Products & Reviews
Sony Ericsson HBH-IV835 Headset
Wed Jul 12, 2006 - 2:30 PM EDT - By
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> Overview Conclusion
Overview Ok I admit it — I absolutely love reviewing headsets. It's become almost a sport for me, looking at the different ones available and seeking out the select few that are comfortable and usable. Headsets continue to get smaller and lighter while adding new features. One of my favorite headsets is the Jabra JX10 [ Review | Buy ] because of its diminutive size and threadbare earloop. The Sony Ericsson HBH-IV835 Headset is the first headset I have used that forgoes the earloop completely. Does it magically stay in the ear while being comfortable to use?
Features Although the HBH-IV835 is tiny, there are some very robust features held within its sleek black casing: Bluetooth 2.0, digital echo and noise cancellation, automatic volume adjustment, Digital Signal Processing (DSP) and Adaptive Frequency Hopping (AHF). So the HBH-IV835 has the latest Bluetooth spec, keeps the background noise to a minimum while adjusting its volume when needed, and adapts to interference by other nearby devices. Inside the box, there are instructions in eight different languages, a lanyard strap, and different size gel pieces for securing the HBH-IV835 to your ear. It uses the same style power charger that the K750 mobile phone uses. You're supposed to charge the headset for two hours before its first use. While charging, the headset's tiny LED is red then turns green when fully charged.
There are no volume controls on the HBH-IV835 — only a power button and the normal action button. The power button is extremely small, and at times I had trouble pressing it. You can use the Treo's stylus in a pinch, but the HBH-IV835 really doesn't need a power button anyway. I'm surprised Sony Ericsson didn't just make the action button also power on/off the device. That would have made this headset a true one-button headset.
You only have to press the power button for a few seconds to turn the HBH-IV835 on/off. Hold in the power button for around eight seconds while the headset is off to put it in pairing mode. Passcode is 0000.
Usability The gel pieces are a crucial component in holding the HBH-IV835 up, as there is no earloop. I wasn't sure if I would like the headset, as things like the iPod's earphones hurt my ears after a short amount of time. The gel pieces (small, medium, large) are easy to remove from the headset, which ships with the medium gel piece in place. My ears must be small (explains why my ex-wife said I never listened), so I went with the small gel piece in order to consistantly keep the headset in place. I got used to this in-ear headset over time, but because it's so easy to quickly get it in your ear, you can wear it on the included lanyard or keep it in your pocket or sitting on your desk until you need it. This is the perfect headset for people that wear glasses.
Even after securing the headset, there were times when I had to readjust the headset slightly. Then again I don't normally wear in-ear devices, so I'm sure it's my technique that's deficient, not the HBH-IV835. The action button is very well designed. You don't have to press it very hard at all to answer/hang up on calls, and it makes a low, almost inaudible blip when you press it, which I prefer to the loud tones that some headsets have.
Sound Quality The HBH-IV835 adds a wrinkle to gauging sound quality with its self-adjusting volume control. I found that I didn't miss the volume buttons, whether I was in a quiet office or standing outside on a busy street. People on the other side of the call could hear me clearly, though it was better for them when I was talking on my Sony Ericsson K750 mobile phone than when I was using the Treo 650. I blame the 650's old Bluetooth implementation for this, however. Treo 700 users will have a better experience.
The noise cancellation is good, though people could still tell when I was driving because of my car's engine noise. I left a message on my home phone while driving and found that I could barely hear any background noise and didn't hear my car's radio at all. Then again a friend could hear me puting away the dishes, so don't get a false sense of security with the noise cancellation feature and start talking to your friends while in the bathroom.
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