Sony Ericsson HPM-85
- Good audio quality considering price, Can be used with both handsets or MP3 players
- Flimsy design, Cable too short when in 3.5mm mode
While not as convenient as its wireless brothers, Sony Ericsson's HPM-85 offers better quality audio and a comfortable design, making it a good choice if you can handle a wired unit.
Price$ 74.00 (AUD)
Sony Ericsson's HPM-85 is a wired hands-free kit that is designed to double as a pair of headphones for their Walkman range of mobile phones. Unlike many of the Bluetooth based wireless offerings we've looked at recently, the HPM-85 offers good quality audio and can be used with both Sony Ericsson handsets and regular digital music players.
Audio quality is always a primary concern with a pair of headphones, even one designed primarily as a hands-free kit such as this. Fortunately, we are pleased to report that the HPM-85 performed well in this regard. The sound it produced during our music tests was quite bombastic and fun. Although there was quite a bit of detail loss, particularly in the mid range, that is to be expected from a unit such as this. The soundstage was a little muddled, with different parts of the music coming from many different directions at once.
Bass tended to be the strongest element of the HPM-85's presentation; it was slow and reverberated quite a bit, giving a warm, rich tone. Meanwhile the mid range was also quite prominent. We found the overall texture of the sound to be relatively harsh after long listening sessions, and the lack of detail will displease some more discerning listeners, but the average user will find the audio quality just fine.
We also tested the in-call quality and are pleased to report that it operated well in this regard. Our callers could hear us clearly, although there was some minor background noise, and the outgoing signal was crisp and loud. We had no volume problems thanks to the unit's design, which helps block out external noise.
The HPM-85 has two connection options. By default it comes with a standard Sony Ericsson proprietary plug for connection to one of their handsets, but this can also be detached, revealed a standard 3.5mm headphone jack for use with an MP3 player. Our only complaint here is that you'll need an extension cable to make proper use of the headphone jack, as the cable isn't even a foot long with the Sony Ericsson plug section detached.
A remote is connected to the longer part of the cord and this allows you to skip tracks, play and pause and change the volume of your music while listening on your mobile phone. It's a nifty feature, allowing you to throw your phone into your pocket and leave it there.
The HPM-85's are a little flimsy. They are entirely constructed of thin plastic, so we'd recommend treating them with care. They have an adjustable headband to help achieve a proper fit and the leather pads over the ear cups are quite comfortable, although they do get warm after prolonged listening sessions.
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