Top positive review
3,657 people found this helpful
Highly comfortable and very usable - even while exercising
on September 10, 2011
An exemplary show of quality and capability at a reasonable price.
Mid-term (Six-month) and Long Term (One Year) updates are at the bottom.
The Praise (Stuff that's good)...
- Exceptionally comfortable; it's easy to forget it's there
- Very decent sound quality for both stereo media and phone calls
- Buttons are all easy to find by touch
- Long battery life
- Very nice feature set
- Extremely easy to seat in the ears
- Haptic call alert
The Raze (Stuff that's bad)...
- It's easy to forget it's there
- May not work as comfortably for some people with loose, long hair
- Bass highly dependent on the seating of the bud in your ear
- Multi-connection mode connects one profile to each device only
The Haze (Stuff to consider)...
- As with all stereo Bluetooth media, the device's implementation of the Bluetooth stack affects the results
- Relatively noise-cancelling, so be careful in sound-critical environments
- Sealed ear bud design... This is not for everybody
- Like most Bluetooth headsets, it has no Mute button
I've got experience with the Motorola S9-HD, so this is not my first BT Stereo headset. I will say that this is my best experience with one however. The first thing to address is that this headset takes a week or so to get used to. People without long hair will have an advantage putting it on and taking it off of course, but it takes a bit to become a pro at how to use and place the ear buds. It's also important to note that people with long hair that is let down may have problems if they habitually brush their hair back past their neck. The wires from the neck band to the ear buds will catch with your hair.
The headset is a torc-style neck band with a pod on either end of a rubber-sleeved memory-alloy neckband. The neckband may feel flimsy, but the memory alloy is strong and takes use without problem. Ear bud wires exit the outside of the pod near the top, back where your ears would be. The ear buds clip into moderate-strength magnetic cups when not in use. Sliding clips hold onto the band and the ear bud wires to allow for length adjustment.
The left pod is slightly heavier and bears the phone "Call Control" button (Including an indicator light ring), microphone, volume buttons, power switch, and Micro USB charging port, which is covered securely by a sealing cover when not in use. The extra weight of this pod tends to cause the headset to hang slightly lower on this side during use. Interestingly, this seems to improve voice pickup quality.
The right pod has the AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile) control buttons, with pause/play and track controls. This is Advanced AVRCP, so depending on device capability the controls can be very thorough.
The switch for the power button means that the headset does not turn itself off when it's idle for too long, which can be a definite benefit for the average person who doesn't get or make a phone call every hour. Despite this always-on state, the battery life is phenomenal.
The buttons on the unit are easy to feel and big enough that it's almost impossible to fat-finger them. Basic button functions are easy enough to remember that it shouldn't take more than a few uses at most to become very familiar with them.
The one disappointment is that there is no mute button. If you are on the phone, it is necessary to access the phone's controls to mute it. While very few Bluetooth headsets out there have mute buttons, I think that LG could make an absolute killing with an HBS-710 or something similar that had a headset-based mute function.
The headset overall is very comfortable. After 15 minutes or so, it's easy to forget you're wearing it, especially when you have it in "Standby" (ear buds parked in their cups). This can be a great thing, but can also be a bane if you forget they're there when their non-presence would be a better thing. Examples of this include scratching the back of your neck, taking a shower, or swinging a bag strap over your shoulder.
Despite assumptions to the contrary, after thorough testing by several friends and associates (many of whom were loathe to give the headset back to me), I can officially say:
This headset works JUST FINE while jogging or exercising. The only person who was able to have any problem had to do five cartwheels to get the headset to fall loose. I have found it to be more comfortable overall and more stable in fact than the behind-the-head style headsets (Like the S9), and the neck-torc with short wires works much better in general than long-wired clips or neck hangers.
Unlike many headsets that have a specific radio-shadow issue depending on the device positioning, I have not found any problems with this one. My S9-HD hates it when my phone is in my front pants pocket, for example, because the Bluetooth antenna is in the back. This headset is happy and uninterrupted regardless of where the device is. The reception quality is actually quite impressive, uninterrupted even across 20 feet and through three walls from an HTC Evo 3D transmitting Stereo music.
I join others in saying that I'm no audiophile, but the stereo sound quality on this headset is very good. It's important to consider that it uses closed ear buds. If you are not already comfortable with ear buds, especially ones that block your ear very thoroughly, this may not be for you. The headset comes with two different sizes of bud cups to fit different sized ear canals, and they are both very squishy, so should work in most ears.
The headset has two basic EQ modes, Normal and Bass. A good, tight fit is absolutely critical to achieve any semblance of bass response, but when placed correctly the bass is definitely decent and the Bass EQ mode enhances this nicely for people who enjoy a good low frequency response in their music.
Sound quality on calls is impressive both receiving and sending. The microphone is located on the end of the left pod, just below your chin normally. Unfortunately, it does point out, so wind noise can be more prominent than with some headsets, but very few headsets deal with wind gracefully.
The ring signal is a standard base-tone set, however the headset has haptic feedback for incoming calls in the form of vibration. Even in loud environments, this vibe alert on your neck will get your attention with ease even if the ear buds are not in your ear.
Separation of the power function from the Call control button allows for easier use of call controls. There are more call controls than most people memorize easily, including transferring the call to the handset and handling call waiting.
One review claims that it's easy to hear past the ear buds. When they are in the ear canal properly, this is definitely not true. When off in the ear, they are sufficient to muffle conversational speech. When on, even loud sounds are drowned out easily. It's up to the user to be aware of their surroundings and I strongly encourage the use of only the LEFT ear bud for phone calls while in the car. (The microphone is on the left and if the right ear bud is in use and the left one is docked, it creates a tunnel sound.) Obviously user safety is important in environments where hearing is a good idea.
Multi-connect functionality is different compared to some headsets, and due to the lack of clarity in the manual, I am loathe to test because it doesn't indicate whether it is an ongoing status. When multi-connecting, it will specifically connect one device as the telephony connection, and one device as the stereo connection. I honestly can't remember which, but I have previously used a stereo headset that allowed two devices to be connected and use either profile they liked. In that case, I was able to connect to the phone and the computer, listen to music on the computer, and receive a headset call from either the phone or from the VoIP phone system. In this case, when listening to music on the computer, calls must come from the phone, and no music can come from the phone when it is connected A2DP to the computer.
General to -all- stereo Bluetooth headsets: The device's Bluetooth capability is the complete determinant on capabilities and performance. On some devices and even some -apps- on some devices, the use of Bluetooth will cause the audio to differ substantially in quality and often in sync from wired headphones. The sync on some devices will mean that trying to view a video with the Bluetooth headset is night onto impossible as the sound is way off from the video. This is dependent on the DEVICE and its firmware, not the headphones, so know your device before getting stereo Bluetooth headphones for video viewing or any media use. One important device example: Most iPhones will pipe all audio through the headset, including alerts and system sounds. Changing the audio output/source is necessary to put alarms and alerts back though the phone when any headset is connected.
Overall this is an extremely nice headset and will work well for most people in most cases. The specialty cases and caveats are mentioned above. Several guesses that people have taken in other reviews were directly researched to address. For the price, these are a Must Get for anybody who wants wireless freedom.
Medium Term Update
Jan 11, 2012
This review was originally written in September 2011 after I had the headset for about two months. To help people decide on the longer-term aspects of the headset, this update is an evaluation of how it is doing so far.
Worn daily on weekdays for a minimum of 12 hours a day. Often squished by the collar of a leather jacket, abused by a cat who thinks I shouldn't wear it, removed with one hand, and occasionally caught on things when I don't pay attention. Snowed on, blown by the wind, and rained on a few times and subjected to outside temperatures ranging from 98F to -2F (37C to -19C). In use for a minimum of 40 minutes of calls a day and an average of three hours of music a day, up to six hours of music.
Cosmetic (Appearance, wear on surfaces and materials, etc):
Structural (Non-electrical attachments, structural stability, etc):
Base Electrical (Wire connections and condition, button operation, light function, battery):
Complex Electrical (Radio, processing chips, output, 'intelligence', etc):
Normally I'd expect to have some wear and tear on the headset. There have been a number of accidents that it should not have survived through. With the excellent price value, I love the headset but replacing it with a new one would not be a wallet breaker, so I admit I haven't been as kind to it as I should be.
Casing is secure and unblemished on contact surfaces. Wires are supple, well-attached and secure, including electrical operation. The neck band, despite it's frail feel, has withstood more abuse than the average person would give it. Batteries continue to charge quickly and last well. Sound quality remains superb.
Medium-term verdict: Five Stars maintained.
It's survived better than a champ. With all it's been through, it still looks and operates as well as day one. I've not been this astounded by such quality construction in decades.
Update to the update: One commenter has alerted that they had wiring problems after a short time. I can see this as being possible, since the wires are exposed, and just like a bruise on your leg that you are unsure how you got, a yank on the wire could be easily forgotten. While I do know that mine has undergone some accidental abuse that made me worry for it, I can also say that it's easy to put the wires under strain that isn't as obvious at the time. Heavy jackets, long hair, car seatbelts, backpacks, messenger bags, etc, all have a chance of catching on the cable. Pets may also find the wires chewy and delicious. I can only give my experience with it, but please do feel free to comment or start a Discussion using the Discussion feature on the product page to let people know about your experiences.
One Year Update
Sept 20, 2012
Wear and tear and the rigors of the world. Alas, everything breaks down eventually.
That is not the case for my headset so far. Over a year later and still going strong.
Two headsets at my disposal to inspect, mine and my wife's. She has managed to get the wire clip caught in her hair enough times to permanently remove it, otherwise both are in pristine physical condition still. The plastic is still smooth and shiny with nary a scratch. The buttons work perfectly and are responsive. Wires are intact and in good shape. The ear buds are pliable and comfortable.
The electronics functions are starting to show the standard wear and tear of middle age. The battery life has dropped by the pretty-expected 10% or so, but the Bluetooth chipset and functionality of the headset is remaining strong. Even with reduced battery capacity, I can still use it for eight hours of music at work and two hours of phone calls to boot.
- Paired with an Evo 3D phone.
- An average of 10-12 hours of use per day for music and phone calls.
- My music desires are fickle. The control buttons get a LOT more use than average.
- Long hair has been a minimal issue for me, but it still reminds me to be careful at times.
- Though I strongly don't recommend tempting fate, the headset has survived being caught in a drenchpour of rain.
- Winter's approach will soon renew the abuse of being under a jacket. I will update when I have more on that.
Nowhere close to a pampered life, this is a real workhorse and an absolute joy to own. Given the price, their persistent quality and ongoing survival is a tremendously pleasant experience. I know that they will die -eventually-, as everything does, but I'm already prepared with four more of them to hopefully carry me into the years to come.
End of Life Update
It finally died to having the wires nommed by the cat. That was about a month or two ago now and I am on one of the new pairs already. Still pleased with the new pair. I decided to try to the Tone+ (the successor to this) and ended up going through two of them that both had the same Bluetooth radio problem, so despite its improvements, I cannot recommend it (you can see my review on it as well). I'm sticking with the Tone for now and we'll see if the Tone+ troubles are rectified.
Continuing to use a new pair! Still love them!
Many questions are asked and answered in the comments to this review, and if you have one that isn't, I'm here to answer it for you if you ask!
As always, I will update this review if and as new information becomes available and I will attempt to accurately answer any questions from my standpoint as a user of this device. Please feel free to let Amazon and me know whether this was helpful to you or not, since it helps me improve my reviews.