LG HBM-520 Bluetooth Headset (Black) review: LG HBM-520 Bluetooth Headset (Black)

3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The LG HBM-520 is a simple Bluetooth headset with acceptable sound quality.

The Bad The LG HBM-520 isn't too comfortable in the ear.

The Bottom Line The LG HBM-520 is a decent basic Bluetooth headset that's affordable.

6.7 Overall
  • Design 6.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 7.0

LG has released yet another Bluetooth headset, and this time it is the LG HBM-520. It improves on its predecessors with an ergonomic ear clip, echo noise cancellation, and multiconnection, which lets you connect it with two devices at once. It's not the fanciest Bluetooth headset in the world, but it gets the job done and for only $70.

Measuring 2.1 inches tall by 0.6 inch wide by 0.4 inch deep, the HBM-520 is long and slender, with a blue grid pattern on the front. Also on the front is a small multifunction call button at the top; and volume keys and dedicated power switch are on the left spine. We like that there's a dedicated power switch, because it makes it easier to toggle the headset's power on and off. The charger jack is on the right. Though the keys are small, we still found them easy to access and press.

On the back of the headset is the earpiece and flexible ear loop. The earpiece is covered with LG's e-Clip Ergonomic earbud, which has a pointed tip so that it fits more securely in the ear. Though it does have a snug fit, we wished there were different-size-earbud options so the headset would be comfortable in all-size ears; we thought it was a little too big for us, for example. The flexible ear loop is not optional, as the headset will easily fall off without it. It can be adjusted to fit either ear.

Features on the HBM-520 are typical: answer, reject, and end calls, last number redial, voice-dialing support, call-waiting support, and auto-connect. It can also connect with up to two different devices at once, and you can transfer calls from the headset to the phone, and vice versa.

We paired the LG HBM-520 with the Apple iPhone 3G. The pairing process went smoothly, as the headset automatically goes into pairing mode the first time it's powered on. Call quality is surprisingly good for such a simple headset. Callers could hear us loud and clear and we could hear them just as well. It doesn't do so well in windy environments, however, and even though it has echo cancellation, background sound still came through. Voices sounded a little scratchy at times.

The LG HBM-520 has a rated battery life of 7 hours talk time and 8.3 days standby time.

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