Sony Ericsson HCB-700
- Bright and clear display, Excellent voice quality and volume
- Control knob design, Can’t access SIM phonebook, Not all features compatible with non-Sony Ericsson handsets
If you own a Sony Ericsson phone, this is a car kit with some excellent features, most notably its voice digit dialing and phonebook capabilities.
Price$ 305.00 (AUD)
The Sony Ericsson HCB-700 is a Bluetooth hands-free car kit that utilises voice recognition technology to help you make calls. A three piece unit which requires installation into your vehicle, the HCB-700 is ideal for those who constantly use their mobile phone while driving.
The HCB-700's best feature is without doubt what Sony Ericsson has dubbed 'Voice Digit Dialling'. You simply press the speech button on the controller, say the phone number out loud and the unit automatically dials it for you. Furthermore, if you have a Sony Ericsson compatible handset, you can say the names of contacts in your phonebook for dialing as well. We found this feature worked quite well, although you need to ensure your speech is clear and loud for it to register on the device. Do note though that this function only works with specific Sony Ericsson models (full compatible phone list available here.).
The HCB-700 consists of three parts - a backlit monochrome display, a speaker and a control knob. Ideally, the control knob should be installed in the centre console between the front two seats of your car, so it is easily accessible while driving. The knob consists of five buttons (power/end call, Bluetooth, speech/answer call, phonebook and a scroll wheel), but we felt the design was poorly implemented. The knob does not feel secure or sturdy and the scroll wheel is a little flimsy. We found it difficult to achieve accuracy when scrolling through menu items, for example.
The display is bright and clear thanks to a monochrome backlight and you can select either a white or green backlight through the settings menu. We had no complaints with the screen in any department. There are enough character spaces to show even the longest of contact names and the backlight ensures the screen is visible for night driving. The HCB-700 is also compatible with caller ID (provided your Sony Ericsson phone and mobile network supports it), so a quick look at the display can tell you who is calling. You can then decide whether you want to take or reject the call using the answer or end call key. The display is best mounted at eye level - somewhere on your car's dashboard would be ideal.
We were very impressed with the voice quality of the HCB-700: the speakerphone is quite loud and clear even in noisy environments. You shouldn't experience any difficulties hearing voice at anytime during travel, even in heavy traffic, since the volume of the speaker at its highest setting is more than adequate. A nifty feature we also found was that in addition to the speaker ringing during an incoming call, your phone rings as well - meaning you shouldn't ever miss a call.
Another worthy feature is the ability to scroll through your phonebook using the controls and screen of the HCB-700. This means you really don't need to pick up your phone at all while driving. Once again though, this only works with certain Sony Ericsson models. Furthermore, the HCB-700 isn't compatible with your SIM contacts, so you'll have to make sure they are in the phone's memory.
Overall, the HCB-700 is an excellent all-round car kit, but we would question its purchase if you don't own a Sony Ericsson handset. However if you do and constantly use your mobile in the car then the convenience of voice dialling and the ability to scroll through your phonebook is well worth its asking price.
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