Though it was once a rare find in music cell phones, in the last year stereo Bluetooth has become a common feature. That's a good thing, even if the wireless music quality isn't always reliable, as we like being able to walk around a room while we're listening to our tunes.
To help you get the most out of that functionality, several cell phone manufacturers, Samsung among them, have introduced stereo Bluetooth headsets. However, just because you're good at one thing, that doesn't mean that you're good at another. We liked Samsung previous stereo headset, the Samsung SBH170, but its Samsung SBH500 stereo Bluetooth headset is rather disappointing. Sound quality is acceptable and the controls are easy to use, but the design is so uncomfortable that it's pretty much unusable. As such, we wouldn't recommend it, even for the reasonable price of $79.
At first glance the SBH500 looks promising. The foam padding around the earphones is soft to the touch and the controls are large and well designed. It's also quite light (0.54 ounces) and the band connecting the two earphones seems sturdy but flexible.
In the center of the right earphone you'll find a multifunction control for pairing the headset and placing and ending SBH500's calls. It's slightly recessed so you can locate it easily when you're on a call and it's surrounded by a circular status light. Surrounding the multifunction button are the music controls, which include a play/pause button, a skip control, and a rewind button. They're also large and easy to use. The volume rocker rests on the rim of the earphone. As it always faces "up" when you're on a call, we had no problem finding it even on the first try.
The power switch and the charger port are located on the left earphone. The former is a bit hard to locate when you're wearing the SGH500, but to be honest we doubt you'd be using the power switch during a call. The charger port has a sliding cover. It's a nice touch, but it's not totally necessary.