If you hear the word 'Bluetooth' and think of those annoying headsets businessmen have strapped to their faces 20 hours a day, you're very, very normal. However, Sony's new DR-BT50s are ultra-stylish headphones aimed, we assume, not at the conversation-heavy white-van man, but at the trendy 20-somethings who want to rock out with their MP3-laden mobile phone.
With a built-in microphone, a set of music-player controls and even folder-navigation buttons mounted into the side, the DR-BT50s have potential.
You're about to clamp something to your head, so comfort's going to be crucial. The first thing we noticed about the DR-BT50s was the luxury padded ear pads and head band. They're an incredibly comfy pair of cans -- the ear cups cradle your ears lovingly, even for long periods. Those of you with larger auditory receptors will feel cared for, as the delicate headphone padding positively caresses your stress-prone cartilage.
In the flesh: the DR-BT50s are really comfortable headphones
The cups are adjustable to suit even the widest of crania. Folding them away leaves the headphones in a semi-circle shape, so it's really easy to slip them into the padded carrying case that's included in the box.
Pairing with the headphones is pretty easy, though you'll need to consult the manual to decipher which flashing LED is telling you what state the DR-BT50s are in. Once paired, they can be used as ordinary headphones or, thanks to the built-in microphone, as a wireless headset for your mobile phone. Sound quality is good and voice was picked up well by the microphone.
Now here's a small but really convenient feature: a button on the side of the headset allows you to answer mobile calls, and various volume and navigational controls enable remote use of an MP3 player or a paired handset. If your phone rings when you're listening to your favourite tunes, the music is automatically paused and your call is put through to the headphones. Hang up your call and the music resumes from the same position. Neither your phone nor your MP3 player need to come out of your pocket. Perfect.
Comfort aside, sound quality is the next crucial factor. The Sony DR-BT50's excel with bass reproduction, producing a powerful performance with bass-driven tracks such as Pendulum's Slam. They create a very rich performance akin to that heard live.
Dance and drum 'n' bass fans will be especially pleased with the sound quality. Mid-range frequencies sound slightly muddy at higher volumes, however.
Sony has produced a really solid set of comfortable headphones with great sound quality and just the right set of features. Even if you don't have a Sony MP3 player or phone, the BR-BT50s will still work seamlessly. If you can justify £130 for a headset with the added features Bluetooth provides, make sure you check these beauties out. We give them a thumbs up, with knobs on.