Willcom D4 headset woes solved by Sony mylo

Willcom_d4_headset

While unboxing the Willcom D4 (Sharp WS016SH) last week, I noted that the Centrino Atom UMPC lacks a USB host port and standard 3.5mm headphone jack. In their place are a mini-USB port and what appears to be a proprietary headset port.

A mini-USB host adapter is a simple workaround to the first issue, but what about the second one? Assuming you detest stock earphones as much as I do, then using the earbud/microphone headset included with the D4 certainly isn’t an option. And even if you’re fine with stock buds (*shudder*), the headset port is still a problem if you ever want to hook up a set of external speakers.

Willcom_d4_headset_cu

Willcom_d4_headset_origplug

The bundled earphones aren’t completely useless (they’re provided for the unit’s Japan-only phone functions), but I personally wouldn’t use them for any reason other than complete and utter desperation. I still use my old Sennheiser CX300S IEMs now and then, but my current canalphones of choice are the Ultimate Ears super.fi 5 Pro (now on sale for $190!). They’re not audiophile-caliber or anything, but stock buds are obviously complete garbage in comparison.

Willcom_d4_headset_plugged

I normally don’t listen to music or watch movies on my computers (I prefer dedicated DAPs for that), but since I’ve been thinking about using the D4 as my multimedia companion on an upcoming flight (after the extended battery arrives), I definitely wanted to be able to use my UEs with it.

Willcom_d4_headset_mylosets

Willcom_d4_headset_myloaudio

After unsuccessfully searching for 3.5mm audio adapters that would fit into the D4’s headset port, I remembered that the Sony mylo COM-1 and COM-2 shipped with what the company calls a "one-touch answer remote controller with microphone." Typical to Sony, it connects to the mylo via a proprietary connection.

Too bad, I thought, because on the other end of the cord is a 3.5mm audio jack that my UEs would love. There’s no way the mylo controller would fit into the D4’s headset port.

Willcom_d4_headset_allports

Willcom_d4_headset_port

Right?

Willcom_d4_headset_plugs

Well, you already know from the existence of this post that I had to try it.

Willcom_d4_headset_myloplug

Willcom_d4_headset_myloplugged

Willcom_d4_headset_audioue

And of course you know from the title of this post that it works!

It isn’t as ideal as a built-in 3.5mm audio jack, of course, but I’m satisfied (which is why the headset port wasn’t mentioned in my early impressions piece). I know that "buy a mylo" isn’t reasonable advice for potential D4 buyers who want to use their own earphones/speakers, but Sony’s "one-touch answer remote controller with microphone" is honestly the only thing I found that works. The D4 dock (on its way to Pocketables HQ) has a standard audio jack, but it’s not exactly a practical solution.

Willcom_d4_headset_mylos

Willcom_d4_headset_final

Sometimes it just pays to be gadget hound!

Update 9.22.08: A reader just reminded me about the tiny Sony DRC-1DF headphone adapter, which can often be found on eBay for $21 shipped. Thanks for the much more practical solution, bluemonq!

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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19 thoughts on “Willcom D4 headset woes solved by Sony mylo

  • August 2, 2008 at 2:13 am
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    so im guessing this is some kinda of japanese headphone connector standard. maybe initiated by docomo or something?

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  • August 2, 2008 at 2:25 am
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    Does the D4 have normal speakers? I can’t see any

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  • August 2, 2008 at 2:58 am
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    Your poor Sony Mylo. Imagine how you would feel if someone took advatage of you like that!!! :D

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  • August 2, 2008 at 5:18 am
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    Just solder a 3.5mm female jack on the stock cord, takes 5 minutes. I did so with my e51 2.5mm stock buds, even if 2.5mm adapters exist it was much easier than buying one and i got to keep the headset functionality since i put the jack after the microphone part. Buyin a $300 device to cicrumvent a 10 minute soldering job isnt exactly what i would call a solution, and i doubt many peopl ehave a mylo beside the d4.

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  • August 2, 2008 at 6:31 am
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    soldering may not be a skill everyone have…

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  • August 2, 2008 at 1:17 pm
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    @ turn_self_off: Maybe. I see it on some of Willcom’s other phones. I wonder if the Sharp EM ONE has one of these connectors too. It doesn’t have any calling capabilities, but if the port is standard in Japan then that shouldn’t matter. Then again, the Japan-only Kenwood DAPS use regular 3.5mm audio jacks.

    @ scoobie: There’s a single speaker on the back of the display (in line with the camera). It’s tough to make out, but you can see it in this photo from my unboxing. It’s at the bottom, right above the hinge.

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  • August 2, 2008 at 1:21 pm
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    @ Cptnodegard: Thanks. I have no soldering skill/knowledge, so a DIY project would never have crossed my mind.

    As stated in the post: “I know that “buy a mylo” isn’t reasonable advice for potential D4 buyers who want to use their own earphones/speakers, but Sony’s “one-touch answer remote controller with microphone” is honestly the only thing I found that works.”

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  • August 2, 2008 at 1:44 pm
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    @Jenn – that seem a wierd place for the speaker if you’re using it in tablet mode it must be muffled sound.
    That, and the mini usb, mini sd card and non standard headphone socket makes me think the D4’s a bit quirky

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  • August 2, 2008 at 2:06 pm
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    Yes, it’s quite the oddity in the UMPC world. It seems more like a phone, really. The AT&T Tilt, for example, has a mini usb, microSD card slot, and non-standard headphone jack as well. I don’t know of any other UMPC that has a microSD slot. Too bad the D4 doesn’t have the battery life of a phone!

    The speaker location is strange. It took me a while to actually find it, as I originally thought it was behind the back air vent. There actually isn’t much difference in terms of sound quality when the speaker is hidden or exposed. Given the location, I don’t know why stereo speakers couldn’t have been used instead.

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  • August 2, 2008 at 8:18 pm
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    There is no A2DP BT connection ?
    I am also using as every day earbuds .. the Ultimate but EB series…
    I use a sony BT HBH-DS220
    to connect them to any of my devices (X7500, OQO e2) …

    Reply
  • August 3, 2008 at 4:01 pm
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    @ Marc: There is A2DP support, but I need something wired for the plane. Are the DS220 the only BT earbuds you’ve tried? I’m sort of in the market for something but don’t really like that controller thing that hangs from SE’s stuff.

    @ Ctpnodegard: No, it’s longer than a micro USB.

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  • August 3, 2008 at 11:54 pm
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    I only use BT even in planes …. with PSP (with BT dongle) and OQO ..
    Fo one year, I use sony BRM1 .. which has got very good quality as BT, and around 10 hours battery life which is sufficient for a 12 hours flight (europe to japan)…

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  • August 4, 2008 at 2:19 pm
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    Oh, I didn’t know you could use BT on planes. I always thought it was lumped in with cell phones and RC devices. I would think that wireless headphones would cause a few raised eyebrows among nearby passengers, who could then potentially flag down a flight attendant and get me involved in something that would go against my “please leave me alone” airplane policy.

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  • August 18, 2008 at 8:45 am
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    If you were in Japan, you could get such a kind of adapter at 105yen in a dollar shop.

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  • August 31, 2008 at 1:14 pm
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    so for a D4 owner where would I go to buy a Mylo headphone? I did a search and did not find any for sale? What options would you recommend?

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  • September 22, 2008 at 10:29 am
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    @ Al: You can get a headphone adapter (Sony DRC-1DF) for $21 shipped on eBay. See update at the end of the article for the links.

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  • December 23, 2008 at 6:20 am
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    my gma is getting me the mylo

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  • December 21, 2012 at 6:58 am
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    hmm guys, any of you knew the name of the pin?

    Reply

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