The Philips Bluetooth Stereo Headset comprises smart-looking shiny black headphones and a Bluetooth dongle with a standard 3.5mm jack.

As a wireless headphone solution the Philips compares favourably with Creative's CB2530 Wireless Headphones in terms of both price and sound quality. But the Philips Bluetooth Stereo Headset suffers the same problems as all similar products: it's fiddly to use, requires regular bursts of power and, well, makes you look like the sort of bloke who spent the 90s carrying a mobile phone in a faux-leather holster. And in this age of discreet and stylish audio accessories, the latter point is important.

First the positives. At £49 the Philips Bluetooth Stereo Headset is well priced. And while your reviewer is no audiophile, he knows what he likes. You simply cannot use the Philips Bluetooth Stereo Headset without liking the audio quality. Bass booms and treble soars (is this right, ed?) and, most importantly, you can whack the volume up to teeth-melting levels without (a) distorting the sound or (b) waking up the neighbours.

The Philips Bluetooth Stereo Headset's ear pads are so large and well cushioned that your lugs will feel like a pampered cat in a James Bond movie. And although the Philips Bluetooth Stereo Headset's behind-the-head strap isn't adjustable, there are rubber loops which slot over your ears, and these can each be set to small, medium or large. Even if your ears are different sizes, you will be able to listen in comfort (although if you're a pin head, there'll be a lot of strap hanging out behind).

And regardless of your comfort, you won't be able to listen in secret. The Philips Bluetooth Stereo Headset is no bigger than it ought to be, but be prepared to announce to the world that you're hooked up to music. Like all Bluetooth wireless headphones, the Philips Bluetooth Stereo Headset is chunky. And it's not just the headset - the Bluetooth dongle will soon make itself a nuisance in your pocket.

Pairing the Philips Bluetooth Stereo Headset's dongle and headphones is a simple case of simultaneously pressing a button on each. We experienced relatively few Bluetooth dropouts when sitting at our desk, but things got a little more irritating when we were on the move. (And after extensive testing, we can exclusively reveal that inclining your head this way and that has no affect on Bluetooth connection.)

There are volume and track-search controls on the right ear pad. It takes very little practice to be able to operate your digital audio player remotely through your Philips Bluetooth Stereo Headset.

Philips claims that when charged the Philips Bluetooth Stereo Headset has a music playback time of 'up to 10 hours'. All we can say is that our informal testing suggests that the 'up to' part of that sentence is the important bit. At our desk we resorted to keeping the headphones plugged in to the supplied power adaptor, which negates the point of having wireless headphones in the first place. With a fully charged battery the Philips Bluetooth Stereo Headset lasts a few hours, but take some wired phones for a long plane journey.

We're happy to report, however, that Philips' Bluetooth-range claim of 10m is, if anything, on the conservative side. We lost count of the number of times your reviewer walked out of the office still enjoying the audio contents of his hard drive.

The Philips Bluetooth Stereo Headset feels well built but, given its size and rigidity (and our habit of slinging our iPod into a coat pocket or bag) we're not confident we could use it for any length of time without breaking something.

Verdict

Excellent sound quality at a decent price, as wireless headphones go the Philips Bluetooth Stereo Headset is a belter. But be aware that, as with all Bluetooth headsets, there are caveats to our recommendation.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth


Bluetooth profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, Handsfree, Headset
Bluetooth version: 1.2
maximum range: up to 33ft/10m
Bluetooth QD ID: B012310 (headset); B012308 (adaptor)


Power


Manufacturer's claimed talk time: up to 12 hrs
Manufacturer's claimed standby time: up to 260 hrs
Manufacturer's claimed music playtime: up to 10 hrs
Rechargeable: yes
Battery type: Li-ion
Battery weight: 10.8 g (headset) 6.5 g (adaptor)


Accessories


Charger: international (100 - 240 V AC)


Convenience


Volume control: yes
Call management: answer/end call, reject call, last number redial, voice dial, call transfer, switch between call and music

Sound


Magnet type: neodymium
Speaker diameter: 32mm


Dimensions


Product dimensions (WxDxH): 145x151x60mm
Product weight (g): 62g
Carton dimensions (WxDxH): 213x178x81mm


Inner carton


EAN: 87 12581 32443 8
Gross weight: 1.85kg
Height: 24.3cm
Gross weight: 3.219lb
Length: 25.5cm
Nett weight: 0.81kg
Nett weight: 1.786lb
Number of consumer packagings: 3
Tare weight: 1.04kg
Width: 18.6cm
Tare weight: 1.433lb


Outer carton


EAN: 87 12581 32451 3
Gross weight: 6.54kg
Height: 27cm
Gross weight: 14.418lb
Length: 53.2cm
Nett weight: 3.24kg
Nett weight: 7.143lb
Number of consumer packagings: 12
Tare weight: 3.3kg
Width: 39cm
Tare weight: 7.275lb


Packaging dimensions


Depth: 8.2cm
EAN: 87 12581 32443 8
Gross weight: 0.41kg
Height: 21.3cm
Gross weight: 0.904lb
Nett weight: 0.27kg
Number of products included: 1
Nett weight: 0.595lb
Packaging type:Carton
Tare weight: 0.14kg
Width: 17.9cm
Tare weight: 0.309lb

Philips Bluetooth Stereo Headset SHB6102/05: Specs

  • Bluetooth dongle with 3.5mm jack and wireless headphones
  • li-ion rechargeable battery
  • battery charger supplied
  • 145x151x60mm
  • 62g
  • Bluetooth dongle with 3.5mm jack and wireless headphones
  • li-ion rechargeable battery
  • battery charger supplied
  • 145x151x60mm
  • 62g

OUR VERDICT

Excellent sound quality at a decent price, as wireless headphones go the Philips Bluetooth Stereo Headset is a belter. But be aware that, as with all Bluetooth headsets, there are caveats to our recommendation.

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