Sony DR BT160 review: Sony DR BT160

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.7
  • Design: 6.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Sony DR-BT160 Active Style Wireless Stereo Headset allows for wireless audio streaming and music playback control with a compatible Bluetooth device. Sound quality is good.

The Bad The Sony DR-BT160 Active Style Wireless Stereo Headset is pricey, and the neckband isn't adjustable, which can cause fit and comfort issues. Call quality is only so-so.

The Bottom Line The Sony DR-BT160 Active Style Wireless Headset is a good option for gym rats who want to cut the cord between themselves and their wireless music devices, but business-minded users who are picky about call quality should steer clear.

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Fitness-friendly headphones come in a variety of shapes and styles--from earclip to behind-the-neck--and finding a pair that stays put on your head while you're active can take some trial and error. Once you get past fit issues, you may find yourself wanting some more advanced features, and built-in Bluetooth technology often tops that list, as it eliminates the need for cumbersome wires tethering you to your MP3 player. The latest pair of active-style earphones to hit the market is Sony's DR-BT160 Wireless Stereo Headset, which comes in two models: the $130 BT160AS, which includes just the headphones, and the $180 BT160IK, which also throws in an iPod adapter. It's a pricey solution, but those who can get a good fit will be rewarded with good wireless sound quality.

About fit: the Sony DR-BT160 headphones are not adjustable, so it is going to be an issue for some users. This reviewer, with her abnormally small ears, certainly had a problem getting the headset to feel secure and comfortable. Other testers had better results, though. The DR-BT160s have a pretty typical behind-the-neck design, with a band that loops over the top of the ear and earbuds that are inserted within. The Bluetooth power and control modules are somewhat triangular in shape and rest behind each ear. The left contains the battery and a port for charging, and the right houses the controls: a pairing button, a call-answer key, and a joystick that adjusts volume and skips tracks. The joystick may also be pressed in to play or pause tracks; this particular control is a bit awkward, but other than that, we found the toggle handy and responsive.

Setting up the Sony DR-BT160 headset couldn't be easier, just be sure to fully charge the unit first. Then, put your audio device--a BlackBerry Storm, in our case--in Bluetooth search mode, press and hold the headset's pairing button, and select it from a list on your device. Once you start playback from the handset's media player, you can access complete control from the headset. When a call comes through, music playback is paused in order to let you answer the phone (should you so choose).

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Where to Buy

Sony Active Style

Part Number: DR-BT160AS Released: Nov 18, 2008

MSRP: $129.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Nov 18, 2008
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Additional Features play/pause button
    volume control
    water resistant
  • Type headset
  • Headphones Form Factor in-ear (with behind-the-neck mount)