One of the first things you notice about the SH505 is the lack of buttons – or at least the appearance of buttons. SouthWing is the first company that I know that has incorporated “tactile” control into their headset. There are two buttons that one can clearly see: the multi-function button with the SouthWing logo on it, and the small power button on the underside of the headset. The volume controls are actually along the body of the SH505 and when you are on a call and you want to increase the volume you just press any part of the upper area of the SH505 body and the volume will increase. The same for reducing the volume – any press on the bottom half of the SH505 face will lower the volume. Very nice!
Each command that is initiated with the SH505 has an audible feedback in the headset and after a while you get used to tapping your earpiece to adjust the volume like Lt. Uhuru on the Starship Enterprise. This design is highly unique and one that worked very well. It alleviates the clutter found on the body of most headsets and allows the designers to create a more sleek and elegant design
Another unique feature on the SouthWing SH505 is the ability for the headset to be customized and configured via the USB port of a PC. SouthWing includes a USB cable that can be used to charge the headset as well as plug directly into a PC.
We wanted to find out what exactly this software did as this was one of the first Bluetooth headsets we had heard of with this sort of customization interface. We went to SouthWing’s Website and download the 11 MB file and installed it in less than 5 minutes.
The SouthWing application, Wingman (cute), seems pretty basic. There is an area you can customize the main button on the SH505 with your favorite number (called “Push4”), ringtone type, default volume and current battery level. The software also gives you detailed information on the device that it detects. With the exception of the Push4 number programming and ability to change ringtones, I wasn’t overly impressed with what the software had to offer. I agree that even offering something a program like this is unique and if SouthWing can build on this to provide even more customization, ie programmable audio tone alerts, or even integrating an area to check the latest firmware.
Let me just take a second and talk about SouthWing’s ability to check and upgrade the firmware on the SH505. We glossed over it when talking about the accompanying Wingman software, but when first went to the SouthWing website, we not only could download the application software described above, but also could download the latest firmware SH505. There was no log file to tell what we ‘upgraded’ to, but something happened. We can easily imagine in the future as new devices are introduced to the market (as well new Bluetooth versions), the ability to upgrade will be very valuable.