Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth headset

If you're someone who regularly finds themselves driving, or cycling, or skiing, or cooking, or cleaning, or doing anything - for that matter - which requires your hands and at least a portion of your concentration, then you'll know the value of a Bluetooth headset. 

But in the more energetic of the aforementioned pursuits, you'll find that a regular ol' one-eared headset won't do. They fall out. When you're halfway down a Colorado piste, or leaning over your stew, the last thing you want that little bit of expensive plastic to do is fall out.

Enter Sony Ericsson's MW600 - a teeny-tiny device with a big clip that lets you turn any pair of headphones into a Bluetooth headset. But is it worth shelling out your hard-earned cash for? Do you really need the MW600 in your life?

Look down at your little finger on your left hand. The MW600 is about the same size as that. It has a clip on the back that reaches two-thirds of the way down, and an OLED display on the front. The top has a headphone jack, the bottom has a Micro-USB socket, and there's power, call, volume and music controls scattered all over.

Pairing is simple and quick - when you turn the device on it'll automatically start searching. Turn on Bluetooth on your phone - or any other A2DP device, and you should spot MW600 in the list of things to connect to. Select it, and you should be paired - it's that easy.

Once you're paired, plug in your favourite pair of headphones - anything with a 3.5mm headphone jack will work - and you're good to go. A microphone on the device itself will allow you to chat away to anyone on the phone, and you'll look like you're an insane person, talking to yourself, when you're walking down the street.

The fact you can use your own headphones - or even speakers - is an absolute godsend. Too often we've struggled with the fit of Bluetooth headsets, and the option to switch from a tiny headset to a whopping great pair of cans at will is very welcome. Sound quality was impressive, with all the detail in the sound coming through warmly.

If you've got a Sony Ericsson phone, you'll be able to send song info to the screen of the device, but most smartphones should also allow you to skip tracks and do voice commands too, albeit with a little bit of delay between you pressing the button and it actually carrying out the action.

A word of caution, though - using the Spotify app on the Android-1.5-powered HTC Hero, we found that the phone's default music player would cut in when we hit pause, rather than Spotify just stopping. If you're not using a Sony Ericsson phone, your mileage may vary here.

Holding down the play button brings you to a menu where you can also select to listen to AM or FM radio through the device. We found the navigation to be exceptionally fiddly, but it's something you'll get used to in time. Just don't expect to be able to hand it to your mother and expect her to use it off the bat.

Battery life is respectable. We charged it fully once, and haven't managed to drain it over a week with medium usage. Sony Ericsson reckons you'll get about 10 hours out of it before needing to recharge, which you can do with a supplied Micro-USB cable.

 

Verdict

If you've been disappointed with Bluetooth headsets in the past, or you regularly find yourself in situations where you want to keep your phone out of harm's way but still listen to music on it, then the MW600 seems to fit the bill well, and delivers excellent sound quality with reasonable battery life.

You won't get the best functionality out of the device if you don't have a Sony Ericsson handset, but even without, we can come up with a whole pile of instances when it'd be useful - even essential - to have your mobile phone wirelessly connected to your headphones. The MW600 accomplishes that expertly.



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