The latest Bluetooth-enabled earphone contender comes shadow-boxing out of the corner marked Philips. The SHB7102s sport a microphone for phone calls, and a whacking great wireless adaptor to plug into your music player. Another adaptor -- one for receiving the signals this time -- hangs around your neck on a lanyard. This connects to a long-ish cable at the end of which is a pair of silicon-tipped earphones. For £70 we expect decent sound quality, and more convenience than wired 'phones.
First up, pairing the earphones was a breeze. A few seconds of a blinking LED and we're good to go. The Bluetooth transmitter plugs into any 3.5mm jack -- on an MP3 player, CD player, stereo or a TV set -- and beams sound through the ether. Sound quality is mediocre, and about what you'd expect from a £25 pair. The earphones themselves feel very cheap.
So the other £45 is going on the Bluetooth connection to your mobile phone. When the phone rings, the music cuts out and a little beep tells us some wretched devil has the audacity to want to speak to us. Pressing the answer key sends the phone call to the headset and a microphone built into the adaptor hanging around your neck picks up your voice. Call quality is fine, but we have an issue with Philips' pitch for this product: 'Never miss a beat'. Sorry, friend, but I just missed many beats during that call because these earphones don't have the ability to pause my MP3 player.
To us, these aren't a patch on their brothers, the SHB6102s, which our half-naked mobile phone guru Andrew Lim checked out in April. The neck dongle was annoying, sound quality was unspectacular and we missed more than a few beats when answering calls. For £70 you can do a lot better. Go and check out the cheaper alternative from Philips or just spend £70 on some really good earphones and hold the phone to your head. -Nate Lanxon