HeadphonesMusic

Sony SBH54 Bluetooth Headset Review

Sony SBH-54 review by musicphotolife.com

 

Sony SBH-54 review by musicphotolife.com

The Sony SBH54 reminds me of the good old Bluetooth headsets that Sony Ericsson made popular. A small receiver with control buttons and a mono display screen to show operational details. I am not sure if there are people who still uses such stuff, but if they do, they will be happy to find that Sony still makes them.

What I Love

The new SBH54 has a few additional features up on its sleeve, which I thought was rather useful. See if you agree with me:

Use Like a Handset

You can use the SBH54 like a handset: just place the receiver speaker against your ear. This is great if you don’t like to wear with the included earphones. It would be even better if I could hook it to my ear like a mono headset.

Sony SBH-54 review by musicphotolife.com

Use Your Own Headphones

The MH755 earphones included actually sound decent. It’s got the right bass feel, more kick than boomy, while the treble is sparkling but not loud. But if you prefer to use your own earphones, you can have that. The SBH54 works with earphones with mic pinout on the 3.5mm plug.

Wireless Audio Quality

Sony SBH-54 review by musicphotolife.com

For skeptics of Bluetooth audio, they are living in the past. Purists may scorn at the compression technology, but the majority will not hear any difference, myself included. After all, when you are on the go, you really can’t discern the inaudible sonic tones with all the outdoor noise.

Connects 2 Devices

Sony SBH-54 review by musicphotolife.com

I can switch music playback between two devices from the SBH54 control itself. Even better, when I am listening music from one device and I receive an incoming call from another, the SBH54 switches to the other device. Once the call is ended, music from the other device resumes.

Making Calls

When you make a call with SBH54 using the earphones, the left side of the earphones let you hear the surrounding while the right side is dedicated to the call audio. This implementation ensures you can hear yourself and the surrounding and prevent you from shouting during conversations.

Sony SBH-54 review by musicphotolife.com

Information Display

The SBH54 has an LED screen which can display song info, caller ID, call history, and even any app messages, just like a smartwatch! Yes, it vibrates with every incoming event, so you won’t miss any of them. You can also rotate the screen 180-degrees manually if you prefer a different orientation.

Sony SBH-54 review by musicphotolife.com

Built-in Radio

It is good to have radio capability on the SBH54, because most of the time, when you use a Bluetooth headset, you cannot use the smartphone radio as it requires the earphones wire as an antenna.

Host App for Connectivity

The SBH54 requires the installation of an Android app in your host device to work. Once you tap the SBH54 with the smartphone via NFC, you will be redirected to the Play Store to install the app. On the app, you can customise the level of connectivity, for instance, disable notification or call history.

Sony SBH-54 review by musicphotolife.com

Battery

The SBH54 does not last very long in today’s standard. I find the device goes flat at the end of the day. Fortunately, it took less than an hour to fully charge it. The SBH54 app on the smartphone will tell you the remaining battery life in quarters.

Displeased with Buggy Experience

It is unfortunate that the SBH54 does not work flawlessly. I was riddled with regular app crashes on the Sony Xperia Z5 and contradicting status between the notification bar and the app. Occasionally, the connection would be disrupted even at close range, and at times, even if the device remains connected, the calls do not get routed to the SBH54, or when I can control the music tracks but no audio came through.

Sony SBH-54 review by musicphotolife.com
The app says disconnected but the notification card says otherwise.

Too Many Buttons

There are too many buttons on the SBH54 and it always takes me a while without looking to figure out where the buttons are. There is a button for everything: volume, playback, menu, call answer, and power. I would very much prefer the controls be concentrated at a single location, for instance, a four-way dial with additional buttons around it.

Sony SBH-54 review by musicphotolife.com

Verdict

Sony SBH-54 is almost a smartphone: you can answer calls like handset, read messages and call history, intelligently switches connection between 2 devices. It continues Sony line of Bluetooth headset modules with interchangeable earphones, now with an added convenience of making calls directly without earphones. I am not pleased with the bugs which ruins the wireless experience of an otherwise brilliantly useful gadget. Hopefully, it will improve in the stability with new firmware and software updates.

The SBH54 is available in black or gold colours, at all Sony stores and centres, operators and major IT retailers, at a RRP of S$198. For the full product specifications, please visit http://www.sonymobile.com/sg/products/accessories/stereo-bluetooth-headset-sbh54/

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Sony SBH-54
Author Rating
31star1star1stargraygray
17 comments
  1. Anh, Tran

    Your review is very good. Information is clear. Kindly help to advices on the making call with dual sim phone such as Z5 Dual. Is it posible? Because the Z5 Dual requires user select the specific sim for calling. Thank you!!!

    1. Chester Tan

      Thanks for reading my review! Since you choose “always ask before calling”, then the phone would require you to select the SIM before it allows you to make the outgoing call. If you have set a default SIM, then it will dial out immediately.

  2. Antrix

    This is how Sony ruins it’s own hardware, be it phone or any other accessory. The support application is oblivious to bluetooth connection and the applications its supposed to generate a notification for. So without this application, the device does not even reflect the caller name which wasn’t the case with MW600. That device was certainly reliable and lasted longer.

  3. Raffaell

    I loved the gadget , I had the SBH52 and thought it was worth the upgrade was almost two years wearing the 52, but in the last 2 months the battery was getting addicted to 10 dropped to 6/5 hours.

    Pros and differences SBH54 for SBH52 in my opinion : Design pretty , light , discreet, the audio is better, I have not found problems on the buttons , it is customary to issue , by the time you can , the software has been very satisfactory in my Z Ultra and Z3 , use 2 smarts while

    Against: The speaker of SBH52 is much higher , but I can not tell if Sony did not require the function or if it came defective, does not know anyone who has the same headset to help me.

    The principle is this , I found the very attractive upgrade

  4. Raffaele

    Hello. I would like to know if this headset is compatible with iphone . I possess a MW600 for several years and I use it with all the iphone with no problems but it is old and wanted to replace it . I use it mainly as a headset and I’m interested to know if you recognize the caller id and if displays the name if stored in the phonebook. Can you test and tell me?

  5. Reader

    “The SBH54 works with earphones with mic pinout on the 3.5mm plug”

    When you say “pinout”, do you actually mean mic *input*? As in, if the earbuds I connect to the SBH54 themselves have an inline mic, those will definitely work with the SBH54? Because if so, then that’s an improvement over the SBH52, where inline mics on the earbuds don’t work (so in order to take phone calls, you always have to pull out the SBH52 and talk into it instead of just using the earbud’s mic).

      1. Reader

        Thanks for the reply Chester. Followup question(s):

        Will it record audio from the inline microphone on the earbud though? Or will it still require use of the microphone on the SBH54 itself?

        To illustrate the question a bit more clearly… If I have an earbud+mic connected to the SBH54, and my SBH54 is hidden in my backpack. If I talk into the earbud’s inline mic, will that audio reach the SBH54, and consequently, the phone? Or will I have to talk into the SBH54 still to be able to get my voice to the phone?

    1. AA

      I’m interested in that question too.

      My Xperia Z3 Compact headphone jack doesn’t detect headphones anymore (I can switch to headphone manually bu using SoundAbout app but microphone doesn’t work) so I want to use my headphones with integrated microphone with SBH54 if that is possible (with SBH52 this combination is not working).

  6. Jonathan Moore

    One thing you noted was that the Sony Utility companion app was buggy.. I found the same thing for the SBH52, so I removed it.. The device works fine, just doesn’t push you as much notification content, which was fine for me.

    Additionally, and funnily enough, it seems that this accessory actually works *better* on non Sony handsets

  7. cederom

    Not really functional at all. Fake multipoint on two devices that does not work. THIS DEVICE IS A MISTAKE at its current state.. I AM VERY DISAPOINTED!! 🙁

  8. Tony Morris

    Any updates on this Sony sbh54 as of Dec 2016? The review was written in Dec 2015, just wondering if the product is working any better. The concept seems fantastic to me but I don’t want to spend the money on something that does not work well as a bluetooth handsfree headset which for me is talking on the phone while driving. Should I look at something else or does Sony have anything that is worth looking into at this time?

    1. Chester Tan

      Hi Tony. There is no new products to replace SBH54. You may like to research on shopping websites like Amazon to read other consumer reviews to determine if the product still meets your needs. Purely as a Bluetooth headset, it definitely works but the extra interactive features will be dependent on the companion app updates on the smartphone.

Share your comments

%d bloggers like this:

Upcoming Reviews:

Be the First to Know!

By submitting your email address, you will receive articles over email as they publish.

Subscribe!