Friday, March 19th, 2010
Sony Ericsson have just released their latest Bluetooth Headphones, the MW600. Those of you familiar with older models from Sony Ericsson might think that they don’t look much different to the DS200 or DS980 that have been around for a number of years now, but you’d be wrong!
Although similar in design to previous models, the Sony Ericsson MW600 Stereo Bluetooth Headset is a massive improvement over previous models and has some great new features. Given the wide range of phones that now double up as music & media players, I thought I’d get hold of a set and put them through their paces with three of the most popular phones currently available – the iPhone, Nokia X6 and Sony Ericsson Vivaz.
The MW600 certainly isn’t short of features, despite it’s compact size. Built into the control unit is a multipoint Bluetooth receiver, FM Radio, music controls, touch sensitive volume keys, a hidden OLED display, a Micro USB charging port, internal battery and a 3.5 headphone socket. That’s a lot for something so small.
The MW600 supports both the A2DP and AVRCP profiles so you can listen to your music in stereo and control your music playback without having to touch your phone. Advanced Multipoint support allows you to connect the headset to your phone, MP3 player and games console all at the same time.
The feature that stands out the most is the FM Radio. Most of you will know from experience that in order to use the radio built into your phone you need to have a wired hands free kit connected, so listening to the radio over Bluetooth has always been impossible. That all changes with the MW600 as there’s an FM receiver built into the control pod. Not only will this save power on your phone, but also means that you can listen to the radio when you get bored of your music on your iPod touch or MP3 player.
Sony Ericsson have always been a fan of this style of headset, but it’s nice to see that they’ve finally ditched the hard wired headphones and as I’ve already mentioned they now include a 3.5mm headphone jack that allows you to use any standard headphones with it.
Size wise, the MW600 isn’t much bigger than an AA battery and it weighs just 13g. It comes with a set of HPM-78 headphones which are comfortable to use and sound great. More on those later.
Sony Ericsson have given the MW600 a very simple, stylish look. Minimal visible controls and a hidden OLED screen make this a really nice looking device.
In the Box
Not a lot to say about what’s included. You get the MW600, a (now standard) Micro USB mains charger, HPM-78 headphones with 2 sets of spare ear gels and the usual wealth of user guides and warranty leaflets. The user guides though are all quick start, and to be honest they weren’t really detailed enough.
Controls & Set Up
5 buttons, one small screen and a quick start guide did leave me a little confused initially, but once I’d figured out the logic behind the menu system it all made sense.
The MW600 can be paired to 3 devices at the same time thanks to multipoint technology, but of these 3, only two are active at any one time. This means that you can pair it to your phone for calls, your iPod touch for music and your games console or PC for gaming.
Pairing your phone is really simple – especially if you’re using it with a Sony Ericsson phone. The first time I turned the headset on it found the Vivaz straight away and the phone asked me if I wanted to add it as a device. After I pressed yes, it was connected. No searching for bluetooth devices, no entering PIN numbers, it just worked.
The process was similar for subsequent devices, although I had to search for the MW600 on both the X6 and iPhone, but neither asked for a PIN.
You can quickly choose which 2 devices you want active by pressing and holding the play button to select your music source and pressing and holding the answer button to select your phone.
It’s easy enough to do, but it might take a couple of try’s to figure out which is which. The icons on the screen are a little small and don’t show the name of the devices that are connected.
Of all of the controls, the one that takes the most amount of getting used to is the volume. It’s a touch sensitive bar mounted above the screen. You just slide your finger along it to adjust the volume but I found you needed to slide your finger across it several times to go from quiet to full volume.
You really can’t tell that your music is being streamed to the MW600 from your phone. Audio quality is excellent. I tried using the HPM-78′s and my existing headphones and suffered no problems at all with the quality of music play back.
On both the Nokia X6 and Sony Ericsson Vivaz music playback was a dream. Just hit play and it started to play music, press it again and it stopped. Track skip and rewind worked as they should without too much of a delay. The iPhone, because of it’s lack of support for the AVRCP Bluetooth profile had it’s usual problems. Track skip won’t work but play/pause works fine.
One thing that did surprise me with the iPhone is that you can adjust the volume. Most others headphones don’t allow this because they try and change the volume level on the phone, but as the MW600 can increase the volume output itself, you can adjust the volume to a comfortable listening level.
The X6 and Vivaz were both able to display song information on the screen of the MW600, but the iPhone didn’t support it.
I couldn’t test this fully as I only had the headset for one day, but the headset charged fully in just under 2 hours. I had it connected to my phone, streaming music all day and still had power left.
A cool feature that’s only available with Sony Ericsson handsets is that the headset will display an alert on the screen of your phone when the battery in the MW600 is running low.
Sony Ericsson say that the MW600 will provide you with upto 8.5 hours of music streaming, 500 hours of standby time and up to 11 hours of talk time – that all seems mad considering how small it is, but nothing I saw lead me to believe that any of this wasn’t possible.
Why Choose the Sony Ericsson MW600
No matter what brand of phone you have the MW600 will work brilliantly with it. Admittedly there are some features that will only work on Sony Ericsson phones, but your everyday features will all work fine. The MW 600 is the only headset I’ve come across that has an FM radio built in, or that allows you to listen to radio without being plugged into your phone. Taking all this into account and the fact that the Sony Ericsson MW600 is currently less than £40, you really can’t go wrong.
My Rating: 10/10
Prices and availability are correct as of 19/03/10 and are subject to change.