LG Electronics HBM-235 Bluetooth Headset review: LG Electronics HBM-235 Bluetooth Headset

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LG Electronics HBM-235 Bluetooth Headset

(Part #: HBM-235)
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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

2 stars 1 user review

The Good The LG HBM-235 is a simple, no-nonsense Bluetooth headset with a very tactile multifunction call button. It offers multipoint and has decent audio quality for the price.

The Bad The HBM-235 doesn't offer different earbud sizes, the hook feels rather cheap, and the headset doesn't perform well in very noisy or windy conditions.

The Bottom Line Even though the LG HBM-235 doesn't have all the bells and whistles of more expensive headsets, it offers acceptable audio quality considering its bargain-basement price.

6.0 Overall
  • Design 6.0
  • Features 5.0
  • Performance 7.0

Cheap Bluetooth headsets do exist, but bear in mind that you're not going to get a top-of-the-line product for the price. For example, the LG HBM-235 is as basic as Bluetooth headsets come these days, with no A2DP streaming, and without a fancy design. But it is very affordable at only $39.99 retail, plus you can get it for as low as $19 if you shop around online.

The LG HBM-235 headset has a simple look. Measuring around 1.8 inches long by 0.7 inch wide by 0.2 inch deep, the HBM-235 has straight sides all around and a very minimalist design overall. A skinny volume rocker sits on its right spine, while its Micro-USB charging jack is on the left, covered with a simple plastic flap. There's nothing on the front surface save for the LG branding when on standby mode. When the headset is activated, though, you'll see a tiny LED indicator glowing beneath the surface.

Sitting at the very top of the headset is a large chrome push button that acts as the multifunction call button. It clicks into place satisfyingly each time, and we had no difficulty pressing it by feel because of its size. Turn the headset around and you'll find a simple round earpiece clad in a rubbery cover. We were a little disappointed that LG didn't include more earbud sizes, but the default option felt snug enough at the opening of our ears. We recommend wearing the headset with the included flexible ear hook, as it feels more secure that way. The hook feels quite fragile and cheap, though--we had to be careful not to break it.

The LG HBM-235 doesn't have that many features. You get the usual answering, ending, and rejecting calls, and there's also last-number redial, call-waiting support, auto reconnect, battery status alert, and the ability to transfer calls from the headset to the phone and vice versa. For such a cheap headset, we're happy to see that the HBM-235 has multipoint, which lets it connect to two devices simultaneously.

We paired the LG HBM-235 with the Apple iPhone 4. Call quality was acceptable at best, but that's normal for such an affordable headset. Callers sounded all right, with decent clarity and volume. However, we detected quite a bit of static hiss on our end. Callers also had no problems hearing us, as long as we were in a relatively quiet environment. The HBM-235 doesn't perform very well in environments with even the slightest bit of noise. For example, we tried it out in the CNET office, and callers could clearly detect the clacking of keyboards in the background. Callers also said our voice quality was rather harsh, hollow, and not as natural as they would have liked.

The HBM-235 has a rated battery life of 8 hours of talk time and 12.5 days of standby time.

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