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Appeared on: Thursday, January 20, 2005
Sony Ericsson HBH-660 Akono Bluetooth Headset


1. Introduction

Sony Ericsson HBH-660 Akono Bluetooth Headset - Page 1

- Introduction

Sony Ericsson has for some time now been producing quality products for mobile users. I personally have been a great supporter of (Sony) Ericsson phones, being among the first who ever bought the famous T68 and the newest K700i models. Since I use my mobile phone daily, the need for a bluetooth handsfree was a basic necessity. For quite sometime, I have been monitoring the market and after sometime I decided to buy Sony Ericsson's latest Bluetooth headset, the Akono HBH-600. In this review, we will see why I decided to buy it, how it performs and if it was worth buying after all. Lets begin...

- Features

Sony Ericsson doesn't need flashy advertising for this new model, since its stylish appearance is the first thing that will catch your eye's attention. The headset, among other things, includes a small backlit LCD screen that is mainly used to display the headset battery condition and of course, the most important thing...who's calling :-)

Lets see the headset in greater detail. Below we can see the Akono HBH-660 in its full glory.


(Courtesy of Sony Ericsson)

The Headset includes, as we mentioned before, a backlit LCD screen, the accept/reject button next to the screen, two buttons at the top which can be used for a variety of funtions and the ear loop which holds it firmly attached to our ears! The headset seems well built and confirms Sony Ericsson's high manufacturing standards. Below you can see the exact location of all the control buttons:


(Courtesy of Sony Ericsson)

According to the specs, the headset weights 23gr, its internal battery can hold up to 5hour talk time and up to 150hours standbye without recharge. The phone will work with all of Sony Ericsson's previous models that support Bluetooth (V800, S700i, P910i, K700i, Z1010, T630, P900, Z600, T610, P800, T68i) and comes in two colours (Silver / Grey).

Despite the fact that Sony Ericsson guarantees that it is fully operational with its phones, the HBH-660 works with any Bluetooth phone that supports the Bluetooth Headset or Handsfree profiles. What might not work with models other than Sony Ericsson, is the call ID function.

- The Package

We bought our Akono HBH-660 from a local store at the retail price of €119.00. The headset can be found on the internet for around €100 ~ €110 Euro, depending on the region. The European package included, the Akono HBH-660 headset, its charger, a necklace strap and manuals in 16 languages. The included charger is exactly the same as that being used with all Sony Ericsson models, which is a plus for Sony Ericsson phone users, since you don't have to carry around a second charger for the headset.

When the phone rings, you just check the Info Display to see who is calling and decide whether you want to take or reject the call. The HBH-660 can be used with any brand of Bluetooth mobile phones that support the Headset or Handsfree profiles.


2. Headset Operation

Sony Ericsson HBH-660 Akono Bluetooth Headset - Page 2

- Headset Operation

After charging the headset for almost 1.5~2 hours, we turned it on, by pressing the "Call Handling Button" for 5 seconds. The LCD screen powers up and the "Akono" logo comes up.

Sony's Ericsson's manual describes in depth, how to exactly connect (pair) the headset with your mobile phone. Although the instructions are mainly for Sony Ericsson phones, they should be more or less the same for other brands as well.

As we mentioned earlier, before being able to use the headset, you have to "pair" (aka connect) the headset with the phone. This takes only a few seconds and as Sony Ericsson suggests, you have to be very close to the phone:

By pressing the "Call Handling Button", the headset will connect to the phone. After typing four zeros (0000) for the password, your phone will pair the headset with its ID (Akono HBH-660)

The performance of the headset, mainly depends on your position with regard to the phone. The Bluetooth protocol has as maximum range, 10meters. However, no obstacles should be between you and the phone. The following graph shows the headset's optimal performance:

You can swivel the ear brace 90 degrees to fit it to your ear.

Or even 180 degrees if you want to place it on your left ear. Note that the LCD screen display can be turned up or down too!

When someone calls you, their number is displayed on the LCD screen. If the number is stored in your address book, the name will appear instead of the number. We noticed however, that this is valid only for contacts with only a single entry (mobile) and not multiple...

The headset recognizes voice commands that can be used to dial, redial, answer and reject a phone call. Of course, you first have to make the corresponding entry in the phone's memory.

To master all headset features, it is adviseable to read carefully the included manuals...There is also a big online FAQ in case you still have some questions.

- Performance

I haven't had any previous use with other Bluetooth headsets, but the headset seems to fit very comfortably around the ear, although I would like it to have a more stable feeling and the earpiece could me more comfortable. After having placed it on your ear, you tend to forget that it's there, thanks to its light weight, although there are much lighter headsets available on the market.

The sound that comes from the headset speaker is loud and clear, and can be turned up/down with the corresponding buttons, which is convenient. The 6 digit LCD screen is very useful when someone calls, since it lights up with the phone icon, warning of an incoming call. However, since it's very small, the number will scroll left/right very qucikly making the idenfication rather difficult in case you had a phone call from an unknown source.

The battery seems very good, so far had it turned on 40 hours, talked over 2hours and still haven't seen it drop at 50%, so i assume that the numbers which Sony Ericsson claims, are more or less true. The battery gauge indicator at the LCD screen is very useful, we want to know when we run out of battery so we can re-charge it for another hard day.

In real life conditions, we were able to talk after walking away from the phone, around 4-5 meters with two thin walls in between, although with a little distrortion. We didn't notice any delay in the voice and in general we were happy with the performance so far. While we didn't test the headset with any other phones, we read various reports around the net, showing that the headset will work fine with all bluetooth enabled phones and even display the caller ID on the LCD screen.

The headset cannot be used to hear music (mp3 files, radio) or other audio (recorded messages/video files), unfortunately! As a last negative, the end of the rubber grommet on the swivel brace may eventually wear out after long time use... ours has already started showing traces of wear.


3. Conclusion

Sony Ericsson HBH-660 Akono Bluetooth Headset - Page 3

- Conclusion

The Akono HBH-660A is Sony Ericsson's latest Bluetooth headset and has something unique that seperates it from the competition, a backlit LCD screen! Hopefully soon, other headset manufacturers will include such a feature too, and maybe even larger than 6 digits. In general, we were very pleased with the headset's performance under everyday, real life use and the comfortable operation on either the left or right ears.

As usual, unique features cost, and so Sony Ericsson wants €100 ~ €110 for HBH-660, which might be a drawback for most users, since "normal" headsets cost around half the money. Of course, someone who wants to have and use the lastest technology gadgets will pay the extra money and buy the HBH-660 headset. Overall, a highly recommended Bluetooth headset for all mobile users!

- The Good

- The Bad

- Like To Be Fixed

Retail Package
Design
Comfortability
Performance
Value For Money


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