Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Impressions of the LG HBS-700 stereo headset

I have been taking a lot of calls at work lately.

I was using Sony's wired headphones. At $13 on eBay, they're hard to beat.  But the wires were a pain.  I keep my phone on my desk, so the headset effectively tied me there.

After reading on Lifehacker about a nice wireless stereo headset from LG, I bit.  Buying them on eBay from the aptly-named "LG Mobile Accessory" store, they showed up a little while later.

No way to know if the LG Mobile Accessory seller is for real or not.  But if these headphones are counterfeit, they are damn good counterfeits. Which actually counts for a lot, seeing as it takes attention and effort to counterfeit something like this effectively and accurately.  I'd guess they are totally legit.

And they work.  And when I say they work, I mean it ALL works.  All the music playback controls - forward, backward, play/pause, and volume - work flawlessly on my Xperia X10i using Poweramp.  The call controls similarly work flawlessly.  Oh, it's nice.

This is Froyo, so Gingerbread and ICS should also work.  Don't know about other players, phones, or platforms, though.  Support for Android seems to be the worst, so I'm betting Blackberry and iPhone will work fine as well.  Buyer beware.

It's not a stretch to say these are the nicest wireless headphones I've ever had.  My old Helium pair seemed cool enough for running, but their sound quality sucks.  The wired Sony headset works great, and is cheap, but is wired and doesn't "seem" to sound so good.  Could be just me on the Sony, but the Heliums are definitely not up to par.

The LG HBS-700 may look weird, but they're very comfortable, and they sound good.  Probably not audiophile-quality good, but pretty damn good anyway.  Great, to my ear, with only minor tweaks to Poweramps tone controls.

One problem was they only came with "medium" and "large" ear socks.  Previous and painful experience with the Sony set taught me the "medium" size is too large for me.  I stole the earsocks (or whatever they're called) off of a set of Sony wired earbuds to use on the LG.

In fact, if you look at the Sony Xperia wired earbuds and the LG HBS-700 wireless earbuds, they're identical.  No way to know if the drivers in them are the same, but it seems likely.  The earsocks fit fine on either set.

Setting the earbuds firmly in your ears is certainly key.  Without that, the bass will disappear.  They work by getting a good seal.  Some people's ears will not be able to take that for long periods of time without getting sore, but it might just be a matter of experimenting with different size earsocks.

Having your headphones around your neck all the time seems like a weird concept, but it works damn well.  There are always naysayers on these kinds of things, and big kudos to LG for not listening.

It's actually really nice to have all your controls always within convenient reach, and you never even notice the weight of the battery.  You get used to it really fast.

The earbuds are small and light, and so they become practically unnoticeable when wearing.  All the heavy stuff is on your neck and chest, and not dragging on wires or on your ears.

I'm glad I ponied up the $72 for these.  Finally, I can listen to tunes and take calls anytime, no wires.  Finally, I have a mobile phone headset that works.

[Edit]:  Or, at least, works as long as my wireless landline phones don't get any calls.  When the landline rings, my HBS-700s lose communication with my X10i.  Nuts.

Still, doesn't happen too often.  Didn't seem to be a problem before - maybe a low battery on the 700s was to blame?  Not sure yet.

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