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Treo A2DP Stereo Bluetooth Headset: SonyEricsson HBH-DS970

I recently reviewed my first A2DP Stereo Bluetooth Headset – the Jabra BT8010 – which I found to be a particularly appealing, comparatively small, feature-rich and high quality headset.  I’ve now had the opportunity to also review the SonyEricsson HBH-DS970 a smaller and ligther Bluetooth Stereo Headset (pictured below) which for me delivers an even better solution.

Treo A2DP HBH-DS970

The SonyEricsson HBH-DS970 offers all the same A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) and AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile) as other Bluetooth Stereo Headphones but instead of integrating the controls on the headset itself (adding bulk and weight to the unit) the DS970 controls are found on a “stick” which hangs around your neck (see diagram below).

Treo A2DP HBH-DS970

A2DP is currently only available with the Windows Mobile Treo 750 with which I found the HBH-DS970 to offer excellent inbound/outbound call quality as well as stereo music output.  Having said this, a program called Softick Audio Gateway enables some A2DP functionality with the PalmOS Treo 650 and 700p – the Treo 680 is also finally now supported in Beta v1.10.

The real benefit of owning one of these wireless stereo headsets is not the fact that I can make and receive calls but that I can fully control the music/video playback coming out of my Treo.  The AVRCP functionality conveniently offers (below) full volume and track (Next/Previous/Play/Pause) controls.

Treo A2DP HBH-DS970

In this particular case, the HBH-DS970 also delivers an 11 digit display with backlight (Caller ID support) and the ability to pair with multiple devices simultaneously (your Treo and PC for example).  Also, the microphone is built into the right cord of the headset while the Call Answer/End is found on the left (below).  Finally, the package also includes a wall charger (no USB unfortunately), three sets of ear plugs (S, M, L) and a small plastic box to store your headset when not in use.

Treo A2DP HBH-DS970

As I mentioned earlier, I tested the HBH-DS970 with my Treo 750 and found it to work flawlessly in all respects.  Additionally, I also tested it on my Treo 680 using Softick Audio Gateway’s latest beta where the results were good but not great: music output was minimally distorted; Pocket Tunes AVRCP controls worked extremely well throughout; inbound calls worked fine but outbound call quality was very poor and freezes Treo on Call End.  Therefore if you’re planning to use this headset with your Treo 680 I would suggest restricting your use to music/video playback only for now – at least until a revised beta of the software is released.

Overall, the SonyEricsson HBH-DS970 is the smallest and lightest Bluetooth Stereo Headset that I have come across to date.  It offers excellent A2DP and AVRCP functionality with clear call and music quality and controls (on Treo 750).  No doubt these are some of the reasons why the HBH-DS970 has quickly risen to become the bestselling BT stereo headset in the Treonauts Shop and it’s undoubtedly one of my favourites.  My biggest complaint remains the fact that it does not offer a USB-charging cable.

Having said this, I am still not entirely convinced about the whole Bluetooth Stereo Headset category because I feel that it adds yet another layer of complexity to using your smartphone and also suffers from the fact that you must always keep recharging them or risk suddenly finding yourself entirely without music playback capabilities.  Many Treonauts though have found the wireless audio benefits to outweigh any of these concerns.

I would personally very much like to see the release of an alternative simple corded Treo remote control unit that could offer all the same AVRCP functionality but without the need for Bluetooth (very similar to the one offered for the iPod).  Hopefully a Treo accessories manufacturer will release one soon but in the meantime, as I’ve mentioned on a couple of occasions in the past, the easiest solution that I have found thus far is the combination of a Seidio Retractable 2in1 Headset and magicButton – an application that converts my corded headsets into an excellent remote control for Pocket Tunes (see Hit That magicButton).

Treonauts always find the best alternatives

Posted by Andrew on March 7, 2007 at 10:16 AM

Treo Accessories , Treo Bluetooth Headset

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by dmm | Mar 7, 2007 10:39:28 AM

I'd jump on this... except for the in-ear earbuds. Everything I've seen is either in-ear like this or huge, like the Plantronics Pulsar 590. (I'm looking for one that's small enough to fit in a pocket when I'm not wearing it, yet doesn't have earpieces that go a mile into your ear...)

by jrkoontz | Mar 7, 2007 11:08:23 AM

I have the Motorola HT820, which I use with my 700p and Softick Audio Gateway, and I love this headset. I have had some freeze ups, and some sluggish phone performance while using the A2DP functionality, but overall it works very well. When not using the A2DP functionality, I have had zero problems. The range when using the phone, or listening to music is at least 30 ft. I can listen to music or use the phone upstairs while my Treo is downstairs on the kitchen table. I think this is an up and coming category of bluetooth accessory.

by twitch3 | Mar 7, 2007 11:53:08 AM

Are the problems with the 680 due to the beta SoftTick software or Palm OS. Would these work on the 700P with the fully released 700P software?

by Rob | Mar 7, 2007 4:10:25 PM

I have been using Logitech Free Pulse headphones with my 680 using Beta 1.10 for a week now and I LOVE it. My headphones don't support AVRCP. It is beta, so I am not going to rip on it too hard. It has an issue or two, but it is very stable. As long as I don't receive a call, dial a call, or turn off the Bluetooth while streaming, everything works perfect.

by Dave | Mar 7, 2007 5:22:04 PM

I have a pair of these also for my treo 650 w/audio gateway. They are very comfortable... I like them a lot. Unfortunately, the range is pretty much line-of-sight. I assume that it is because of the 650 though. I'm hoping when I upgrade to a 750, the range will be better.

by mbh513 | Mar 7, 2007 7:42:59 PM

Will these work with the 650?

by Dukat | Mar 8, 2007 4:37:22 AM

I wonder if the Display is supported on the Palm OS Treo's with Audio Gateway. (Call in Number, Current Track playing?)

I wouldn't be surprised if this this would only be available on a SonyEricsson pone. In the end, this is still a Sony product ...

by Andrew | Mar 8, 2007 5:09:01 AM

twitch3 - the issues that I encountered were entirely to do with Audio Gateway and not the PalmOS. A future update should resolve these.

mbh513 - yes, the HBH-DS970 will work with the Treo 650 using the Audio Gateway software.

Dukat - CallerID is supported but not current track playing.

Cheers, A.

by John | Apr 4, 2007 5:43:04 AM

There are some fake ones on ebay so beware. I am currently trying to get a refund! Should have guessed as it was so cheap.

by Ally | Apr 8, 2007 12:54:39 AM

does anyone know if these earbuds work well for music and calls with the treo 700wx?

by Stevey Steve | May 3, 2007 4:23:25 PM

if do go to paypal have to loose the $25 fee for researching ur case ~~~~ good buisness model ie win all ways from seller + buyer !!!!

Is this how buying online is meant to be i.e. everyone looses (pays) againt the Giants ie EBRAT .... even when u cant inspect the item ,,,

Yea im pissed with EBRAT ,,,,,

by Emjey | Jun 14, 2007 9:26:25 AM

I bought the new Tekkeon Headset and my treo 750 cant seem to find the device. Beam has been turned on as well as the blue tooth turned on and device discoverable. Any other place that I should be turning it on or setting up something? Any help will be greatly appreciated and thanks in advance.

by Emjey | Jun 14, 2007 9:28:04 AM

I bought the new Tekkeon Headset and my treo 750 cant seem to find the device. Beam has been turned on as well as the blue tooth turned on and device discoverable. Any other place that I should be turning it on or setting up something? Any help will be greatly appreciated and thanks in advance.

by Brian Van Essen | Jul 9, 2007 5:37:19 PM

Has anyone compared these to the Jabra BT320s? The BT320s seems to address the balance dmm wants by not being in canal headsets, but earbuds. What concerns me is that the BT320s seems to have come and gone without too much fanfare or reviews.

by Scott Royland | Oct 27, 2008 4:46:14 AM

I have looked through the posts but have not seen any answer as to their compatibility with the Treo 700WX. Anyone know?


Scott R.

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