The LG HBM-905 is a refinement of a previous LG Bluetooth headset, the LG HBM-900. It has a similar design to its predecessor, but with updated features and slightly different controls. The long boom mic houses three microphones, which help the headset cancel out extraneous noise.
Long and skinny, the HBM-905 is a lot larger than the usual Bluetooth headset. Measuring 3.28 inches long by 0.63 inch wide by 0.4 inch thick, the HBM-905 starts out wide at the top and tapers down to a long boom mic that cradles the side of the face when worn. However, it is a touch smaller than its predecessor, and is now adorned with a faux wood finish and chrome details. Despite the style, we think some people might not like wearing such a large headset. On the front of the headset and near the top is an LED indicator that flashes white when the headset is powered up. Beneath that, the entire front piece can be pressed down to act as the multifunction call button. We much prefer this physical control over the touch-sensitive button of its predecessor. There is no real volume rocker, but there is a single volume button on the right side that you can press a few times to cycle through the different levels. The Micro-USB charging jack is on the left, while the power switch is on the back.
Also on the back is the earpiece, which is clad in a slightly oval rubberized earbud cover. It no longer plugs up the ear as the previous model did, and sits gently outside the ear canal. It's quite comfortable, but you do still need the optional flexible ear hook to wear the headset securely. However, it's just as flimsy as before, and we're afraid to do much adjusting in case it breaks.
The LG HBM-905 has the usual headset functions like answering, ending, and rejecting calls. It also has last-number redial, call waiting support, voice command support, and a voice alert system that lets you know the headset's battery status and whether you have an incoming call. Unfortunately, the voice alerts can't be turned off. As a result, the headset keeps informing you of its battery status after every call, which can get annoying.
The HBM-905 also has Name Alert, which will read out incoming caller ID. If the caller is in your phonebook, the headset will read out the person's name; if the caller is not, the headset will just announce the number. You have to enable the Name Alert function before it'll work--simply press and hold the volume button for about 5 seconds. However, Name Alert doesn't work with all handsets. LG says that for Android phones you need to download an HBM-905 Extender application before Name Alert can work. We tested it with our iPhone 4 without any need for an app, so your mileage may vary depending on your phone.
We paired the LG HBM-905 with the Apple iPhone 4 for testing. Pairing went smoothly, and the headset is smart enough to auto-reconnect after that. Call quality was admirable for the most part. We had no problems listening to our callers, though we did encounter quite a bit of background hiss and static.
On their end, callers too heard us clearly, but unfortunately they encountered quite a bit of background static as well. Callers also complained about our slightly tinny and harsh vocal quality. The headset did do a decent job of noise cancellation, though--we were in a busy construction area in the city, and callers could still hear us.