Review – Motorola SF600 Wireless Sports Headphones

Link to Amazon – Motorola SF600 Wireless Sports Headphones

I received these headphones to test its capabilities as a replacement to my wired headset.   My favorite wired inner-ear headsets are the Ultimate Ears TripleFi 10, followed closely by the Ultimate Ears 600vi set.

I opened the retail packaging to find a quick-start guide sitting on top.  Underneath was the SF600 wireless sports headphone, a bag with 5 sizes of ear cushions, a wall charger, and a convenient black travel pouch.  The package Motorola SF600 has ear cushions in five sizes to ensure a secure, comfortable fit no matter what your pace is.

The selling-point of this headset is the breakthrough HD sound with wireless technology that the manufacturers referred to as headphones that “deliver crystal clear, pulse-pumping sound quality to keep you focused and motivated through every step of every workout.”  What does that mean?  Well, the Motorola SF600 features advanced HD audio capabilities that include APT-X codec technology that Motorola boasts to match or even the outperform wired headset performance.  Overall, the sound is one of the best I’ve heard from a bluetooth headset.  However, there are areas that need work.

I tested this with an iPhone 4S, iPad2, Blackberry Curve, and a MacBook Pro.

How did the SF600 fare?

If you have the Plantronics Voyager Pro BT headset for you phone, you will have a pretty good idea how these may fit in your ears.  The earbuds sit in the outer ear canal, and you really need to fine which inserts fit best for your size and shape.  Otherwise, the fit will either be too small or too large, and the result is an earbud that will always pop out of your ear.

One of the first things I did was put the headphones through a week’s worth of my personal burn-in regiment.  If you are not familiar with the term burn-in, please see my post here.  This included playing a variety of songs (classical, jazz, r&b, pop, broadway musical, etc.) for at least 10 hours a day for about a week at medium volume.  This typically “breaks in” the headphones for maximal performance.  I put about 100 hours before listening to these headphones.

Having had the Jawbone SPORT and the Plantronics Backbeat, and being somewhat underwhelmed by these bluetooth headphones, I was prepared to be disappointed.  I will say that these Motorola SF600 outperformed these other two sets.  It produced a more significant bass response (when the headphones were seated properly), and the highs were more crisp.  However, I will not go so far as to say the sound is EXCELLENT, but it is one of the best sounding bluetooth headphones I have used so far.  The start-up and shut-down audio prompts give a very good example of the potential by these headsets, but the actual audio that comes through is probably somewhere around 50% of what it could be (generally speaking).

One major advantage is the lack of the wires, which is a major source of noise or interference.  Runners know this all too well, when the sound of the wires transfer to the earbuds.  This is similar to how voice vibrations transfer from a paper/plastic cup along a string.  With the SF600, your favorite workout tracks are streamed from your mp3 player (such as the MOTOACTV) so that you can keep moving without getting tangled up in wires.

Also, this set boasts to be “protected” from moisture and sweat.  The headset sports a hydrophobic mesh and lightweight durable materials, including Kevlar and silicone seals deliver strength and protection from moisture.

The battery life is very good.  I can go a day and a half of normal usage before the battery drains on me, and this includes listening to about 3-4 hours of music, watching 2-3 hours of movies and videos, and talking on the phone 2-3 hours a day.  My iPhone monitors the battery level, and when the unit is turned on it gives an audio prompt telling the battery level is high, medium, or low.

These Motorola SF600 headphones allow you to answer calls and have text messages “read” as audio (using Siri) whether you’re on the trail or on the treadmill.  In addition to working with MOTOACTV GPS Fitness tracker and music player, the wireless Motorola SF600 headphones are compatible with most mobile phones, music players and tablets from Motorola and all leading manufacturers.  It has a built-in mic and controls make it easy to manage your calls and music. The answer/end call button (to control the phone) doubles as the play/pause button for the mp3 player.

UPDATE:  Siri can “read” NEW text messages received through the headphones (but it cannot read old messages), and you can “reply” to the text message through Siri by speaking the text through the headphones. When you receive a text message, press the control button to activate Siri and say “Read text message” and Siri will “read” to you. After, you can either have Siri “read again” or “reply” back to sender.

The headphones give an audible tone (same tone as phone’s sound) when a text message or email is received. You can have Siri “read” your text message by pressing the control button to activate Siri and say “read text message.” You can then either “read again” or “reply” to the sender. It’s a really cool feature I am appreciating more and more. Also, a text message can be sent through the SF600 with Siri (on the iPhone 4S). Press the home button on the iPhone (or the control button on the headset) to wake Siri, say “Send text message to [NAME]” and then you will be prompted to say the message to be sent. (I have not tested this feature on a Blackberry.)

One thing to note is that if you are listening to music (or watching a video) and you receive a call, and you want to use the Motorola SF600 as a bluetooth headset to answer the call, make sure you press the button on the headset (the top button on right earbud) and not the “answer” button on your phone.  For example, when I receive a call on my iPhone 4S and I press the “answer” button on the iphone, the audio will route to the handset and not the headset.  Not too big of a deal, I just have to transfer the audio to the headset using the controls on the iPhone (it will take a few seconds).  This is the cause of confusion for many users.

Overall, it is a very good set of wireless bluetooth headphones.  I like the convenience of the wireless feature.  I would give it a 4.5 star rating (out of 5) for a bluetooth headphone set, and an average 4 out of 5 for a headset.  It is not the best set of headphones, but it is one of the best wireless headphones at its pricepoint, currently about $129 at Amazon.com

Would I buy these for $129?  If you are looking for convenience of wireless bluetooth, these SF600 are the way to go.  If you are looking for sound quality for the same price and don’t mind the wires, I would recommend the Ultimate Ears 600vi.  Also recommended is the Klipsch S4/S4i which have better sound quality than the SF600 but at a lower price (sub $100).

Below are the manufacturer’s descriptions.

Product Details

  • Hydrophobic Mesh to keep the beats rolling and the moisture out
  • Made with Kevlar fiber to hold up to your toughest workouts
  • Wired Quality Audio over Bluetooth enabled by apt-X Lossless Wireless Technology
  • HD Sound with enhanced bass
  • TrueComfort Fit
  • Multiple Ear Cushion Sizes
  • Music Controls
  • Voice Prompts

Superior Sound for a Superior Workout

Lose the wires and gain breakthrough HD sound. The Motorola SF600 wireless headphones deliver crystal clear, pulse-pumping sound quality to keep you focused and motivated through every step of every workout.

High Definition Workouts

Motorola SF600 features advanced HD audio capabilities including APT-X codec technology, designed and tested to match even the best of wired headset performance. Your favorite workout tracks are streamed from your MOTOACTV so that you can keep moving without getting tangled up in wires.

Work Up a Sweat

Sweat all you want – these headphones can take it. Hydrophobic mesh and lightweight durable materials including Kevlar and silicone seals deliver strength and protection from moisture. Motorola SF600 has ear cushions in five sizes to ensure a secure, comfortable fit no matter what your pace is.

Keep Moving, Stay Connected

Stay connected to your workout and the rest of your life. Motorola SF600 headphones allow you to answer calls and texts whether you’re on the trail or on the treadmill. A built-in mic and controls make it easy to manage your calls and music. In addition to working with MOTOACTV, the wireless Motorola SF600 headphones are compatible with most mobile phones, music players and tablets from Motorola and all leading manufacturers.

Product Details

  • Hydrophobic Mesh to keep the beats rolling and the moisture out
  • Made with Kevlar fiber to hold up to your toughest workouts
  • Wired Quality Audio over Bluetooth enabled by apt-X Lossless Wireless Technology
  • HD Sound with enhanced bass
  • TrueComfort Fit
  • Multiple Ear Cushion Sizes
  • Music Controls
  • Voice Prompts
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About Ask Conrad
I am a University Professor. A Neuroscientist by trade, and a technophile/geek on the side. My work and research is heavily dependent on computers and state-of-the-art technology. I like Jazz and Bossa Nova. I play the piano, guitar, and ukulele.

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