Stereo Bluetooth headsets may not be as popular as their mono cousins, but ever since more cell phones have adopted stereo Bluetooth, they're sure to gain more attention. They're also a good choice for working out at the gym, since you'll have fewer wires that get in your way. The LG HBS-250 is one of a few stereo headsets LG has produced, and indeed we think it's a good option for when you're running on the treadmill or just running for the bus. It retails for a rather pricey $119.95, but you can get it online for closer to $70.
The LG HBS-250 has the appearance of two tiny hockey pucks attached to each other with a long wire. Of course, the two hockey pucks are actually two on-ear earmuffs. On each earmuff is a thin plastic ear loop that's flexible enough to fit around each ear. When first fitting the earmuff, we felt a little bit of pinching around the outer ear, but once we slipped it on correctly, it felt really secure. Your mileage may vary though, especially if you have large ears. You can also adjust the length of the connecting wire between the earmuffs for additional comfort. The earmuffs are also padded with a soft cushion, so it feels comfortable as well.
All the controls are housed on the right earpiece. The entire front surface presses down, and acts as the Power/Call button. There's also a blue LED indicator on it. Around the side of the earpiece are the volume controls, the charging port, the EQ/Hold button, and the music jog dial. The music jog dial is used to skip through tracks, and you can hold it down to play and pause music. The EQ button is used to toggle through different preset equalizer modes; Normal, Rock, Vocal, Bass, and 3D. When you hold down the EQ/Hold button for 3 seconds, you activate hold mode, which prevents buttons from being activated unintentionally. The Power/Call button is easy to press, but we thought all the other keys felt a little cramped and small. We understand it's to save space, but it still felt a little awkward.
Aside from the usual answering, ending, and call reject features, the HBS-250 can also handle voice dialing and last number redial when available. It supports call waiting, mute, and the capability to transfer calls from the headset to the phone and vice versa. Of course, since it's a stereo headset, it also streams music wirelessly. The HBS-250 also has multiconnection mode, so you can connect it to two devices simultaneously.
We tested the LG HBS-250 with the LG Lotus. The pairing went smoothly, and we were able to make calls and stream music right away. Music quality was very good--the audio sounded great, with a decent amount of bass and depth. Call quality was a bit more of a mixed bag. We heard our callers loud and clear, with little distortion. On their end, however, it wasn't so good. Even though the HBS-250 promises echo cancellation and noise reduction, our callers still reported slight echo and static. It wasn't too bad, since they could still hear us just fine; it was just a bit muddled, as if we were going through a tunnel. Volume level was fine on both ends though.
The HBS-250 can also be used as a wired headset, since it comes with a wire connection. The LG HBS-250 has a rated talk time of 10 hours and a rated standby time of 13.3 days.