A simple and stylish wireless solution for the busy urban professional, the Sony Ericsson HBH-PV708 Bluetooth headset keeps its design cues in line with the rest of the SE Bluetooth lineup. You get a standard earloop to hold it in place and the familiar “stick” style Bluetooth headset that you’ve come to expect from Sony Ericsson. Reasonably affordable at about fifty bucks, the PV708 is far from being a premium product, but does it offer a satisfying experience? Let’s find out.
Features at a Glance
The Sony Ericsson HBH-PV708 is compliant with the Bluetooth 2.0+EDR specification, so it should work quite well with a wide variety of handsets. The claimed battery life is also quite impressive with 15 hours of talk and up to 500 hours of standby.
Other features include digital noise cancellation, last number redial with a double-click, and auto pairing. The included Adaptive Frequency Hopping (ADH) “reduces the impact of interference between wireless technologies, resulting in excellent audio quality.” ADH sounds like it could be quite useful, especially if you oftentimes find yourself surrounded by other wireless technologies. You know. Like all the time.
What’s in the Box?
The HBH-PV708 Bluetooth headset ships in a fairly standard-looking box, which I greatly prefer over that horrible plastic blister-packing. This makes it a lot easier to open (and reuse).Inside the box, you get the headset itself, a wall charger, user guides in a variety of languages, and a neck strap.
The neck strap is designed so that you can dangle the headset in front of your chest when you’re not using it, but I almost feel like this takes away from the handsfree experience of a Bluetooth headset in the first place. That said, I guess it can get uncomfortable having a headset plunked inside your ear for hours at a time.
I wouldn’t say that I was impressed with the HBH-PV708 the first time I held it in my hand, but I wouldn’t say that I was disappointed either. As mentioned earlier, this feels like a pretty standard offering from Sony Ericsson, looking like every other Bluetooth headset that the company has released in the last few years. They’re all kind of the same.
The build quality is pretty good, I suppose, making use of good quality plastic and placing the controls in convenient locations. You get a pair of volume rocker keys on the side and then there is one main button on the body that handles everything else. The red/green indicator light is also simple yet effective.
One thing that I find a little interesting is the charging port on the headset is completely exposed at all times. There is no rubber covering or any kind of flap. This isn’t too much of a concern, but I would get a little worried when there’s wet weather abound. Then again, I guess your BT headset shouldn’t be getting wet at all in the first place.
Pairing and User Interface
Continuing with the middle of the road experience, everything with this headset is going to feel really familiar to anyone who has ever used just about any other Bluetooth headset on the market. You hold the main button to turn it on and activate the discoverable/pairing mode. You search for the device using your cell phone, enter the default passcode, and you’re ready to chat to your heart’s delight.
Whereas some other headsets put the earloop on a pivot so that it is easier to take on and off, this is not available on the HBH-PV708. The earloop is pretty much held in place, so it may take a little bit of practice to find the best way to put it on. Even when you do, I don’t really feel the earpiece inside my ear canal like how I would with some other headsets. This is both good and bad, I suppose.
Ah, and here’s the make or break factor when it comes to wireless headsets. Before we get to voice quality, I should say that the comfort level of wearing the PV708 for extended periods isn’t too bad. The ear loop is tight enough to minimize movement, but it’s also loose enough as not to feel to restricting. This will depend on the shape of your ear, of course, so your mileage may vary.
Since the earpiece does not really enter your ear canal as much as some other headsets, I feared that I would have a hard time hearing things with this headset. Thankfully, my fears weren’t really justified. Everything comes in pretty loud and clear. There’s minimal static and this could be due to the aforementioned ADH and noise cancellation technologies.
I prefer headsets with a slightly longer microphone boom, since they are typically better at picking up my voice. Performance was decent here, but I was told that I could still sound “distant” at times and callers may have a hard time hearing all my words. This seems to the nature of the beast when it comes to low- to mid-range headsets.
If you’re looking for the absolute best Bluetooth headset on the market today, this isn’t it. At the same time, it’s far from being the worst either. The build quality and design of the Sony Ericsson HBH-PV708 fit right in the middle of the road, as does the performance. The Adaptive Frequency Hopping helps to minimize interference, so calls are typically static-free.
At about fifty bucks from most online retailers, the HBH-PV708 won’t break the bank and it’s a suitable solution for people who are stuck with those anti-cell phone driving laws.
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