Sony Ericsson HCB-105 review: Sony Ericsson HCB-105

Roadshow Editors' Rating

7.3 Overall

The Good Simple operation. Great sound quality. Long battery life.

The Bad Can only be paired with one phone. Not loud enough at max volume.

The Bottom Line If you never plan to share it and will never use it in a loud vehicle, the HCB-105 is a good sounding, simple to use choice. Everyone else should look elsewhere.

Design and features

A long rectangular block, Sony Ericsson's HCB-105 Bluetooth hands-free kit won't be winning awards from design judges anytime soon. A springy metal clip slides into the back of the device and allows the HCB-105 to be comfortably attached to a car's fold down sun visor.

On first use the HCB-105 goes into pairing mode and we had no issues pairing it up with a variety of Bluetooth-enabled mobiles from different brands. Unfortunately, at any given time the HCB-105 is only capable of storing one phone's pairing details. So, if you've got multiple mobiles — say one for work and one for play — or plan on sharing the HCB-105 with family members, you'll have to perform a master reset every time a different phone is to be used with it.

Simple and basic is the best way to describe the HCB-105's feature set — there's no display, just a series of beeps and squawks, and certainly no text-to-speech. With just two buttons (power/call/hang up and volume) on the edge facing the driver, the HCB-105 is dead simple to use. If the paired phone accepts voice commands, tapping the power/call button will give you access to that feature, while double tapping the power/call button will re-dial the last number.

Performance

Sound quality from the HCB-105's built-in speaker is excellent, with voices coming through clearly and without a trace of harshness. On the other end, we sounded distant but comprehensible. With a small volume range and the loudest setting not actually that loud, the HCB-105 isn't well suited to noisy vehicles.

The supplied in-car charger has a short, springy coil that is designed to prevent the unit from being charged whilst attached to a sun visor; the HCB-105 can also be recharged with a Sony Ericsson wall charger. A five-hour (!) initial charge is recommended by the manual, and the company estimates that the battery is good for 25 hours of talk time and 700 hours on standby — handily the unit will switch itself off in about 10 minutes if there's no Bluetooth connection.

Conclusion

If you never plan to share it and will never use it in a loud vehicle, the HCB-105 is a good sounding, simple to use choice. Everyone else should look elsewhere.

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