Sony Ericsson HBH-DS970

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Sony Ericsson HBH-DS970
  • Sony Ericsson HBH-DS970
  • Sony Ericsson HBH-DS970
  • Sony Ericsson HBH-DS970

Pros

  • No wires, Display screen, Easy to use, Caller ID support, Noise cancelling

Cons

  • A little pricey, Sound quality not the greatest

Bottom Line

Although it doesn’t have the greatest sound quality, the HBH-DS970 wins points for its wireless music streaming convenience and hands free phone calls.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 7 stores)

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The Sony Ericsson HBH-DS970 is a wireless Bluetooth stereo headset that allows you to listen to music via any A2DP compatible mobile phone. The HBH-DS970 also doubles as a hands-free headset and features a small display that shows caller ID and music track information.

The headset features a band that hangs around your neck like a necklace and two ear buds that run off this. The left earbud features an answer/end call key on its wire while the right has a small microphone for voice calls. The earbuds are noise cancelling and three sets of rubber earpieces are included in the sales package, so the HBH-DS970 should fit most sized ears.

A2DP stands for Advanced Audio Distribution Profile and is a technology that lets devices stream stereo sound to each other via Bluetooth. Connecting the HBH-DS970 is simply a matter of pairing it with your phone, like you would a regular hands-free, and we had no issues finding or keeping a connection.

The headset can be connected to up to 10 wireless devices simultaneously and this is called multipoint mode. It can be selected via a switch on the side of the unit and allows you to wirelessly stream music from your computer while staying connected to your mobile phone so you don't miss a call. The HBH-DS970 can play most music files from your computer, PDA or any other Bluetooth device that supports AD2P. We tested it with a Bluetooth enabled Apple iMac and were pleased to report that it worked quite well.

Once connected to your phone, the HBH-DS970 uses a small display to list currently playing tracks, as well as the unit's battery life and Bluetooth status. We felt the screen could have been a little larger, especially as there is plenty of space on the front of the unit. The headset is fairly easy to control though thanks to a previous/next track slider, volume up/down key, play/pause button and even a hold key to prevent accidentally bumping any buttons. The track slider is a little fidly however - at times it isn't very responsive, so we would have preferred standard keys for this operation.

When the phone rings, a quick glance at the display hanging from your neck reveals the name or number of your caller, allowing you to decide to accept or reject the call. The call can be answered by pressing the call handling button and rejected by holding this same button for two seconds. Conveniently, if you are listening to a music track on your mobile and a call comes through, the HBH-DS970 will pause and mute your music and notify you of the incoming call. When your call is completed, your music will play again - all this without the push of any buttons.

In terms of sound quality, the HBH-DS970 is definitely better than most headphones that come pre-packaged with mobile phones, although they still aren't of the same quality as a more expensive set of noise cancelling headphones. We noticed a slight hissing in the background during music playback and although it isn't a major problem, those with sensitive ears may be disappointed. The HBH-DS970 charges via an AC adapter and this is included in the sales package.

Overall, while it is a little pricey, what you are paying for with the HBH-DS970 is the convenience of both music listening and hands-free phone calls in one set of headphones. While the sound quality isn't all that noteworthy, the convenience and flexibility it offers will be a big selling point for some.

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