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Sony Ericsson MW600 Handsfree Review

February 2010
By

MW600 is the latest high-end Bluetooth headset from Sony Ericsson. It was announced in November last year as a companion accessory to the Xperia X10. In some markets, the X10 sales package will have the MW600 included. While the style and probably price would match the X10 very well, it can be used with most other devices as long as it support one of the supported Bluetooth Profiles which are
  • Hands-Free Profile v1.5 (HFP)
  • Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) v1.0
  • Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) v1.4
  • Headset Profile (HSP) v1.1
Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth Headset FM radio
MW600 Bluetooth Headset and the Sony Ericsson Vivaz
The MW600 is a Bluetooth headset with built in FM-radio. While the majority of new phones has FM-radio built in, one of the advantages of having a dedicated FM-radio is less power consumption by the phone thereby gaining more talk- and standby time with the phone. Most mobile phones with built-in FM radio also requires a connected wired handsfree to operate. The reason for this is that the wire works as an antenna. Using a MW600 instead eliminates the need for a wired phone if you want to listend to the radio.

How to wear the headset
Ill: Example showing how to fasten a headset
The included headphones is of ear bud type, but it is connected to the control unit with a 3.5 mm jack, so it is possible to use any headset with a 3.5 mm plug. Personally, I like the the ear bud type of headphones very much, and the included medium size buds fits me very well. The length of the headset wires could have been a little longer. I understand that the main unit headset needs to be close to the mouth when talking, but often I used the unit to listen to the radio and wish I could put the headset into a pocket further away from the face. The ear plug for the right ear is a little bit longer than the left one. Nevertheless, 80cm and a turn around the neck is not long enough for my taste. The length is an improvement of the predecessor headphones HBH-DS200 which are 65 cm long.

AVRCP Bluetooth profile makes it possible to control several phone features directly via the MW600. Available control features depends on phone model, but if you have relatively new mobile phone you can start/pause music, navigate to the next/previous song, do voice dialing, adjust phone volume. In addition to this your are able to scan for radio stations with the standalone FM radio.

MW600 Volume Controls
Volume controls is of the touch-pad type
MW600 has a very long volume slider control which cover almost the entire length on one side of the unit. I have not seen this type before and I never really became comfortable with how it worked. It is touch sensitive and will only respond to finger touch. The problem with this touch interface is the lack of feedback from the unit. The sound level will change of course, and a volume level indicator is visible on the display. But as no key actually are pressed, setting right volume level without looking at the headset is impossible. The volume touch pad has a several indicators but these are hollowed and not elevated which seems more logical to me. You can say that this is a constructed problem, but I sometimes found it hard to adjust the volume without looking at the display.

Up to three phones can be paired with the MW600 at the same time. This makes it possible to listen to music stream from one source, a PC maybe, and automatically transfer active connection to a mobile phone if this is receiving an incoming call. It is a nice feature, but I am a little unsure of the usefulness of this capability.

Sound quality is very good. With this type of headset, the microphone is a little further away from the mouth than a phone microphone would be. And the sound volume and quality is affected by this. We did a blind test with a regular phone call and one where the MW600 speaker was placed with the same distance as the phone speaker. It was not possible to hear any difference. Some will say that the headset sound quality is of more importance. It is not possible to compare a phone speaker and the MW600 directly but having two sources plugged into the ears gives better sound quality than a phone speaker because surrounding noise are almost completely blocked out.

Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth Headset
The MW600 Headset - Click to enlarge
The official sales package was not finalized when we received our test unit, so what we got in addition to the MW600 itself was the headphones (HPM-78) upper part with small, medium and large ear buds. We also received a Micro USB cable for charging. Final package will have a power charger included as well. According to the specifications, the MW600 will reach 90% power within 2 hours. We measured the time taken for one charging cycle, and the 7-level battery indicator showed fully charged within 45 minutes. That was after a complete discharge. The battery performance is excellent. With heavy daily usage, both as a phone headset, and used as a radio, we experienced that one charge would last longer than a week. We also did a test of the promissed streaming time. We did this by pairing the MW600 with a mobile phone and playing a couple of MP3 files in a loop with the MW600 volume level set to 50% of max. Sony Ericsson claims 8.5 hours and we meassured 9 hours and 1 minute. Not bad at all.

MW600 is only available in one colour. Black. The MW600 has a lacquer finish and the OLED display is invisible when not lighted. The display backlight will fade out after 5-6 seconds without usage.

Is the MW600 a good deal? It depends on the retail price which at the time of writing is unknown. A wild guess would be around 50 Euros which is acceptable if you want all the features the MW600 possess . It will be companioned with the Xperia X10 in some markets so that might be an even better deal.

+ Good sound quality
+ Very good battery capacity
+ Multiple Pairing possibilities


- Not scratch-proof display glass
- Never got used to the volume control touchpad



Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth Headset Specifications


Size and weight
Size: 17.5 x 15.0 x 62.0 mm
Weight: 13.0 gram

Battery capacity
Standby time: 500 hours (up to)
Talk time: 11 hours (up to)
Stream time: 8.5 hours
FM Radio playing time: 11 hours (up to)
Battery: 170mAh

Acoustic
Speaker type: 2x 9mm dynamic, 32ohm
Ear coupling: Insert
Nominal Impedance: 32ohm
Driver type: Dynamic
Driver size: 9.2mm
Speaker frequency range: 10Hz .. 22000Hz
Sensitivity: 100 dBSPL/mW at 2kHz
Total harmonic distortion: < 0.5% (100Hz .. 10000Hz @ 1mW)
Microphone: 4mm electret

Controls
Call control
On/off
Play/pause
Volume up/down (touch type)
Next track
Previous track

Display
OLED 12 x 125 white pixels pluss border of red/green pixels

Supported Bluetooth profiles
Handsfree profile v1.5
Advanced Audio Distribution Profile v1.0
Audio Video Remote Control Profile v1.4 Ė Control and Target role
Headset Profile v1.1

Colour variants
Black
MW600 photos
  • Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth Headset
  • Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth Headset
  • Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth Headset
  • Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth Headset
  • Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth Headset
  • Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth Headset
  • Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth Headset
  • Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth Headset
  • Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth Headset
  • Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth Headset
  • Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth Headset
  • Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth Headset
  • Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth Headset
  • Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth Headset
  • Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth Headset
  • Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth Headset
  • Sony Ericsson MW600 Bluetooth Headset
  • Sony Ericsson MW600 compared to a AA battery

The MW600 unit was provided by Sony Ericsson UK

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So what is the difference between a headset, handsfree and headphones. The three words are often mixed but in this review, we have interpret the meaning of the three like this
  • Headphones are a pair of small loudspeakers and an optional microphone.
  • Handsfree is a system where no hands are required to operate the device. It could include headphones, but also a speaker and microphone setup in a car. It does not need to be wireless.
  • Headset are headphones in combination with a microphone. It does not need to be two speakers. It could be a device attached one ear.
Comments
On 3 Apr 16:35 bevin wrote
it can't be connected in xolo q800
On 26 May 04:34 nickcafarelli wrote
Can this MW600 be used an an Hearing Aid?
In other words:I have hearing problems and would like to use it to listen Talking people.
How to use it and or in conjunction with which other devises?
many thaks
On 11 Aug 09:35 Suraj wrote
Is it possible to use this device with laptop and mobile (music source from laptop & call source from Mobile ) simultaneously.
On 9 Aug 07:11 Bansi wrote
WILL IT WORK WITH HTC EXPLORER ??
On 30 Jul 21:21 RameshfromUAE wrote
MW600 SW is not in sync with SonyEricsson Arc... Most of the times, after the first call reception using MS600, there is no connectivity between mobile and Mw600... the previous number will be continued on mw600.. Looks like some SW issue... Pls support how to upgrade mw600 sw to avoid this problems..
On 10 Mar 11:34 Madan wrote
Does mw 600 works in sony ericsson aino....? Because presently m having aino but I lost my aino bluetooth so m planning to buy mw600 so pls try to help me guys... :-)
On 20 Jan 09:50 Ar wrote
can this bluetooth headset works with Samsung mobile phones...thanks in advance
On 29 Nov 13:32 PhilG wrote
This is the best device I've bought for years. In fact, when the earphones eventually went due to wear and tear i went straight out and bought another. Does anyone know where to buy just the earphones, without the Bluetooth unit?
For those wanting to use speakers - yes, the earphones are detachable from the unit and you can use any earphones/speakers with a 3.5mm plug.
I have to agree about the volume control - an acquired taste at best. To call it total garbage is just silly/impatient/ignorant
Anyway, pretty much everything else is superb.
My experience re charging the unit exactly matches the review. Once a week, for a couple of hours.
I find the short length of the headset wires is perfect - partly why I bought a complete new unit, just to get the earphones. This is a bluetooth unit - it should be as close to wireless as possible.
Sound quality- great. And the ear buds fit my ears just fine - many don't.
I don't really use the radio feature so can't comment, and I never use the LED display except to check it is on.
Great product SE, keep it up!
On 4 Nov 09:34 AMARJEETSINGH wrote
this is the best bluetooth heads free device in word this price
On 3 Sep 02:03 Ramilto wrote
Gostaria de ter este acessorio mais na cidade que eu moro nao tem como faso.
On 28 Aug 19:49 Stephen wrote
Great idea, poor execution. No tether point except a hole in the clip, the clip is attached to the unit by a couple tiny bumps...I've still got the clip tethered safely to a zipper, the unit is lost. Volume doesn't go very loud, volume control is too finicky. Would be nice to have presets option, can take a long time to go from one end of the dial to the other. Will take a look around for something else that does the job better.
On 10 Jun 07:25 adi wrote
can anyone plz let me kno.. whether this BT is compatible with Nokia N73 and Samsung Corby Pro..?
On 31 Mar 05:53 Rick wrote
Purchased this today (when my Sony BT30 flew off on the motorcycle), despite mixed reviews.

Some folks must need to RTFM.

Works PERFECT with IPhone 4 (IOS 4.3).

Using this primarily to listen to music and monitor phone while riding, it performs MUCH BETTER than the DRC-BT30. The buttons are not subject to the wind (like the BT30 was). Phone callers report it's the best sounding BT they've heard me with (and I normally run a BlueParrot Xpressway Vxi), Music functions on the IPhone work perfect (pause/start - previous/next - ff/rw). Volume through Westone UM3 in-ear-monitors is noticeably louder than the BT30.

Volume control (swipe and HOLD, not swipe endlessly) has worked flawless so far. Play functions (like volume) are not accidentally activated while in my pocket at 100MPH on the bike.

I have no plans for using it on my laptop (MacBook Pro) or desktop (hackintosh pro) but I'm tempted to test on both, just to see if it works or not.

The display, while useful for monitoring battery status, mode and volume is really inconsequential to me for caller ID and the like. Either I'm in a position to answer, or I'm not.

Rick
On 9 Mar 02:15 tony wrote
This thing is the BIGGEST PIECE OF SHIT I HAVE EVER OWNED !!!! no PS3 as promised ,, NO LAPTOP CONNECTIVITY UNLESS YOU HAVE AN OLD USB DONGLE AND IT SUCKS !!!! NO IPHONE SONG CONTROL !!!! POINT BLANK THIS THING IS A PIECE OF SHIT !!! DO NOT BUY ONE !!! AND STOP WITH ALL YOUR STUPID QUESTIONS LIKE HOW IS THE BASS ?? >>> HOW IS THE BASS ON YOUR HEAD PHONES !!!
On 28 Feb 20:16 Clippy wrote
How about its sound clarity? Trouble, Bass...
On 7 Dec 15:36 khalil wrote
its not compatible with many apple products because the apple products do not have the required bluetooth profiles. also, in my opinion, the volume control on this is great! simply because if you change the volume you will not accidentally pause or skip track and visa versa. great product!

On 5 Dec 12:28 James wrote
It doesn't seem to be compatible with my MacBook Pro (late 2009). It pairs as a mono headset for making phone calls, but not for A2DP stereo..
On 17 Nov 20:46 Weeber wrote
"According to the specifications, the MW600 will reach 90% power within 2 hours. We measured the time taken for one charging cycle, and the 7-level battery indicator showed fully charged within 45 minutes. That was after a complete discharge."

This device is perfect even though the actual battery life I get is 6hrs and the chargint time is WELL OVER 2hrs. It's not nearly 90% after 45mins. Take this from an actual user, not ESATO's payed review. I still recommend the device though, best BT headset I've tried.
On 4 Sep 16:15 Mike wrote
I have a Sony AINO with the MH100 stereo streaming headset. The headset delivers great sound and I am happy with it although the volume control is hard to use. BUT all of a sudden I get no sound from it! The battery is full charged, it is paired with the telephone, Blustooth is switched on, I can play music from the telephone using an 'ordinary' SE headset - but no sound from the MH100. Does anyone have this trouble or any suggestions please?
On 22 Jul 06:18 Dan wrote
You know what is the biggest joke? It is not compatible with the Xperia X10.
I bought it just yesterday to pair with my Xperia X10, but:
1) Song details are not displayed at all.
2) Only the phone number shows, not the contact details.

Utter rubbish! Should have just went with 3rd party products that cost much less.
On 22 Jul 01:39 Behzad wrote
After two months searching for it, finally I could buy a pack for about 80$.
Iíve been using an old version of sonyericsson Bluetooth sterio handsfree HBH-DS220 for couple of years and I barely can use cellphone without it!
But MW600: itís Great!
The only problem I had, is that it couldnít pare with laptop OS Vista or 7. Because Vista and 7 have not proper driver for A2DP. So I downloaded and installed it (thanks for http://www.webisee.com/2008/04/14/bluetooth-stack-in-windows-vista-a2dp-high-quality-stereo-2/ guidance), and now: I have my sonyericsson K970 and LG GX200 (low end) and laptop, pared whit it without any problem. Whenever I want to use any of them itís enough to switch it between them.
The only thing that could be better is about Bass, ye sound bass is low! It wouldnít blow your head!
On 21 Jul 17:43 Rupak wrote
I baught this headset few days ago. i have a sony 580i. both the devices proves how excelent Sony Ericsson is.I am so happy that i am thinking to buy a high range phone of the same brand.Till now every time i baught a device of this brand it has never let me down.
On 7 Jul 23:57 shan wrote
is it possible to use this headset for music if i use satio?
On 26 May 12:19 kk wrote
The volume control is total garbage. It is very fiddly already when using with bare hands.

And, worse, it's impossible to use with gloves on. For skiing it just totally sucks.
On 19 May 13:34 hamid wrote
hi. any one who bought this "Stereo BT Headset" could compair its audio loudness with the Vivas simple handsfree...??? its very important to me caz my vivaz audio loudness is low for listen to music at street.
On 17 May 17:01 Elvir wrote
I bought this BT headset a couple of weeks ago and I can tell you that its probably the best BT headset that i've tested so far. I am using it with my Iphone and my SE W880 and the HP laptop that I have at my work.

MW600 works fine with iPhone, but note that only the Play/Pause button work when you listen to music. Voice Call works fine too.

When paired with the HP latop all of the music buttons work fine with the windows media player.

The audio quality and noise reduction is also excellent for a BT headset.

MWE600 has also a great FM radio reception.

I recommend this headset for anyone that need a great bluetooth headset for listening to music.
On 16 May 07:34 kumar wrote
ITs awsum..must buy accessory
On 10 May 02:32 Jm wrote
Great review! Thanks

Can you confirm there is a way to connect some speakers, not only earphones, to the device? I like to hear Fm radio with speakers, too
On 7 May 03:46 JM wrote
Excellent review! I've been waiting for months to know more about this device.

I'm great user of Fm-Radio anywhere, I always wanted a cell with built radio-Fm (I had, but HTC Magic doesn't have it). I'm thinking about a new one with FM or buying this headset.

Just to know one thing to decide. Is there any way to listn to the radio headset through speakers? I guess (pretty sure) the device doesn't have speaker. is there any accessory to do that?

I listen to the radio almost every day and some times I can't use earphones.

Thanks in advance
On 3 May 23:52 TechHeadGlobal wrote
I was looking online at a range of stereo headsets, Nokia & SE. I'm not price sensitive but wanted the best value for my money. After your excellent review (having read reviews on SE's bizarrely numbered range of HBH-200, HBH-220, HBH-205, MW600 & various Nokias (smaller range) incl the great recent BH-214, I decided on the MW600, even through there were more expensive "premium" alternatives.

Why did I go SE bluetooth cuopled Nokia handsets (& iPod Touch) without even trying the inter-operability first? Because
1) Nokia may be excellent in business smartphones and integration with business apps but SE are ** the guys ** in multi-media & entertainment. Until recently, they haven't made phones that bring all their capabilities together, (although I think the Xperia X2+X10, the Satio & the Vivaz are really going to change their fortunes, but I digress...) but they have consistently made the better bluetooth headsets.
2) The standards for bluetooth profiles (A2DP, AVRCP) are mature enough industry-wide that the basic interoperability is almost guaranteed
3) The sheer geek superiority of a device that can do frequency-hopping ISM band communication, mutiple host pairings, FM radio reception and sport a multi-function OLED display, in the size of an AA battery -- is mind-blowing

Thanks eSato for the continuing excellent quality of information.

-TechHeadGlobal

ps. I will not post-follow up on the MW-600's behaviour with various devices: Nokias E72, E51 & 5800 XM, SE k770i (ancient but steady), iPod Touch, Macbook Pro & Skype unless... it fails to perform. But I have every expectation that it will perform so do not be surprised to receive silence.
On 21 Apr 18:58 DroidMan wrote
I'm highly interested in purchasing one of these, and I was wondering if this product is compatible with the droid by any chance, or the milestone as you refer it back there. The droid has, and meets all the requirements of the bluetooth protocols that the remote control offers so it should be good....right? Please answer.....
On 16 Apr 03:38 Leonix wrote
Good Review last 15days using MW600. Sound is top class (Bass) FM has some issues first seen in SE X10 video in white wanted to buy in white then come to know only black is available :( overall its value for money & good buy thumps-up 5 out of 4
On 26 Mar 12:38 Sofia wrote
Hi, Thanks for the great, detailed review of MW600. Is should now soon be available in stores, if not you can always find it online: http://www.se-store.co.uk/.
If you have questions on SE accessories or what to give us further feedback (we like it!) you can follow us on Twitter/SEAccessories. Greetings from Sofia at Sony Ericsson Accessories
On 9 Mar 13:23 ian wrote
The SE Aino also includes a similar headset which my son says is stunning.
On 2 Mar 07:09 Prom1 wrote
Excellent review! Although mixed opinions of the Volume control interface I'm looking forward to owning this. Excellent pictures with Vivaz & X2 ... almost gives the X2 some justice!

I'm hoping no more than $60-70 Euros for retail pricing and I hope SE is not stingy with where these will be available.