LG HBM-310 review: LG HBM-310

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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The LG HBM-310 is good looking and incredibly affordable. Call quality is acceptable for the price.

The Bad There's no background-noise cancellation, so the audio quality deteriorates in crowded environments. We would also appreciate different sizes of earbud covers for more comfort.

The Bottom Line The LG HBM-310 may not win any awards, but it's surprisingly decent for a bargain-basement headset.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.7 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 7.0

If you don't quite care about echo-noise cancellation or multipoint technology in a Bluetooth headset, you could opt for a really cheap one without the frills. The LG HBM-310 is one such headset, and for its price, it's really not that bad. Though it doesn't have the greatest audio quality in the world, it is good enough for a headset that retails for just under $40.

Since the HBM-310 is on the low-end, it's not surprising that the headset doesn't have a lot going in the design department. It does, however, have an attractive, mirror-finished front surface. It is compact and lightweight, measuring 2.0 inches long by 0.75 inch wide by 0.4 inch thick. The upper third of the front presses down and acts as the multifunction call button, while the power button and the two volume keys are on the right spine. As we've said before, we like the dedicated power button on these LG headsets, since it makes it that much easier to power the headset off when not in use. The charger jack is on the left. The buttons felt easy to press. There's a blue LED indicator underneath the multifunction button.

On the back of the headset are the earpiece and the flexible ear hook. The earpiece is equipped with LG's e-Clip ergonomic earbud, which has a tapered shape, so it fits more snugly in the ear. It certainly fits securely, but it felt a bit too big for our ears, and we would have appreciated the option of different-size earbuds. Though you can choose to wear the headset without the ear hook, we found we really did need it to make sure the headset didn't fall off. The ear hook is thin and flexible, and can be adjusted to fit either ear. It's also thin enough so that we could wear glasses while using it.

We paired the LG HBM-310 with the Apple iPhone 3G. Call quality was pretty mediocre, but that's to be expected for such a cheap headset. We thought our voice sounded very tinny and hollow, as if we were talking through a tin can. But callers said they could still hear us, and we had no problems hearing them, so wed say the audio quality was decent overall. We would recommend using this headset in the car mostly or in a quiet environment, as there's no background-noise cancellation.

Features on the HBM-310 are fairly minimal, but you can still answer, reject, and end calls. There is also last number redial and the capability to transfer calls from the headset to the phone and vice versa. The HBM-310 has a rated battery life of 6 hours talk time and 6.25 days standby time.

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