Another one of the Elite Sliver's features is the ability to shorten the Bluetooth pairing process using new-fangled NFC (near-field communication) technology. An NFC chip is embedded in the headset's case and is designed to link the Sliver to compatible smartphones just by bumping them together.
To test the Motorola Elite Sliver, I paired it with a Samsung Galaxy Nexus (Verizon) since it's a slick Android device with NFC built-in. First, I couldn't resist trying to connect the phone and headset using NFC. I followed the short directions listed in the manual; placing the Sliver into its case, and then touching the bottom of the case to the Galaxy Nexus' NFC hardware (located on the phone's back cover). The Sliver's status light turned purple, indicating that NFC communication was under way.
Sadly, though, I repeatedly received an error message saying that an "unknown tag type" was collected before pairing could begin. Motorola is aware of the issue. The company says that at the moment most phones with NFC just operate in tag mode and lack the more advanced NFC-aided skills. Apparently, if you're one of the few people in the United States who bought a Nokia N9, you'll be able to perform this trick. Everyone else is out of luck, however, until a software upgrade, perhaps.
I had more success linking the two gadgets the old-fashioned way, turning the headset on and forging a Bluetooth connection through the phone's settings menu. I had both devices talking to each other in a few seconds. Once up and running, I was treated to crystal clear calls over Verizon's CDMA network in New York. Voices sounded clean and warm. Callers on the other end had no difficulty hearing me and at times didn't realize I was chatting from a wireless headset. Even outside and walking down windy New York City streets didn't affect call quality unduly, and people I spoke to reported no degradation to audio I transmitted.
Motorola claims that the Elite Sliver has greater extended range than the average headset. In my time with the Sliver, I was able to cling to a connection at about the same distance as I did on other Bluetooth devices. That said, I was able to stay linked in rooms in my house blocked by walls and other obstacles, which had caused previous headsets to falter.
The Elite Sliver's voice command functions worked well, too; my texts were correctly transcribed. A few times, though, the headset did become confused and suggested the wrong contact name.
Motorola rates the Elite Sliver to provide over 11 days of standby time and 5 hours of talk time. According to the company, the case's battery will effectively triple this longevity (35 hours standby, 15 hours talk time). My anecdotal testing reflected these claims, and I never had to plug the Sliver back into a power outlet once during my six-day review period.
In all, the Motorola Elite Sliver is a compelling mono Bluetooth headset. Its $129.99 price is expensive, though, compared with other similarly capable models. For example, the Plantronics Marque M155 is lighter and costs just $40. That said, without dual mics it can't match the Elite Sliver's excellent call quality. At $100, the Jabra Supreme has great voice command features but a loose fit and a bulky size. The $129.99 Jawbone Era is still king of the consumer Bluetooth hill, which for the same price offers pristine noise canceling, HD audio, and even an accelerometer for more intuitive controls. Still, if you want a very compact headset with high-end features plus excellent battery life, the Motorola Elite Sliver is the way to go.