Weighing less than 12g, the Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 headphones sport an earbud-style design with a slender strand of cable connecting the two buds.

Such luxury and convenience don't come cheap, though: the Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 headset lists for £99.

Sony Ericsson provides three sets of different-size earbuds in the package, though the even smallest pair were still a smidge too large for our small ears. Nonetheless, we were able to get a reasonably good seal, and the overall fit seemed comfortable, secure, and discreet. The Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 headphones stayed snug as we walked (and then ran) around.

In general, the Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 headphones deliver great-sounding tracks, with crisp vocals, warm (but not overwhelming) bass, and clear reproduction of background instruments - such as a tambourine's jangles. We found, however, that dance music, such as acid jazz, tended to come across as a mishmash rather than distinct tones.

Phone call quality is mostly good. In our tests people could tell we were speaking on a headset, but voices were clear at both ends. Call recipients occasionally heard a crackling sound in the background; they told us that - though our chatter blocked background noise somewhat - when we stopped talking, the loud din became quite noticeable.

The Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800's inline control unit actually dangles down from the left side of the headset. This unit houses the microphone and the action button - the headset's only control. We found it a bit annoying, as it often got tangled up in our hair, but surprisingly it didn't bob around much.

You use it to turn the Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 on and off; to initiate, accept/reject, and end a call; and to play or pause tunes. The HBH-IS800 doesn't let you adjust the volume or skip forward or backward through tracks. We missed that.


If you're willing to sacrifice some phone and music controls for an ultrasmall headset with dependable audio quality - and the hefty price tag is no barrier - the Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 package has got the goods.