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Samsung SBH700 Bluetooth Stereo Headset

Mon Sep 15, 2008 - 8:30 AM EDT - By Neal Martin

Overview

My Palm Centro has a LOUD speaker to be sure! There are times when I appreciate this, and there are times when I would prefer listening to my music or whatever in private. It's not that I make a lot of confidential phone calls, but rather I like my music and there are times when just sitting back and listening to music (in stereo) in private is preferred.

I have a single-ear Bluetooth headset, but, again, I wanted to enjoy my music in stereo, so I began a search for a Bluetooth stereo headset for my Centro. I found the Samsung SBH700 in the TreoCentral store and ordered it! It arrived within two days and I began tinkering with my new toy! Read on.



In the Box

The SBH700 package includes the Samsung SBH700 Bluetooth headset, the travel adapter and an in-depth user manual as well as a quick-start guide.

Note: If you want the ability to charge the SBH700 in your car, you can buy the optional car charger which is item CAD310JBEB/STD. I Googled this part and found the price in the $12-$15 price range.

The manual is well-written and there is a decent trouble-shooting guide at the back of the manual should you encounter a problem with your headset. I used the quick-start guide, as it told me everything I needed to know - such as an overview of the headset, charging the headset, pairing the headset and making calls and listening to music.

The Samsung SBH700 is one neat looking headset! It sports a main body which is silver and red and black wires connected to the ear pieces which are black and silver - which actually gives it a sporty look. The unit feels very sturdy and the wires are thick. I would imagine the SBH700 could survive a nasty fall, in fact.


Setting Up the Headset

Using the included travel adapter, I charged my SHB700 - which takes about 3 hours. The adapter plugs into the headset in a tiny hole, hidden by a swing-away cover on the top of the unit. While I'm mentioning the charging port, I'll mention the reset button - which is a tiny hole on the bottom of the unit, which, of course, resets the unit when you depress it with a pin or other sharp object

The first step towards using the SBH700 was to pair the headset with my Centro. This was pretty straight-forward. Turn the headset on by pushing the phone icon on the left side of the headset until the headset light flashes 4 times (normal on) and keep holding until the light turns a solid blue which signifies pairing mode. Then, it's just a matter of putting your phone into pairing mode and the standard routine of finding Bluetooth devices. Once paired, I powered off the headset and powered back on and was set!


Using the Headset

Having a Palm Centro, my main interest in the SBH700 was the ability to stream my music to a Bluetooth headset, as the Centro doesn't natively support A2DP. To utilize the Samsung SBH700 as a wireless headset for streaming music from my Centro, I needed a 3rd-party program - and I chose Softick Audio Gateway. Using Softick Audio Gateway is simple and straight-forward. I simply started up Softick Audio Gateway and chose the SBH700 from the list of devices in the list, clicked the 'Stream to: A2DP Device and, when Softick Audio Gateway finished connecting to my headset, used the quick-launch icon for Pocket Tunes and began enjoying my music in glorious stereo!

The audio of the SHB700 is top-notch - music is sharp, although I wish I could add a bit of bass and reduce the treble - and, if that wasn't enough, there's the benefit of the SBH700 also being capable of being used as a Bluetooth headset for my phone. To answer the phone with the headset, you simply push the phone-shaped icon on the red end of the left side of the headset. What makes it even better is, when listening to music and the phone rings, as you push the button to answer the phone - it pauses the music while you talk and you can push the play/pause button once you hang up and your song takes up right where you left off - awesome! Note: On your phone, you may have to push the play/pause button to resume your music, as it seems to be phone-specific.

I should mention that, while I need an application like Softick Audio Gateway to stream music to the A2DP headset, using the SBH700 as a Bluetooth headset for my phone requires no other software than your choice of phone application and your phone. It did take me some trial and error before I was able to answer a call with the SBH700, but, for whatever reason, once I was able to answer that 1st elusive call - it has answered flawlessly each and every time since.

While I'm talking about the phone capabilities of the Samsung SBH700, let me add that it is capable of dialing a number by voice if you have a voice-activated dialing program configured on your phone. As I mentioned in my review of my Jabra BT8040 Bluetooth headset, I don't really care for voice dialing, as it seems like more trouble to me than it's worth - what with having to say the name then wait and verify when the software asks me if I mean this name or this number. But, if voice-activated dialing is your thing, then you'll appreciate the SHB700s ability to do so.


Features/Pros

The SBH700 uses ambient noise reduction technology, which manages to suppress background noise and makes it easier to carry on a phone conversation and/or listen to your music with less distraction. There is stereo sound, which is a plus when compared to a single-ear headset. Depending on your phone, you should get roughly 8 to 9 hours of talk and/or listening to music time. The phone also has an approximate standby time of 140 hours which translates to about 6 days. The headset is also lightweight, weighing it at a mere 38.3 grams.

The SBH700 has a range of about 10 meters or roughly 30 feet, as stated by Samsung. I tested this and can confirm this as a minimum range, although I have no need for such distance.


Complaints

My biggest peeve about the SBH700 is that it isn't adjustable, which is important as I have a big neck/head (I have a 20" neck and a proportionally sized head). The ear buds are attached to flexible wires and each bud can be tilted slightly, but if I put the right ear bud in - the left bud is about an inch from fitting in my ear. I can pull each ear bud into an ear, but it won't stay if I let go and it is very uncomfortable. Why Samsung didn't take this into consideration is beyond me. Below, I have pictured my wife wearing the headset and show how the headset doesn't quite fit me.

There's also the issue of placing the button to answer a call and the play/pause button on an area of the unit which winds up just under the left and right ears respectively. You can't distinguish one from the other by a mere feel and I found myself pushing buttons mindlessly when initially trying to get the headset to answer an incoming call.

I would have preferred to have received a carrying case for the headset, as the unit isn't small and even when 'folded' - the wires flop around and the unit is inconvenient to carry around as such.


Conclusion

As you've seen, I have a few issues with the Samsung SBH700. I feel it's designed for folks with small heads and necks - something I have neither of. *Grin*. There's also the size of the ear buds which are actually too large for my small ear canals, but that's again a personal issue. The headset is solid and well-made other than the personal size issues I have. The range is sufficient and the music is quite nice. It does a good job as a music headset as well as a phone headset, with the necessary functions for both at your fingertips. It looks very sporty and is very lightweight. Overall, I'd give it a thumbs up and recommend you buy it today!





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Criteria 

Rating

Design/Layout 3
Usability 4
Sound Quality 4
Cost/Benefit 4
Overall
(not an average)
Pros
  • Sporty look
  • Lightweight
  • Stereo sound
  • Ambient noise reduction
  • Good range
  • Good battery life
  • Cons
  • Small and is not adjustable
  • Awkward controls when worn
  • No carrying case
  • At $99, it is a bit pricey


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