Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
Sony Ericsson HCB-150
The HCB-150 Bluetooth speakerphone offers dual speakers and an OLED display.
- Dual speakers, text-to-speech, OLED display, good sound quality
- Steep price, a little large, phone book feature requires a Sony Ericsson phone
Sony Ericsson's HCB-150 offers above average sound quality and features an OLED display, but it’s a little pricey.
Price$ 279.00 (AUD)
Sony Ericsson's HCB-150 Bluetooth speakerphone may command a steep price but it offers plenty of features. It has dual speakers, text-to-speech technology and an OLED display that shows incoming caller information.
Slightly larger than many competing models on the market, the Sony Ericsson HCB-150 uses a combination of gloss and matte black plastic, with silver edging and a mesh speaker grille. Like most similar devices it uses a metal clip to attach to a car's sun visor, though it can just as easily be used in an office environment.
The controls are fairly straightforward. A dedicated Bluetooth button switches between five available slots for mobile phones to be connected, a call list button accesses recently dialled calls (or your phonebook), answer and end call keys handle incoming calls and a scroll wheel adjusts volume. Once paired with a phone you can make and receive calls, use voice dialling (if your phone supports it), redial recent calls and mute the microphone.
The OLED display helps things along nicely and displays incoming caller ID information. Conveniently, the screen automatically rotates when you flip the unit, so you can position it in a number of ways. If you have a Sony Ericsson phone the HCB-150 will automatically synchronise your phonebook and display contact names on the screen. Unfortunately this feature doesn't work with phones from other companies, though the HCB-150 will still display phone numbers. The unit reads aloud names and numbers as well as displaying them on the screen. Pronunciation is generally pleasing, though it can struggle with some names.
Sound quality is excellent. The Sony Ericsson HCB-150 utilises dual speakers and incoming volume is among the loudest we have heard on a speakerphone. Our callers were also pleased with outgoing audio quality, though wind noise can be an issue. For best results we'd advise you to close the driver's side window while on the phone; this is the case for most speakerphones not just the HCB-150.
According to Sony Ericsson, the HCB-150 has an impressive battery life. It's rated at up to 25 hours of talk time and 700 hours of standby time. The unit is charged via the included proprietary car charger. Importantly, the device automatically turns off after 10 minutes without a connection, saving battery life.
Although the HCB-150 is definitely an above average speakerphone, its price is far too steep. For this money you can start to look into a dedicated Bluetooth car kit.
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