LG has plenty of music phones in its stable; the LG Muziq and the LG VX8550 Chocolate being two of the most recent ones. Most of them now come equipped with stereo Bluetooth, a profile that lets you stream music wirelessly from one device to another. So it makes sense then that LG has started to come out with stereo Bluetooth accessories of its own. The LG Bluetooth Stereo Headset HBS-200 is one such device, and it is a simple behind-the-neck headset that is surprisingly compact, comfortable, with great sound quality to boot. The HBS-200 is a little pricey at $129.99 each. You can also get it as part of a Music Essentials Kit from Verizon for $199.99 per kit, but at least you'll get a 4GB microSD card and a software CD out of it.
The HBS-200 has a similar design to other behind-the-neck headsets such as the Cardo S-2. It can fold down to a more compact size, thanks to hinges above each earpiece. A sturdy yet flexible rubber band connects the two earpieces, and it can also stretch out to accommodate most head sizes quite comfortably. The earpieces measure about 2 inches wide, which fit nicely on our ears, especially with the help of the foam cover cushions. A rubberized grip above each earpiece provides a more secure fit.
All controls on the HBS-200 sit on the right earpiece. The multifunction and Play/Pause buttons sit in the middle of the circle while the surrounding circular border can be slid to and fro as track shuttle controls. Two volume buttons are on top of the earpiece, while the hold switch and charger jack are on the bottom. A blue-and-red LED is hidden underneath the Play/Pause button and lights up depending on what mode the headset is in. Though the multifunction button is a little small, it has a slight bump so we could press it easily. We did find the Play/Pause and volume buttons a little too skinny for our tastes, but they were raised enough above the surface so they were easy to press as well. The track shuttle slider was easy to slide back and forth, but we wished there was a grip of some kind for better control.
We paired the LG Bluetooth Stereo HBS-200 with the LG VX8550 Chocolate successfully. The pairing process was a breeze; within seconds we were able to listen to music and answer phone calls. Call quality was quite good, with little to no background noise on our end. Callers, however, did report some static and a slight hissing sound, especially in windier environments. Of course, the real test came when we tried out the HBS-200 with some music. The sound quality of the music was great--the songs sounded fantastic, with rich full sound and decent bass.
Other features of the HBS-200 include voice dialing, last number redial, call transfers from the phone to the headset and vice versa, call mute, and a low battery indicator. The HBS-200 has a rated talk time of 8 hours and a rated standby time of 10.4 days.