Friday, January 13, 2012

Product Review - LG Tone Wireless Headset

A couple of months ago, I destroyed my third set of Apple headphones for my iPhone.  I like the soft rubber sort of noise isolation kind rather than the cheaper ear buds, so that means I've spent about $200 on headphones.  Yeah, I'm an idiot.  The main thing that would happen was that I would either lose the soft earbuds, which Apple does not seem to sell replacements for and 3rd party replacements didn't fit quite right, or cut/break the wire when working on something.  BTW, if you ever want to hear good, honest to God American cussing, take a recording of my rant when I cut through the cord of $75 earphones with a hedge trimmer.

I decided to try a wireless headphone this time.  I needed them to be relatively light, stereo, and with good audio and range. 

A little research led me to the LG Tone HBS-700 BlueTooth headset, which gave me everything I need for less than another wired set from Apple. 

The Tone is different from any of the other BlueTooth headsets I tried out.  The set hangs across the back of the neck, with wired earphones that go up to the ears. This means they're a lot more comfortable to wear than the other stereo BlueTooth headsets I looked at, which tended to be the over the ear type with more of the weight of the set being put on the ears.  When not in use, the back of each earpiece clips magnetically to the front of the set. 

Audio quality is pretty good.  It's not as good as the high end Bose sets I looked at, but it costs 1/3 as much.  The sound quality is definitely better than most of the over the ear sets I looked at.  The noise isolation works as well as any other non-noise cancelling set that has the rubber inserts but not the noise cancelling electronics.

Controls are pretty intuitive.  One side has the on/off switch, volume control, and the button for answering the phone and initiating voice commands on your phone.  The other side has a stop/start button and the reverse/fast forward button. 

The set latched onto my iPhone and laptop pretty easily.  One quibble I have with the set is that once I mated it with my laptop after using it for a while with my phone, it didn't want to go back to working with the iPhone again.  I eventually had to shut down the laptop entirely, then go through several rounds of the link-up procedure to get it to work. 

Battery life on the set is pretty good.  It's advertised as having 10 hours of talk time with 15 days of idle time.  My experience is that I can listen to music and make phone calls for between 6 and 8 hours before the annoying "Charge me" beep starts to go off.  Recharging is done through a wall wart transformer that connects to a small port on the inside of the right wing of the set.  Recharging is advertised as taking 2.5 hours, which is pretty much my experience.  One downside on this is that while recharging, the headset turns itself off, so using it while recharging doesn't happen. 

LG lists the range on the Tone as being 33 feet, and while I've never done a measured straightline test, that sounds about right for unobstructed connection.  I can easily leave the phone on the table in the living room and go pretty much anywhere on the same floor and still have a good connection.  I did have some issues with range when I kept my phone in an OtterBox case, but when I changed to another case, the issue went away. 

The Tone seems to be pretty rugged.  I've used it while working outside and while exercising, and it holds up to dirt and sweat pretty well.  I haven't gotten them totally drenched in water, but they are advertised as being water resistant, not water proof.  The problem of the rubber earbuds falling off with the Apple headphones hasn't cropped up, probably because I'm not pulling them loose by tripping of a wire and ripping them out of my ears on a regular basis.

Overall, I'd say that the HBS-700 is a good value. It's comfortable, has good sound quality and range, pretty good battery life, and doesn't fall apart through normal use.

Disclaimer:  I received nothing for doing this review.  I purchased the product with my own money.


Ruth said...

Hm, I'll have to keep these in mind. I've got a Bose set ($175 not the hugely over priced $500 set), use a twisttie to bind up the insane amount of extra wire, stuff Ipad and extra wire in my back pocket and run the cord under my shirt. So far thats kept me from getting to tangled up in the wire or cutting it or the like.

WS4E said...

Ok. I could really use these myself and broke down and ordered a pair after having seen them on DB in person and hearing about them for a while now.

I found them for about $12 cheaper at$47.99+$0ship) than Amazon($54+$5ship=$59.25).

Here is the product link:

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