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Sony Ericsson MW600 Hi-Fi Wireless Headset Review

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screenshot_021The Sony Ericsson MW600 is a bluetooth “headset” that streams audiophile-grade audio from your phone or A2DP device. This small AA-battery-sized device incorporates a microphone for voice-activated commands, an AM/FM radio, and a small OLED display. There is no other Bluetooth device on the market quite like the MW600. Essentially, it will turn any pair of standard 3.5mm headphones into Bluetooth headphones, which can make calls and stream music without touching your phone. It can also turn any pair of speakers into Bluetooth speakers, allowing you to control the music using your phone or A2DP device from anywhere in the room. Personally, the MW600 was ideal for me at the gym, allowing me to keep my phone far from harms way.

What’s in the box:

In the box you will likely find the battery-sized device, the headphones, which are just a couple feet in length, alternate ear buds to fit any ear, and the micro USB charger. It should also include a manual, unlike our press sample that didn’t come with any packaging or documentation.

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Set-up:

Even though we had no manual, the set up was very simple and straight forward. It involved turning the device on, and then searching for it with your Bluetooth-enabled device. The device doesn’t require a Bluetooth passcode, so I was rocking with my iPhone 3G S in under a minute. Unfortunately, my MacBook, iMac, and older IBM were unable to find and pair to the device. The product is supposed to sync to computers (hopefully not just Sony’s) so further testing may be required. It took me a bit to figure out how to navigate to the AM/FM radio feature, but that will be a breeze with a manual.

Design:

The device was much smaller than I expected. The design is very sleek, all dressed up in black. It is made of plastic, but feels pretty tough. The clip on the back also feels very durable, and will work well on material of various thicknesses. Weighing in at just under half an ounce (7 grams), the MW600 is definitely a lightweight bluetooth accessory. I would not worry about dropping it more than a few times. The buttons are sized appropriately for even the pudgier of fingers. The volume is controlled by a touch slider, which duals as a navigation tool in the very limited menu system. This slider takes some getting used to, but is nice in preventing accidental volume adjustment. The microphone is located right below the button that is used for voice commands, so don’t leave your finger on the button otherwise your voice will be muffled. The headphones may seem kind of awkward at first because they are not designed to extend down to your pocket (because of the microphone). Once you get used to clipping the device to a shirtsleeve or pocket you’ll wonder how you ever dealt with a lengthy headphone cable in the first place (they seem like they’re always getting in the way). The MW600 is also compatible with any headphones with the standard 3.5mm jack.

Performance and Audio/music quality:

The audio quality from this device blew me away. The “sound enhancing” earbuds that came with the device sound outstanding. Using the Sony headphones and streaming music wirelessly from my iPhone sounded even better than plugging in my $100 V-Moda earbuds directly into the phone. The sound is very clear and the bass is nice and deep. They are very comfortable, and even stayed flush in my ear while doing pushups and crunches. AM/FM radio sounded good too (as good as AM/FM can sound). The audio quality did not degrade at all with distance. Once I hit the Bluetooth range, which is listed as 10 meters (but seemed to be further) the audio just stops streaming altogether.

The MW600 appears to be optimized for Sony Ericsson phones. However, I was able to take advantage of the voice control on my iPhone 3GS and use all of the features anyway. The play/pause buttons worked, but the track buttons did not, this is because the iPhone does not support AVRCP. I was able to use voice commands for “next” and “previous” to compensate though. Also, I was able to use voice commands like “Call Chip Chick” and “Play artist Decemberists”. No song information was transmitted to the device (as it would on compatible Sony Ericsson Phones), but contact names did pop up when receiving phone calls. The phone call quality sounds great from both ends. The battery life is listed as 8.5 hours to 11 hours, these numbers seemed to be pretty conservative.

Conclusion:

The MW600 headset is being released alongside the upcoming Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Android based headset and is a perfect compliment to the very multimedia and music centric X10. Fortunately, the MW600 also worked flawlessly with my iPhone 3G S. If you are fanatical about music, and have a compatible device, than you will fall in love with this device. Keep in mind it will also convert any speakers into Bluetooth speakers. Just plug an aux cable from the MW600 in to any speakers and you can stream music wirelessly from anywhere in your room or house. Also, don’t be fooled by “OLED,” as I was, it looks just like a regular LCD. There is no word on pricing yet, but judging on the quality the device will likely fall into the $100 – $200 range.

Good: Amazing audio, perfect size and durability, great battery, very handy and unique use of Bluetooth

Bad: Full set of features are limited to only some Sony Ericsson devices, No Apparent Mac support, OLED dispay was nothing special