Given that we've been waiting for wrist-top communicators ever since Captain Kirk first squeezed into a lycra uniform, we kind of expected more fanfare from the first Bluetooth watches.
Nope. Instead, Sony Ericsson's modestly-priced Bluetooth watches – designed with tech-watch egghead Fossil - have just kind of plopped into the shops. The MBW-150 is actually the second generation and ships in three models – Executive, Music (pictured and reviewed here) and Classic.
Sony Ericsson phone required
They’re really quite useful – as long as you have a Sony Ericsson phone. The watches just won’t work with other handsets.
With an SE phone, though, they perform pretty much as billed. You get a phone-style charger with the watch, and have to remember to charge it every five or six days to keep Bluetooth juiced. Naturally, it's an entirely different charger from your phone - one more for your collection.
With Bluetooth on, it’ll talk automatically to your paired handset within 10m - pairing’s relatively straightforward – and vibrates to indicate when you have an incoming call, or a text.
You can’t read the text on the sharp OLED screen, but you can see who it’s from if they’re in your phone’s address book, and it’s the same with calls. Otherwise, the number scrolls past.
You can also control music playback on your phone, with a pretty intuitive button set up letting you skip, play and put volume up and down on your Walkman phone. Give it an hour, and it's nearly as intuitive as using an in-line remote. All these functions are pretty hiccup-free, too - and the watches are nice enough that they’d be not bad for £200 even minus the radio chip.
In practice, the watches work best with a headset paired – it’s all far too much effort to look at your watch then fish a phone out of your pocket, unless you have a really strict call-screening policy. As a first step into the brave new world of communicator watches, though, these tick all the boxes. Now all we have to is wait for the video screen and hologram updates.