When I got my LG Tone HBS-700 wireless Bluetooth stereo headset last Christmas, I was a little wary.
Oh, I’d done my research. I’d read all the stellar reviews on Amazon.com, and I’d compared the $52.00 HBS-700 to dozens of Bluetooth earpieces, headsets, and headphones out there. And, as far as I could tell, this little LG headset was perfect for me. Here’s why:
– I travel light. As much as I might enjoy the thudding bass of, say, the Bose AE2i headphones, they add a lot of bulk and weight to my messenger bag. (They also cost about $110 more.) My HBS 700, though, weighs so little I frequently forget I have it on. It adds zero detectable weight to my messenger bag.
– I don’t need noise cancellation. I fly often, so, at first, the noise cancellation of say, the Bose QuietComfort headphones appealed to me. But as headphones go, the $300 QuietComforts are whoppers … and while the HBS 700 has no noise cancellation built-in, with properly fitted earbuds, it insulates me against about 90% of the city noise I encounter during walks to work.
– I like hands-free phone calls. I don’t care for most Bluetooth earpieces, and hate getting calls from people who use them. Even the best ones distort voices and fail to distinguish well between the caller’s voice and background noise. The HBS 700, though, works like a charm. The people I talk to say my voice is loud and clear, and I love the way a stereo headset makes the caller’s voice come from inside my head — like I’m chatting using psychic powers. (As an iPhone owner, I can also use the headset to interact with Siri — but more on that later.)
Well, I’ve owned my HBS 700 for five months now. It’s been with me on international flights to Portugal, New Zealand, and Australia. The headset accompanies me every morning on my walk to work and every afternoon on the way back home. When not perched on my collar, it’s been tossed carelessly in my messenger bag. Despite heavy use, I’m pleased say the headset holds up well. (Even the little plastic cover that snaps over the charging port — which I figured would be the first bit to break off — remains intact.)
The durability is great … but the battery life is phenomenal. I’m still amazed at how long the headset retains a charge. One hour of charging delivers hours and hours of play. When following my usual routine (fifteen minutes in the morning, an hour or so during the day, and another fifteen minutes at night), I can actually go days without plugging them in for more juice.
All controls (power, volume, and phone activation on the left, and track control and pausing on the right) have a shape and size that make them easy to identify and operate by touch alone. If a call comes in while I’m listening to Spotify, the music crossfades to my ringtone, and headset gently vibrates. When I want to make a call, I can smack the phone activation control and simply say, “Call Clyde at home” or “Call Mom.” The same switch lets me interact with Siri, too — so I can send text messages, look things up, make appointments, or set reminders without ever pulling my phone from my pocket.
The headset’s unique form factor — earbuds connected to a pair of odd, black lobster claws which are, in turn, connected to each other by a wiggly-jiggly arc of stiff, rubberized plastic — draws a lot of attention. People often ask me what I’m wearing (especially since the headset is so light, I forget to take it off before running to meetings). But since “sharing what works” is a big part of my mission in life, I never mind showing the HBS 700 off.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve flirted briefly with the “beats by Dr. Dre” headphones (I don’t like over- or on-the-ear headsets, though) and even the Bose AE2i again. That’s mostly because I’m aware that the bass response of this headset is limited at best. In the end, though, I can’t justify the added cost, bulk, wires, or weight of either of those alternatives. I’d rather have a wireless, in-ear headset with simple controls and amazing battery life than a set of wired cans that will give me “headphone hair” for the reset of the day.
So: if you’re looking for a lightweight, powerful headset that pairs well with the iPhone and delivers hours and hours of play on a single charge, look no further. I think you’ll love your HBS 700 just as much as I do.