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Santok STK BTHS600 Bluetooth Stereo Headset
Most of the Bluetooth headsets on the market are mono only so they're useless for listening to music and while there are some stereo Bluetooth headphones around many of them lack a microphone for making calls. With all but the cheapest mobile phones (and the iPhone) on the market now supporting Bluetooth A2DP for wireless stereo music streaming, mobile phone users need a headset that supports both stereo audio and handsfree calling, but there currently isn't a huge range of options to choose from. At least STK has added one more to this select bunch with the launch of the BTHS600 headset.
These cans look impressive right out of the box as STK has done a good job on the styling. Whereas most over-the-ear headphones use a relatively thin headband matched to larger earpieces, the headband and earpieces on the STKs are roughly the same size. It gives them a very unusual and modern look, and although the earpieces are a tad smaller than usual they're still large enough to cover the ear sufficiently and block out a lot of background noise. They're also very comfortable to wear as the headband is easily adjustable and the ear pieces are mounted on a tilting pivot and so adapt to the shape of your ears. Also, because the earpieces don't cover the whole of your outer ear they don't heat up as much with prolonged wear as full over the ear models do (or does this only happen to us?!)
Connecting the headset to your phone is just as easy and straight forward as with any other Bluetooth headset. You just hold down the power button until the small LED starts to flash alternatively red and blue and then do a search for the device on your phone. Once found, you just enter ‘0000' as the password and you're ready to rock.
When it comes to sound quality the headphones put in a healthy performance. They produce much more rounded and solid bass than you get from smaller in-ear headphones and the higher frequencies sound nice and crisp without being too tinny. The mid range is solid, but perhaps not quite as distinct as it could be, but you can improve it a bit by tweaking the graphical equaliser on your phone if it has one.
When you've got an incoming call on your mobile, music on the headset is automatically faded out so you can tap the multifunction button to take the call. Call quality is generally very good with speech unsurprisingly sounding very crisp and clear through the earpieces. The microphone performs well, but voice quality can sound a little bit hollow as it tends to pick up a fair amount of background echoes and reflections. It certainly does the job, but it isn't quite as good as something like the Jabra BT530, mainly because it doesn't have built-in noise cancelling technology.