problems keeping a charge, which meant they were essentially garbage.

also want to point out that when you workout on a treadmill, you don't need audiophile quality... you need LOUD!

hi question here
these headphoes are working with backberry q10 ??
i have been with them but never connected via bluetooth.
what is wrong with them ?
do you know why i do not use them? tell me please