Sony Ericsson HBH 660 Review

I have to admit, I was looking forward to using the Sony Ericsson HBH-660 Bluetooth Headset with the Treo 650. The Sony Ericsson headset costs twice as much as many Bluetooth™ headsets, so it’s far to say that my expectations were high.

Out of the box

The HBH-660 comes neatly packaged and contained the following:

  • AC Adapter
  • Akono Bluetooth HBH-660 Headset
  • Neckstrap
  • Manual
  • Additional Information book

Set-up

The set-up is very minimal. I charged the HBH-660 for a few hours until I had a full charge. According to Sony Ericsson,
a full charge will afford 5 hours of talk time and 150 hours of standby time. There is an optional car charger for true mobile
road warriors. Directions in the manual are minimal. The headset rotates 90 degrees allowing you to wear the headset on either the
right or left ear. I chose the right ear, but that’s just my preference. The first time I put the headset on, I used the aid
of a mirror to confirm I was wearing it correctly. The Akono is very lightweight and it didn’t feel like I had put it on
correctly. This was caused by years of wearing earbuds that are in your earlobe. The HBH-660 in contrast sits comfortably outside your
earlobe. Once wrapped around my ear, the headset itself can be rotated to it’s optimal position. So far, so good. We’re
powered up. The headset is lightweight, easy to get on and off; and allows me to rotate for the perfect fit. Now, let’s see
how it works with the Treo 650.

Getting the HBH-660 discovered and paired with the Treo 650

There was very little in terms of information regarding this process in the user guide. Rather, it directed me to the phone’s
user guide; which in this case was the Treo 650 and offered the passkey for the headset. According the user guide, the Akono HBH-660
will recognize the phone automatically after it is added to the list of Bluetooth devices in the phone. The first step was to power
on the headset. The display is illuminated and Akono scrolls across. An animated sequence insues as the headset is looking for a
Bluetooth device. I selected Bluetooth on the Treo, enabled Bluetooth, set my device to Discoverable and selected the Setup Devices
button. The device name was set to the default PalmOne device. If you’ve have completed a HotSync, this will be your HotSync
user id. I changed mine to what is my HotSync user id and proceeded. The Setup Devices screen offers two selections. I chose Hands-free
Setup. The Hands-free setup is a wizard type that guides you through the process of “pairing the device”. Pairing is
when two Bluetooth wireless devices exchange data. You now enter the Discovery Results and it shows “Nearby devices”.
In a few seconds, I noticed the HBH-660. I highlighted the HBH-660 and selected ok. Next, the Treo 650 asked for the passkey. Within a second,
I was notified that “the connection between my Treo and handheld device was complete” and that I could “ use my headset
or carkit with my Treo. At the same time, the HBH-660 displayed the battery level and a Bluetooth icon.

Making a call

Initiating a call with the Treo 650 was no different and the headset was automatically the default method of headset. After initiating the call, the rings were heard on the Akono. First impressions of the sound quality were impressive. I was concerned about the volume of the calls, since there were not earbuds lodged directly into my earlobe. With the levels set to mid-range, the person on the call was clear and volume was just right. This was with no change to HBH-660. I’ve used wired solutions where increasing the volume caused a bright almost tinny sound. Not so with the Sony Ericsson.

Call Features with the HBH-660

The advantages to Bluetooth go beyond removing the wires. If you’re Treo 650 is in your
bag or briefcase, the Akono acts as a remote control of sorts. There are only three buttons on the headset, but different combinations of
timing and touch will allow you to increase or decrease volume of headset. This affects the call and the ringer. Calls can be rejected
if you depress the power button for two seconds. This sends the call to voicemail. You can turn the microphone off. The manual wasn’t
very clear on how this is accomplished. From what I gather, you need to depress both the + and – signs at the same time. I couldn’t
get this to work, but that’s probably a pilot error.

Advanced Features

One of the features that sets the Sony Ericsson headset apart from the competition is the Caller ID feature. Since we’re using a Bluetooth
headset, it’s quite normal to have the Treo smartphone separated from the headset, since you can use your headset to answer calls. The caller
id feature allows you to screen calls without having to look at your Treo. So, if your Treo 650 is in a briefcase of your front pocket, the simple
glance of your Bluetooth headset will allow you to screen the call. I would have liked the headset to display the name of the caller based upon my
address book. The Sony will display the number, but will not display the name.

HBH-660 Voice Quality

I experienced very good voice quality on both ends using the 660. Volume was at an above average level. Depending on the surroundings, the
headset could be a touch louder. Overall, I was able to hear callers in outdoor conditions. From the callers perspective, my voice was clear
and often compared to that of a land line.

Pros:

    • Caller ID function allows you to screen calls without having your Treo in hand
    • Very slight delay in ringing between Treo and headset
    • Feature set allows for caller control from the headset
    • Comfortable and light
    • Quick, easy set-up with the Treo 650
    • Crystal clear voice quality
    • Included strap is handy

Cons:

      • Expensive when compared to other Bluetooth headsets
      • Caller ID does not display caller name
      • Could be louder in loud, outdoor areas
      • Removing strap plug is awkward.
      • Voice commands not supported with Treo 650 (note: this is more of a Treo 650 issue, rather than the headset. No headsets allow for
        voice commands on the Treo 650)

Overall

The Sony Ericsson HBH-660 Bluetooth headset offers crystal clear voice quality, caller ID functions and works well with the Treo 650.
If you are in the market for a Bluetooth headset to accompany the Treo 650, the HBH-660 will not disappoint when it comes to features,
comfort and style to match your Treo smartphone.

The Sony Ericsson HBH-660 retails for $84.95

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