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.
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.
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.