The HBH-IS800 comes with three separate rubber sleeves, to suit a variety of ears, and once fitted they feel snug enough, which is important as the friction against the ear is the only thing that stops these earphones ending up in the gutter.
Still needs a cable, for the mic and the control key
The chaps at Sony Ericsson, who are all sporting HBH-IS800s these days, have a nice clip in the middle of the wire for attaching the set to shirt collars, but our model lacked that, and it would only be useful if you were wearing a collar anyway. If your workout is rowing or cycling then you should be fine, but anyone planning to jog might want to invest in a cloths peg or risk extending their run as they return to collect their earphones every now and then.
But if your exercise features fewer impacts then the sound you'll get over the HBH-IS800s is very good. Bluetooth stereo is, of course, dependent on both the headset and the handset supporting the same codecs - the standard only mandates a very basic wireless stereo coding, so manufacturers tend to implement their own but are generally reluctant to talk about it for fear of confusing consumers.
The difference was audible when we tested the HBH-IS800s with a Sony Ericsson Walkman handset and with out, non-SE phones, but the quality was very acceptable with Nokia and Samsiung handsets we used.
A premium product in a natty black case
SE claims the set's battery life is around four hours for playback or 11 days on standby. We found those numbers to be slightly conservative, achieving four-and-a-half hours continuous playback before the 'phones shut down after giving several audible warnings. During phone calls, the microphone faired well - it tends to hang near the mouth so call quality wasn't a problem.
The HBH-IS800 is close to perfect - if you want wireless stereo then there's little reason to chose any other product. The only drawbacks emerge if you're planning to go jogging, or are very cost sensitive. (final price is still unknown, but this will be a premium product). Everyone else will be happy to see wireless headphones as they ought to be seen: compact, comfortable to wear and as user-friendly as wired 'phones.
Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 Bluetooth stereo headphones
but will they fall apart?
I've gove through about half a dozen in-ear sony buds over the last five years which have all died due to the rubber/wire breaking where it meets the earbud - the cheap bundled ones i've got with SE handsets have survived for years, but consumer ones from sony with the softer rubber on the wires simply dont last.
That being said, stereo bluetooth is the way forward, i've use my moto S9s for a couple of hours a day almost every day for the last year. I know they dont fit everybody perfectly but for me they're great - the controls work really well and nothing else comes close to being as usable while running/cycling/squashed on a busy tube.
no FM radio? no AV controls?
many headsets are a triumph of style over comfort and usability. I guess pretty much all the technical issues have been solved so the marketing people can squeeze a headset into any shape they like. so far the best device I've found is the Motorola S705 which will pair with multiple devices, does the A2DP stuff, has an FM radio and AV controls. Even better, you don't have to use them with the supplied earphones, which is essential since in the main I hate the in-ear things!
Larger bluetooth headsets with more buttons (and less shiny boxes) are also available...
If all gadgets were strictly functional at the expense of form the world would be far less interesting. These look like they'll go nicely with my very shiny (if ever so slightly compromised Sony Ericsson X1)
They're as wireless as they can be
Hey Bassey! Nice rant about wireless with wires. The wire-less part is the connection between mobile and headphones which makes sense when you think about it. If it was truly wire-less how are you going to get stereo if you don't have a physical wire connecting the two earbuds? I suppose you could have a Bluetooth receiver in each one that decodes just left or right but you'd need a battery and a charger connector in each one too. So that doubles the price. And what about a microphone for when someone phones you up? You haven't thought this through.
I've got the SE HBH-DS220 which has a Bluetooth receiver with a clip which has the distinct advantage of allowing you to plug in any headphones of your own choosing if you don't like the in-ear canal ones supplied. Plus you can replace them when the cable inevitably gets damaged. And they're a lot cheaper too.
Still Prefer My Motorola S9's
They have controls on them (for the limited range of player that support Bluetooth controls), have no annoying wires, have equivalent battery life, charge from a standard USB cable and cost about 1/2 the price of these.