The LG Tone Plus HBS-730 is one of the sleekest wireless headphones we’ve seen in a while. Lightweight, portable and stylish, they make a great choice for people with an active lifestyle, so it’s not surprising to see the Tone Plus at your local gym or park.
Bad signal and poor sound quality in wireless headphones are a thing of the past. Today’s technology has enabled these headphones to produce sound quality that is comparable, if not better, than some of their wired counterparts. The Tone Plus is one such example; offering high quality stereo sound – minus the hassle of cables and tangles. The headphones are an upgrade from LG’s HBS-700, and apart from some extra features, the sound has been fine-tuned as well.
They run on Bluetooth 3.0, which is backwards compatible with older versions. Although not the latest, the headphones should be able to work with most devices. Their sound quality is comparable to some mid-tier wired headphones; with a clear, tight bass and full, well-rounded audio. Tones are warm rather than flat, but they weren’t made to satisfy audiophiles anyway.
If you like clean sound with a boosted bass, then the Tone Plus does the job just fine. The enhanced bass response works well with music genres such as pop, hip hop and electronic dance, but nothing overwhelming like with the Beats or bass-heavy headphones – just a little extra oomph. Users should also expect balanced mids and sparkly trebles that are not overly bright.
For a CD-like sound quality, the Tone Plus has built-in apt-X technology when paired with a source device that supports the format. This codec allows for lossless transmission so that music retains its full digital integrity. They also work with A2DP and AVRCP profiles. As they have low impedance, these headphones work well with portable music devices such as MP3 players and smartphones. The volume goes up pretty high so no amplifiers are required.
Design and Build
Departing from traditional on-the-ear designs, the set consists of a neck band with magnets to hold the earbud-style headphones in place. The buds can be detached when users need to pop them into the ears and listen to music. A soft and pliable Memory Flex band goes conveniently around the neck and keeps the buds in place when not in use. The top part of the band is covered in a rubbery material which is sweat resistant for a better grip, and should stay in place even with vigorous movement. The ends are made from sturdy plastic.
Despite their flexible form, the band is fairly durable and will hold up against abuse, making them perfect travelling companions. Clocking in at just 5.6 ounces, the headphones are very lightweight and comfortable to wear. Users will barely feel them on the head, even during long listening sessions.
As the buds go into the ears, they are good at noise isolation. Listen to music while on the go without bothering others around you. The buds also form an effective seal against outside noises, so users can drown out the sounds of rumbling traffic, crying babies on an airplane or loud gym music.
The headphones come in a variety of bright and vivid colors, from black and white to teal, pink and orange.
The Tone Plus features an in-built microphone, allowing users to make and answer calls conveniently at the touch of a button. Mic performance is good, if not great, thanks to Noise Reduction headphones and Echo Cancellation technologies that help to block out background noise while enhancing voice quality. All controls are conveniently located on the band, so you won’t have to reach for your devices.
The headphones carry some upgraded features from its predecessor. These include Call Waiting and Call Rejection, last number redial, auto reconnect and voice activated dialing. The buds vibrate when receiving calls to alert users, or when the battery gets low. Else, users can check the battery status with the indicator; an extra feature not available in the old HBS-700.
While the headphones are compatible with most platforms, including Apple and Android, Android users can enjoy LG’s downloadable BT Reader Application from Google Play, which enables the Tone Plus to read incoming text messages in real time.
The Tone Plus supports dual pairing, although they can only play with one device at a time. They have a long battery life: up to 15 hours of talk time and 10 hours of music playback, with a standby time of 15 days. Charging is quick and easy, taking just two hours to get a full charge.
The only drawback with the Tone Plus is their range. Surprisingly, their signal is not as good as the older HBS-700. While they claim to have an operational range of up to 33 ft, the choppiness increases significantly after 20 ft. Since they run on the old Bluetooth 3.0, some users have reported compatibility issues with new iPhones.
Pros and Cons
- Good stereo sound, enhanced bass response
- Wireless connectivity
- Lightweight and portable
- Flexible headband
- Designed for an active lifestyle
- Long battery life, quick recharge
- Noise reduction and Echo Cancellation for better voice clarity
- Effective noise isolation and noise reduction
- Operational range not as good as HBS-700
- Compatibility issues with newer iPhones
For a pair of affordable Bluetooth headphones, the Tone Plus delivers with outstanding clarity and audio performance. Their strength lies in their convenience, allowing users to listen to music on the go and make calls, without the need for cables. While their operational range is not as good as their predecessor, they work well at shorter distances.