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Reviews

Southwing SH305 Bluetooth Headset

By Legacy October 10, 2005, 12:00 am

The latest headset from Southwing is the SH305, which offers up some familiar features to the Southwing Neo-507 that we've recently reviewed, like voice dialing, three different color plates, and a host of in call features. The SH305 adds, a new "Push4" multifunction button, a smaller design, two attachment options, and Bluetooth 1.2. Will this new entry be the crown jewel to Southwing's headset lineup, or will it leave us wanting more? Read on to find out.

Featuring three different colored face plates (red, blue, and silver), you have the choice of colors to suite your mood or your outfit. The SH305 comes with a brand new "Push4" button to allow for a favorite number to be dialed from the headset. This new headset is also impressively small at just 4.2cm x 2.3cm x 2.8cm (not counting attachments) and just 11 grams. Blended with features like voice dialing, Bluetooth 1.2, two attachment options, a talk time of 6 hours and a price at around $60, and you've got a serious contender in the Bluetooth headset market.

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The front of the box has a window to display the unit.

Box contents: the headset, face plates, manual, loop attachment, extra ear bud cover, and charger.

Before you can use the headset you need to charge the battery. A fully charged battery will only take 4 hours and last for 6 hours of talk time or 300 hours of standby time.

Next you will need to pair the headset with your phone. To set the headset in pairing mode, just hold the button down for 5 seconds until the LED indicator flashes. From here you need to go into the Bluetooth menu on the phone, have it search for the SH305, and then pair the device using the passcode "1111". The headset LED will flash green to indicate the pairing is complete. You can set the headset as a handsfree device if it's supported by your phone.

The SH305 has 4 buttons on the headset; power and Vol+ along the bottom, Vol- along the top, and the Push4 button, which also acts as the LED indicator, on the face. On the back are the ear bud and a swivel hook. The hook can be rotated around to use the headset on your left ear or completely removed leaving just a stem. The optional loop attachment can clip on to the stem to replace the hook so the headset can be attached to your phone. I personally don't have a phone with a place to attach the loop so I couldn't show any pictures of it, but you can get the idea. Call features include: microphone muting, disconnect from phone, automatic call pick-up, last number redialing, and transferring call to phone.

Shown above is the headset with the ear hook folded in with the extra face plates, extra ear bud cover, and the loop attachment.

The headset is ready for use. The ear hook is rather small but it's flexible so it will fit most ears. What may not fit, however, is the large ear bud. While I found it comfortable, others I let try it, especially women, complained it was uncomfortable. If you're not used to ear buds, this will take a while to get used to but it's needed to support the headset without the ear hook.

The back of the headset. Here you can see the ear bud and the swivel stem where the ear hook or loop attachment goes on, it rotates a full 360 degrees with a resting groove in line with the headset.

Here's a shot with the silver faceplate. Here's the headset in my hand, it's not much bigger than my finger.

And the headset from the side in my hand. As you can see the headset quite small, although a bit hefty compared to the miniscule Nextlink Bluespoon 5G. You can also clearly see the groove the stem rests on.

With the ear hook attached, the device is held in place by the hook and the ear bud. The ear hook doesn't fit too well but it's not uncomfortable.

If you remove the ear hook you rest the stem down your ear like you would a lined headset, this helps to stabilize it. It feels secure, even in this mode, which explains the size of the ear bud. In the end, I preferred this method as it was smaller and more convenient to take on and off.

A side-by-side shot of the Neo-507 and the SH305 from Southwing. The things I liked about the Neo-507 remain in the SH305, and most of my issues were addressed with the SH305, like a method to carry the case and the elimination of the jog dial.

Call quality, while improved over the Neo-507, still needs some work. Some people I talked to complained that I sounded far away and that there was a faint buzz in the background. I, on the other hand, could hear them clearly. I've used worse headsets, and worse phones for that matter, but I've also used better.

A comparison between the Motorola HS810, Southwing Neo-507, and Southwing SH305.

The headset comes along with a user manual. It covers the setup and operation of the headset. At the back of each language section, there is a section with a summarized table of all the call features of the phone and how to perform them.

To use the SH305, you'll need a Bluetooth enabled phone, PDA, or computer that can support a headset. This would be almost all Bluetooth enabled phones and most PDAs. Any computer with the WIDCOM Bluetooth Stack or comparable (Window's own Bluetooth stack is not) should also work.

No real bugs with this headset, things work like they should. I'd wish for a slightly better quality audio but it is still an improvement over the Neo-507. The last wish is a minor one. The Vol+ is on the bottom and the Vol- is on the top; if you wear this on your right ear, it's a little counter intuitive. Volume up should be done by pressing the up button, not down. It's minor, but it's the only flaw in the interface.

The SH305 is currently available in Europe for

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