Testing out the new LG Tone Infinim HBS-900 and Active HBS-850 bluetooth headsets – Reasonable sound quality with distinctive neckband | IT Gadget Review

Over the festive period, I’ve managed to get my hands on LG’s latest headsets – LG Tone Infinim HBS-900 and LG Tone Active HBS-850. The LG Tone Infinim HBS-900 is positioned as the top-of-the-line model in LG’s Bluetooth headset lineup while the LG Tone Active HBS-850 is more suited for sports active adults.

LG TONE INFINIM Wireless Stereo Headset HBS-900 Black - Main Image

[LG Tone Infinim HBS-900]

LG TONE Active Premium Wireless Stereo Headset HBS-850 Lime - Main Image

[LG Tone Active HBS-850]

The HBS-900 retail package includes the headset itself, a microUSB cable for charging, the manual and two sets of extra earbuds of varying sizes.

LG TONE INFINIM Wireless Stereo Headset HBS-900 Black - retail packaging

LG TONE INFINIM Wireless Stereo Headset HBS-900 Black - retail packaging (unboxed)

LG TONE INFINIM Wireless Stereo Headset HBS-900 Black - full kit

The earbud cables are quite thin and are fully retractable.

LG TONE INFINIM Wireless Stereo Headset HBS-900 Black - retractable earpiece

HBS-900’s highlight are the retractable earbuds, with the cables hiding inside the body of the neck band. The neck band sits around the neck, and retractable cables extend up to the ears to eliminate tangles.

The in-ear fit is exceptionally secure and comfortable, close to the quality of my Comfy earbuds. With the extended cables from the neck band, they’re also free of the pull of gravity on long cables.

LG TONE INFINIM Wireless Stereo Headset HBS-900 Black - top view

The left side (when placed around the neck) houses volume controls that work together with your phone’s volume controls – when slid to one side or the other, the control activates or deactivates Vibrate mode. The Call Answer/End button is also on the left side. The micro USB connection for charging is on the inside rim for charging. There also lies an additional button on the left side retracts the cable and pulls the left eartip back into the neckband’s frame.

LG TONE INFINIM Wireless Stereo Headset HBS-900 Black - left rim side

On the right side, there is a single Play/Pause button – when pressed twice, switches between Bass Boost, Normal, and Treble Boost modes. Along the outer rim is a sliding track navigation control. The inner rim holds the Power/Pairing switch and the other cable-retracting button.

LG TONE INFINIM Wireless Stereo Headset HBS-900 Black - right rim side

The harmon/kardon insignia is a true reflection of some premium audio quality built into this stereo Bluetooth headset. Have tested both HBS-900 & HBS-850 headsets with the following few songs and the results are pretty impressive:

a) Test the loudness & depth of bass – Sail (by Awolnation) – Hysteria (by Muse)

b) Test the crisp of singing – Hero (by Mariah Carey)

c) Test audio spectrum reproduction – Star Trek Main theme (by L’Orchestra Cinematique) – Can’t Stop (by One Republic)

 

LG Tone Infinim (HBS-900) headset is Bluetooth 3.0 compatible. It’s also aptX-enabled but in order to enjoy the benefits of this low-latency audio codec you need to use them with an aptX-enabled streaming device.

For LG G3 phone users, the good news is that, upon an incoming call, you have the option to hear the name or phone number of the person calling you. Another exclusive feature is that the call sound would automatically transfer to the phone’s earpiece as soon as you raise it to you ear. The headset also notifies you of calls and messages with mild vibrations.

This LG Tone Infinim would connect to up to two phones simultaneously (Multipoint), but the second phone will always remain secondary.

Once both phones are connected, if you happen to get calls on both of them, a call waiting tone will signal you of the second call and you can easily answer it with a press of a single button, while putting the initial call on hold.

LG TONE INFINIM Wireless Stereo Headset HBS-900 Black - wearing side view

LG TONE INFINIM Wireless Stereo Headset HBS-900 Black - wearing front view

 

Technical Specifications for HBS-900:

LG TONE INFINIM™ Wireless Stereo Headset HBS-900 Black - Technical Specifications

PROS:
– ease of use
– retractable earbuds
– on-board controls
– good streaming audio quality
– voice prompt feedback about the battery level and the connection status
– steady grip of the neck band to hold down the headset body

 

CONS:
– rigid neck band left me with underwhelming impression
– pricy – USD149 / S$210 (perhaps worthwhile if you are streaming quality sound via APX devices)
– Neck band though functional, may not be an in-thing for some

 

LG also recognises that the sports segment has huge potential and thus the birth of LG Tone Active HBS-850. Perfect for both music listening and conversation and compatible with any Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, the LG TONE Active is water and sweat resistant with earbuds that retract fully into the headset to eliminate tangled cords.

G TONE Active Premium Wireless Stereo Headset HBS-850 Lime - retail packaging

Designed with durability in mind to support the most active lifestyles, the LG TONE Active with its contoured design fits snugly around the neck for a secure fit even when running or jogging.

G TONE Active Premium Wireless Stereo Headset HBS-850 Lime - retail packaging (unboxed)

Taking everything out, the full packaging contents include:
– LG HBS-850
– 2 x Ear gels (S / M)
– 2 x Stabilizer tips (S / M)
– Charging cable
– User guide

G TONE Active Premium Wireless Stereo Headset HBS-850 Lime - actual headset

It weighs a pretty meaty 51g, not light compared with other sports earphones

Running on the Bluetooth 4.1, promising longer battery life, pairing is a cinch. Just hold the power button, activate your device’s Bluetooth, select ‘LG HBS850’ and that’s basically it. All this done with accompanying voice prompts and flashing LEDs to clearly indicate the pairing progress statuses.

G TONE Active Premium Wireless Stereo Headset HBS-850 Lime - retractable earpiece

LG TONE Active comes in four colors: Lime, Orange, Blue and Pink.

G TONE Active Premium Wireless Stereo Headset HBS-850 Lime - wearing side view

G TONE Active Premium Wireless Stereo Headset HBS-850 Lime - wearing front view

PROS:
Good water and sweat resistance
Durable and Rugged
Useful retractable earbuds
Good sound reproduction with the mentioned Quad-Layer Speaker Technology™
Competitive price as USD130 / S$190 (vs other bluetooth sports headset)

CONS:

Neck band still wiggle with more intense sporting actions (long distance runs)

 

Technical Specifications for HBS-850:

NewImage

 

In conclusion, the sound quality of the Infinim is still the best among the 2 models. For more professional looks and day-to-day usage, LG Tone Infinim HBS-900 will be a better choice. For more rugged usage, LG Tone Active HBS-850 would be more ideal and its brilliant color tones will liven one going through any sporting activity.

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