In Praise Of The Sony SBH20 Bluetooth Headset

I love listening to music. If it had it my way, I would be surrounded by music all the time. I also love ‘magic’ technology, and being wireless. I had previously been eyeing the Nokia BH-121, but could never actually find a place to purchase it, so I started looking at competitors, and found the Sony SBH20.

Sony SBH20 and Batman

The Sony SBH20 is a small black square, about 1-inch by 1-inch. It has music control buttons on the face, and a rotating metal clip on the back. Along the edges are a volume rocker, 3.5mm headphone port, power switch, and covered microUSB charging port. This little gadget also sports NFC and Bluetooth 3.0, for easy connections to up to 3 different devices. It is rated for around 8 hours of continuous playback, or a couple of days of standby with the internal battery. It comes with headphones, but they’re trash, and not really the point. It’s such a brilliant little device, I bought two. Here’s how I use them:

In The Car

I used to have an NFC sticker on my cheap-o Bracketron dashboard mount that would automatically launch Car Home Ultra on my phone. It worked, but it was a bit wonky. If the screen went off, the NFC would be triggered again when I turned it back on, disabling ‘car mode’ and exiting the app. I also have an auxiliary cable hooked up to my stereo system, and that frequently got in the way, especially if I needed to charge my phone while using it.

Sony SBH20

The SBH20 eliminated all of the hassles with this system. Instead of an NFC sticker on my dashboard mount, I simply setup Car Home Ultra to automatically activate whenever I connect to the SBH20 via Bluetooth. This way, when I get in my car, I just put my phone in the dashboard mount and flip the switch on the SBH20 to turn it on. It automatically reconnects to my phone, and everything else just works. Since it’s a Bluetooth connection, I don’t have to worry about the screen turning off, and the SBH20 uses the same microUSB car charger as my phone.

I keep the SBH20 connected to that auxiliary cable, too, and then my phone connects wirelessly to the SBH20. This eliminates having the cable connected to my phone, and makes it much easier to use on the go. Music volume and quality is basically the same, only now, it’s wireless to my car’s stereo system. This is also a REALLY easy/affordable way to add Bluetooth capabilities to nearly any car stereo, as long as it has an auxiliary port.

At Work

I work in an office environment, and frequently work with headphones on. Without the SBH20, I could either plug my headphones in to my computer, which limited my mobility around my office, or I could plug them into my phone. With my headphones plugged into my phone, I got mobility, but would frequently drain my phone’s battery listening to music, especially if streaming over our work WiFi.

Sony SBH20

With the SBH20, I’ve got plenty of mobility, and I can leave my phone on the charger while I’m at my desk. The SBH20 has a standard 3.5mm port, so I can either connect my SOL REPUBLIC RELAYS earbuds, or if I’m really wanting to escape, I can hook up my SOL REPUBLIC MASTER TRACKS headphones to totally drown everything out. Either way, I’m not restricted in how much I can move around.

Sony SBH20

Those are the two primary places that I use the Sony SBH20. The long battery life, NFC for easy pairing, and ability to use any standard 3.5mm output that I want (headphones OR my car stereo), all make this little gadget totally priceless. Even better, you can pick one up for less than $35.

 

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