Nothing is worse when battling with coat, scarf and a bag, than having to also negotiate a wayward headphone cable. Bluetooth is obviously the answer and Sennheiser, looking to add a little class to the mobile phone headset aftermarket think their MM 200 may fit the bill.
The MM 200 takes a fairly typical headset and puts it into a lanyard design, so you wear the entire thing around your neck. This means the earbuds can concentrate on delivering the music, whilst the brains of the outfit all lives in a separate box.
Whilst wearing it around your neck like a pendant might not be for some, it is certainly comfortable, and more comfortable than some Bluetooth stereo headphones we’ve tried in the past. The downside is that it might not suit your style, so the MM 200 is likely to appeal to a particular subset of people who don’t mind wearing it around their neck.
The box of tricks itself provides the battery, Bluetooth technology and the remote control functions. A proprietary connection resides under a rubber cap on the base - sadly it doesn’t use Micro- or Mini-USB - so whatever you are doing, you’ll need to remember that separate cable, which is a bit of a pain. Charging takes about 3 hours, and will give you about 300 hours of standby time, 11 hours of talk time or 9 hours of music, which beats most other headsets.
Pairing with a mobile phone is easy and then off you go. The controls give you basic play/pause, forward and back functions, as well as allowing you to change the volume, which is a great bonus and means you don’t have to root around in your pocket when you get on the Tube. They also give you the normal in-call controls too.
The earbuds come in three different sizes of rubber tip to ensure you can find the best one for you to block out background noise. Getting the fit right really brings out the quality of the music. We felt it was a little light on the bass by default, but as you’d expect from Sennheiser, the overall quality is very good, bringing out some of the more subtle elements of your music that other headsets just steam-roller through.
Doubling up as a handsfree kit is a real bonus too, as you’ll almost forget you are connected to your phone until you are rudely interrupted by an incoming call. Thanks to those close fitting earbuds, callers come through loud and clear. The microphone that you’ll barely notice on the left will pick out your voice pretty well, but perhaps not as clearly as some of the most recent noise-cancelling editions. Callers could hear what we were saying, but with it being on the cable, you have the tendency to pull it towards your mouth when they can’t hear you.
So overall it is a tidy little package from Sennheiser, delivering music and calling functions in compact and lightweight bundle.
However, it isn’t really suited to sports use thanks to its tendency to swing around. There is a clip provided in the box, but with the length of the lanyard, this is only really good for clipping to a shirt pocket out of the way so you don’t look like some sort of medallion-wearing hombre. (Ok, if you were running with a small backpack containing your phone/water/work clothes, you’d be able to clip on to the strap to stop it bouncing.)
The use of a non-standard connection on the bottom is an irritation because you’ll need to take yet another cable on your travels, but it does come with a proper mains charger in the box.
Overall it is a little pricey for our liking, but if this is your style, then it performs its functions very aptly.