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Sony Ericsson HBH-PV740 review: Sony Ericsson HBH-PV740

It certainly looks the part, but this hands-free headset from Sony Ericsson struggles to give us what we want most — clear call quality.

Joseph Hanlon Special to CNET News
Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies.
Joseph Hanlon
2 min read

Design
Do you like your Bluetooth headsets in black? Previous Sony Ericsson headsets have featured colourful interchangeable faceplates, but the HBH-PV740 means business and says so in its minimalist design. The black plastic panel at the front of the unit sports a very subtle faux wood-grain finish, which is attractive but completely indiscernible for people who see you wearing the headset from a distance.

5.0

Sony Ericsson HBH-PV740

The Good

Sleek unit and accessories. Simple auto pairing.

The Bad

Average quality sounding calls. Expensive.

The Bottom Line

It certainly looks the part, but this hands-free headset from Sony Ericsson struggles to gives us what we want most — clear call quality.

Like most Bluetooth headsets we see, the PV740 has only four buttons for input, a power/pairing button on the underside, a call-handling button on the front and volume keys along the right-hand side. Pertinent information, like battery life remaining, is displayed on a tiny monochrome screen under the call-handling button.

In the box with the headset we found two different sized ear hooks, a lanyard and a travel charger. Other brands of headsets, like Plantronics, usually include a selection of differently sized ear buds for comfort. The PV740 only has one ear bud size, and while we didn't find it uncomfortable, it was a little too large for our ears, sitting next to rather than inside our ear. To charge the headset it connects directly to the travel charger, but it also ships with a charging dock. This dock is a cool accessory, matching the PV740 nicely and giving this tiny headset a home when you're not wearing it.

Peroformance
Pairing the PV740 to Bluetooth compatible handsets is as easy as this process should be. Turning the headset on for the first time puts the PV740 into pairing mode. We paired the headset with the Sonim XP3 Enduro and a Nokia N95 8GB, with both phones finding the PV740 almost immediately.

Call quality through the PV740 is average at best. With the connected handsets less than two metres from the headset we experienced crackling and break-ups in what we heard through the earpiece, and the people we spoke to told us we sounded like we were "in a toilet" — hardly a glowing commendation. The PV740 apparently features automatic volume adjustment, but we couldn't get this to work. We turned the unit down to its lowest volume setting then tried to replicate loud environments in our test labs, but the volume always remained at their lowest levels.

Overall
The HBH-PV740 is a decent looking headset, but it hasn't blown us away with crystal clear performance or a wealth of features. We appreciate how easy this headset is to use, but to be fair, most Bluetooth headsets we review are this easy to use as well. We really just want a hands-free ear-piece to do one thing well, and the PV740 doesn't take to the task like it should.