1 Reply Latest reply: Oct 3, 2010 1:18 PM by Alex Johnson2
Alex Johnson2 Level 1 (115 points)
I have wanted the Sony HBH-IS800 since it came out but it was not really compatible with the iPhone before 4.1 and AVRCP. Anyone with one, can you tell us:
- does volume control now work?
- does voice control work? How?
- what other functions are available from the button? Play / pause I know but skip, back?
- any other issues?

MacBook Air SSD, iMac Core 2 Duo and Mac mini Core 2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • Alex Johnson2 Level 1 (115 points)
    Well, I gambled. In short, it works.

    The good:
    Wireless. Wireless. Wireless. The problem with in-ear buds is the "stethoscope effect" of the bouncing cable, so I tend to run it under my shirt. This means when I get the phone out of my pocket to read an email etc., the cable tugs. (To say nothing of being dangerous on a bike, or when the cable catches on something yanking out a bud which is incredibly loud and uncomfortable.) Just being able to pull the phone out of your pocket and use it with no cable is brilliant.
    Sound quality is decent.
    Volume control (using the iPhone buttons) works. Maximum is lower than with wired phones, but perfectly audible. In fact, if I had known it wasn't going to be the same maximum, I might have put up with it pre-AVRCP.
    Play and pause work.
    With practice, voice control also works, though the interface has bad sound quality. Click to the beep, then wait for the Apple double-beep. That part was not intuitive.
    People tell me call quality is comparable with the wired phones.

    The bad:
    Cut-outs. The range is very much affected by your own body. From the antenna (on the opposite side to the remote) I find the phone has to be in the trouser pocket on the same side of my body and I must be holding nothing in my hand. Range was even affected by the buds I wore, presumably affecting how far the phones stick out from your ear. Yes, this is crazy. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you are overweight or very tall, that will probably mean you can't put the phone in your trouser pocket. When it works, it's great, but the trial and error is infuriating.
    Size. As reviewers have noted, while they look like "normal" in-ear buds, they are actually quite a lot bigger and hang out of the ear. As a result they aren't as comfortable and take some getting used to compared with, say, the Apple buds.
    Battery life. Again, compared with reviews, I guess I am pleasantly surprised, but after about two - two-and-a-half hours, battery weakness shows itself in reduced range (see above).
    Start-up. After charging, I find the re-connectin to the iPhone is patchy, with the Bluetooth icon on, but no sound. It can take a bit of fiddling.
    Charger. A non-standard connector, another charger. A USB cable is on order!

    This is a pre-iPhone product. Before the iPhone, remember the cr@p we put up with, the compromises we endured for some great feature, as early adopters? I'm thinking getting IMAP mail on a Sony Ericsson T68 in 2002: horrible but strangely impressive at the time and, rarely, even useful. Or people with Treos in 2006. Or whatever. Well, the HBH-IS800 is like that. Wireless is such a killer feature and these are the only set you can buy that approximate being in-ear buds. But their many deficiencies cry out for Apple - anyone - to do this right. If you really value wireless, get them. If you just think they look cool and will impress your friends, save your money.