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    If you wonder what the heck a Sandstrom is, it is my new Bluetooth headphone. If you ask what is there to write about it, the answer is, with a Sandstrom, you can experience the feeling of falling in love at first sight. If you don’t get it, mate, it is the headphone itself I am talking about.



    Sandstrom SBTHP11X is a stunningly beautiful headphone!

    In fact Sandstrom SBTHP11X has all the romantic qualities of someone you will easily fall in love with in real life. Weighing a mere 102 g, it is so delicate; Hilary Mantel might have called it precision made and a plastic princess.

    Sandstrom is one of the best precision made pieces in plastic I have come across since some time.

    It was indeed a stroke of luck. Looking out for a cordless headphone for my aging Nokia 900, which is the only Maemo5 phone ever built, I decided to take a trip to the local super store. I was shocked to see the array of head sets displayed, nearly a hundred, yet couldn’t find what I was looking for, a light weight, comfortable, blue tooth head phone with audio controls and active noise cancellation, which I could carry on my head for hours without wanting to take it away.

    After spending an hour testing the audio experience from nearly all of them, some of which was really impressive, I was about to walk away as I didn’t see what I was looking for, when a young sales guy cornered me.

    On hearing what I was after, he bent down and pulled out a flap packed box and suggested it might just be what I was looking for.

    It was a Sandstrom SBTHP11 and amazingly he was right. The box had an impressive image of a stunning pair of ear cups and a very nice, expensive feel about it.

    ‘What make is it?’ I asked, not seeing a brand name or logo on the box. ‘Sandstrom’ replied the sales guy. Having never heard the name I asked ‘Where is it made?’ ‘No idea.’ said the sales assistant.
    Turning the box around, both of us discovered it was made in China. Something didn’t add up.  Stunned, we went through the list of features, which sounded unbelievable for something as light as feather I was holding in my hand. It read like my own list of  what I intended to get.

                      ·        Portable wireless headphones for stereo sound
                      ·        Bluetooth 2.1+EDR  digital wireless transmission technology
                      ·        Integrated track, volume and call control
                      ·        Padded swivel cups and adjustable headband for added comfort
                      ·        Integrated microphone for hands free calling

    Though active noise cancellation was on top of my list, after a fair bit of investigation and audio testing of some top of the range headsets in the store, I came to the conclusion that I can’t have it unless I go for a bulky one or an ear bud, except in a few. Besides it looked like the inherent loss audio quality in lower frequencies associated with this feature wasn't worth.

    After a week of testing, including some driving around and hour long conversation with friends 5000 miles away, I am excited that what I have on my head is not just a piece of exquisite Swedish design but also a headphone which packs some sharp, high end technology.(Not sure if that is Swedish as well!)

    The audio quality and the loudness you can take it to is easily comparable or even better than some of the others I had tested.

    I have never accessed my music on anything by just one soft touch or cut it off by just two. Sandstrom gives you the real feeling that your music is always there with you.

    You can relate to the music creator as each of his instruments come alive as distinctly as the vocal chords so much so that you become aware of the distortions and disproportion in mixing of audio levels. Suddenly music you thought was heavenly is no more flawless. You become music critic from a connoisseur.

    Enjoying all of this or hour long conversation should take a heavy toll the battery you think. Amazingly, the Sandstrom battery which gets charged fully in an hour, through a US b port of your laptop or PC stays alive for more than three days on stand  by or a few good hours on full use.

    However there is no instruction how you can change the battery. It is also not clear how the ambient noise is eradicated, which means that you really can retreat into your own world when listening to your music, by the passive noise isolating technology.

    Nevertheless, the proof of the pudding in the case of this superb piece of technology is in the very high quality and fidelity of sound it produce with very little power consumption.

    The location of the microphones which will face to the rear when the headset is worn is intriguing, but they work so well, the people I spoke to had no idea that I had not actually been speaking in to a microphone.

    Over all if you are looking for a petite headphone you can carry around and use with amazing ease, Sandstrom is for you.

    As icing on the cake, I was indeed shocked when I paid at the check out, a measly £39 after a incredible discount of £40 for something I thought had value for much more.

    I love my Sandstrom, my Plastic Princess; irrespective of What Hilary Mantle will like to call it.


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