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Samsung SBH170 review: Samsung SBH170

While the SBH170s have the best range we've seen, poor audio quality lets these headphones down.

Alex Kidman
Alex Kidman is a freelance word writing machine masquerading as a person, a disguise he's managed for over fifteen years now, including a three year stint at ZDNet/CNET Australia. He likes cats, retro gaming and terrible puns.
Alex Kidman

Samsung seems to have taken a bet each way with the SBH170s, which are wrap-around Bluetooth headphones but with no rigid frame; the two halves are connected by a loose rubberised cord that loops around the back of your head. This has two distinct disadvantages. Firstly, because the cord hides, you look like an extra from a particularly cheap Sci-Fi flick -- a bit like this, but worse -- while wearing them. More pertinently, they're also the most difficult to wear of our round-up of Bluetooth headphones. The idea is that they loop over the top of your ears, but if you wear glasses or have more than a small amount of hair (like, say 51 percent of the population) you'll find them a very loose fit -- if they fit at all.


Samsung SBH170

The Good

Excellent range.

The Bad

Tinny sound. Loose fit. Voice quality low.

The Bottom Line

While the SBH170s have the best range we've seen, poor audio quality lets these headphones down.

Sound quality
Matters weren't helped by the SBH170's audio quality, which tended towards the tinny and unconvincing in our tests. Voice quality was similarly on the low side comparative to our other tested headsets. The only real saving grace was the SBH170's range, which easily managed the full 10 metres before dropping out -- impressive stuff.

Pairing/ease of use
Pairing the SBH170 to our test devices was quick and painless, and it was picked up in every instance. Other usage, however, was more fiddly; the buttons are all very small and closely clustered, making it far too easy to hit pause when adjusting the volume, or skipping tracks while trying to pause.