Samsung SBH170 Bluetooth Stereo Headset review: Samsung SBH170 Bluetooth Stereo Headset

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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The Samsung SBH170 stereo Bluetooth headset has a comfortable fit, user-friendly controls, and reliable sound quality.

The Bad The Samsung SBH170 stereo Bluetooth headset didn't perform quite as well in noisy conditions.

The Bottom Line The Samsung SBH170 stereo Bluetooth headset has a solid combination of design and performance.

8.0 Overall

Samsung SBH170 stereo Bluetooth headset zbs

As more cell phones with stereo Bluetooth profiles continue to hit the market, manufacturers are responding with a gallery of new stereo headsets as well. As we've said before, the proliferation of stereo Bluetooth is more than just a welcome development, it genuinely excites us. And as stereo headsets go, the Samsung SBH170 offers a satisfying user experience and a unique and comfortable design. It's a tad pricey at $119, but it's a good investment if you love wireless music as much as we do.

When you first take the SBH170 from its box, you may be confused as to exactly how you're supposed to wear it. The rubberized cord that connects the two earpieces is designed to wrap into a ball so the entire headset can fit into a small carrying case. While it makes for a convenient--not to mention portable--arrangement, it also means you have to take the time to play with it to get the most comfortable fit.

But once you put the SBH170 on correctly--with the cord hooked over ears and then wrapped behind your neck--it's a comfortable fit. It's so light (2 ounces) that we didn't mind leaving it on for long periods, and we like that the foam-covered earpieces rest on top of your ears rather than in them. Some users may think the 1.5-inch wide earpieces are a bit too big, but we didn't find them too conspicuous. The black-and-silver color scheme is attractively subdued and the overall construction is solid. Yet the one-foot cord may be too short for users with larger noggins. When we tilted our head back we felt the earpieces pull off our ears just slightly.

The controls on the SBH170 are easy to use, but a quick look at the user's manual is necessary. All buttons are on the left earpiece and include a dedicated power switch (nice!), a volume rocker, and a multifunction button for managing calls. For the music player, there's a Play/Pause button and a Fast Forward/Rewind switch. The earpiece also features a small LED light that indicates the headset's status and a covered headset port for the charger. Though the arrangement may sound crowded, there's plenty of space for all controls and we had no trouble using them when the headset was on.

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