The Sony Ericsson HBH is800 Bluetooth headset was announced in July of 2008, promising an ‘extraordinary music experience’ to the user. With its small footprint in comparison to other Bluetooth stereo headsets, the is800 could change the way we look at Bluetooth headsets forever.
The is800 comes in a small white and purple box with a cut-out at the front so that you can see your new headset. You’ll find the following inside the box:
-Sony Ericsson HBH is800 Stereo Bluetooth Headset
-Carrying case for HBH IS800
-Documents relating to Bluetooth and a User manual
-A set of different sized earbuds for the HBH IS800
The HBH-IS800 could easily be mistaken for a normal pair of wired earphones at first glance due to their relatively small size. The headset’s actual earpieces are slightly larger than those of headsets you’d find bundled with phones and other multimedia devices. This slight increase in size is a small price to pay for the truly wireless experience offered by the HBH-IS800.
Creating a single product that can be used by millions of different people all with different tastes, styles and needs is something that Sony Ericsson have excelled at with the HBH-IS800. Included in the sales package are three differently sized ear plugs for the headset, allowing users to find the configuration that’s ‘just right’.
The wire connecting the earpieces of the HBH-IS800 is approximately 50.5cm in length and the entire headset (including the earpieces) is about 57cm. This once again ensures all users can enjoy the comfort of the HBH-IS800.
With the HBH-IS800, Sony Ericsson has gone for a simple yet pleasing look. The headset features only three colours: silver, black and green.
Small grooves can be found on each earpiece, providing some extra grip for the fingers.
Although the HBH-IS800’s minimalistic colour scheme allows it to match most electronic devices and clothing, it would be great if Sony Ericsson could offer a few more colour schemes. I’m sure an all-black version would go down well with tech lovers such as me.
The HBH-IS800 comes with a slightly modified Sony Ericsson charger. The headset is charged via a port beneath the Sony Ericsson logo on the right earpiece. The HBH-IS800 should be able to be charged by practically any Sony Ericsson charger, including chargers from SE’s phones, portable chargers and of course USB cables.
The HBH-IS800’s user guide states that prior to any use of the device, it should remain plugged into the charger for a minimum of eight hours. This only needs to be done once and I believe it helps to ensure that the user can get the highest possible usage time out of the HBH-IS800.
Sony Ericsson claims a maximum of four hours music playback time and 270 hours of standby time. In reality, I’ve been able to squeeze a bit over 3 hours of constant music playback (at maximum volume) out of them. Though the battery life of the HBH-IS800 isn’t as amazing as some other Bluetooth headsets available on the market, I was more than happy to exchange stellar battery life for massive improvements in size and practicality.
Unfortunately, the HBH-IS800 takes a few hours to bring back up to full charge from empty. I’ve found that it has taken as long as two hours before seeing the green ‘battery full’ indicator LED on the right earpiece.
Like with most other Bluetooth headsets, pairing the HBH-IS800 with its first compatible device is a very quick and easy process. To pair the headset, it must first be put into pairing mode by turning it off and then pressing and holding the multifunction button for about 5 seconds or until the LEDs on the device start to flash. As with all other Bluetooth accessories, the HBH-IS800’s pairing code is 0000.
After pairing, the headset automatically connects with the last used device when turned on. The HBH-IS800 is incapable of storing more than one previously paired device in its memory.
In my opinion, the sound produced by the HBH-IS800s is excellent; music is crystal clear with very good bass, if that’s what you’re into. Due to the in-ear style of the earphones, practically all external sounds cannot be heard when music is playing. Volume cannot be adjusted on the HBH-IS800 so the loudness of your music depends on your phone, I’ve found that Sony Ericsson devices were significantly louder than Nokia ones when at maximum volume and paired with the headset.
I’m no audiophile but I can comfortably say that, for me, the sound quality from the HBH-IS800 is far superior to that of the default earphones that come with Nokia’s N series, Apple’s iPods, Sony Ericsson’s walkman devices as well as a pair of Sony MDR-EX500LPs.
Conversations are easy to maintain on the HBH-IS800, voices were clear and loud and I had no complaints about the clarity of my voice. When asked if they suspected that I was talking on Bluetooth headset callers said “no”.
It’s very easy to forget that there’s anything in your ears when using the HBH-IS800, they’re really that comfortable. Using the smallest of the included rubber earbuds, I’ve had no problems using the HBH-IS800 constantly for close to 3 hours.
Bluetooth signal strength:
In a clear line of sight, the HBH-IS800 is able to play music from my phone without any skipping up to about 5 metres. The headset can still play music perfectly when your phone is in any of your pockets (even rear trouser pockets) but music might start skipping if you’re wearing a thick hood; thin hoods work fine. You might also run into trouble if:
-You’re holding your phone while it’s in your pocket
-If it’s windy.
I’m not 100% sure if the wind actually affects the reception of the headsets, but on numerous occasions my music has skipped (only for a second, it recovers quickly) after I walk past a wall and the wind starts to hit me.
The Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800s could potentially mark the start of a Bluetooth revolution. Its design means that people can now finally experience wireless music without compromising on size, practicality and sound quality. Despite some of its faults, the Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 is arguably the best Stereo Bluetooth headset available on the market today and I would not hesitate to recommend them to any of my friends or family.