Sony is one of the few companies still in the MP3 player game, and it’s trying its best to keep that part of the business afloat. With smartphones and tablets becoming more and more popular, making MP3 players into mobile device accessories might be the only way to save the product category in the years to come. That’s the idea behind the Smart Wireless Headset pro as well, and it bridges the two categories in a new and at least somewhat interesting way.
The Smart Wireless Headset pro is essentially an advanced Bluetooth A2DP adapter merged with an MP3 player. On its own it’s an 18 gram MP3 player that plays music off a microSDHC card for about 12 hours before the black and white OLED display goes dark. When connected to a Bluetooth device it’s a wireless dongle that allows you to cut at least part of the cord between your device and headphones. When connected to an Android device, it also gains a nifty SMS/email notification system on the built-in display and via text-to-speech. Finally, there’s an FM radio.
This is definitely a hybrid device, and by that I mean that its selling point is its ability to do several things, rather than do one thing well. There’s no mention of aptX codec support for the Bluetooth stream, which means it falls short of some other Bluetooth adapters for that functionality. MP3 and Wav as the only supported music formats, along with a ton of other missing MP3 player features, also makes this a poor straight out substitute for something like the Sansa Clip line. Finally, SMS and email notifications in the age of smart watches like the Pebble is a novelty at best.
Perhaps the biggest nail in this device’s coffin however is the price. $129 for a hybrid device really stretches things when you can get a Clip Zip, Jabra Clipper, and $56 towards a Pebble for the price of this jack of all trades, master of none. I think $59 or $69 is the absolute max that Sony should charge for something like this, and instead it’s charging those two prices combined. That’s Sony for your though, constantly coming up with at least half decent ideas whose obvious shortcomings are less of an issue than the Apple-esque price.