As an increasing number of mobile phones incorporate a music player into their features, more and more stereo Bluetooth headphones are unleashed onto the market. The audio quality offered is still not on par with wired models, but the headsets offer the advantage of cord-free listening. Still, size can be an issue for some: very few models offer an earbud-style design, and even then, there are often larger earpieces attached. Sony Ericsson addresses this issue with its HBH-IS800 Wireless Stereo Headphones, which are the tiniest wireless earphones we've ever come across. With an MSRP of $200, this set is far from the cheapest, but if you're after a cord-free pair in the most compact package, the HBH-IS800 is the best option.
Rarely are we in awe of a product's design, but the Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 headphones are nothing short of incredible. The company managed to cram all the technology required of a stereo Bluetooth headset--a receiver, a transmitter, and a battery--into two tiny earpieces, each measuring just an inch long and less than half an inch in diameter. The earbuds are attached by a single black cable, which incorporates a thin module containing a mic and call-answer button close to the left earpiece. The 'buds themselves offer a modicum of style, with silver accents and the green Sony Ericsson logo stamped into their ends.
Popping off the end cap of the right earpiece reveals a port for charging the HBH-IS800 headphones. Sony Ericsson includes a wall-wart power adapter for this task. The package also contains a circular box for storing the headphones, a shirt clip for managing any extra cable, and three sizes of silicone ear tips. However, there's no guarantee you'll get a good fit. Although they are small for wireless headphones, the HBH-IS800s are actually on the large side compared with typical earbuds, so some users may not be able to achieve a secure and comfortable fit. Another thing about size: the overall compactness of the unit doesn't allow for any playback or volume controls on the headset.
Surely, the most obvious draw of the HBH-IS800 Wireless Stereo Headphones is their ultracompact design, but you might also be pleased to learn that they deliver in the audio department, as well (presuming you can get a decent seal with the ear). The earphones offer tight, enveloping bass that generally does not overshadow the other sonic elements, though certain frantic rock and electronica tracks can sound messy. Mids are rich and warm, but get lost among other audio at times. High-end detail and clarity is good, but not quite as sparkly as what you would expect from a wired set in this price range. Still, you're mostly paying for the ultratiny form factor, and Sony Ericsson delivers here without sacrificing sound quality, which is on par with or better than most other stereo Bluetooth headphones.