Even though LG is no stranger to Bluetooth headsets, it has yet to live up to its competitors in terms of audio quality and noise reduction. The LG HBM-900 promises to do all that, especially with not one or two, but three microphones, made especially to reduce background noise. It also has features of more expensive headsets, like multipoint, auto reconnection, and auto volume control. We're not thrilled with the touch-sensor key, but the HBM-900 is otherwise a good headset for a decent price. The LG HBM-900 retails for $99.99.
The LG HBM-900 definitely looks different from the other LG headsets we've seen. Measuring 3.83 inches long by 0.7 inch wide by 0.5 inch thick, the HBM-900 is not compact or discreet by any means. It is long, skinny, and tapers down to the rather large boom mic, resembling a telemarketer's headset. The HBM-900 makes no pretensions that it's a Bluetooth headset, that's for sure. Still, despite its bulk, it's quite stylish with its glossy piano black finish and silver chrome accents. And at 0.45 ounce, it won't weigh down your ear either.
Located at the very top of the headset is a blue LED indicator, which also happens to be the touch-sensitive multifunction button. It's flat to the surface of the headset, and it's easy enough to press of course, but we have to say that we really prefer a physical button for a more tactile feel if only so we know when we've actually pressed it.
The charger jack is on the left side, and a single volume button and slider switch are on the right. The slider switch turns the headset on and off, plus you can slide it up to a hold position, which locks the touch-sensitive multifunction button from being pressed accidentally. We weren't pleased with the single volume button, since you have to keep cycling through different volume levels instead of decreasing and increasing like you would on a normal volume rocker. We understand the automatic volume control means you won't have to fiddle with the volume so much, so this is just a minor quibble.
On the back of the headset is a round earpiece with a rubber ear bud cover. The cover has a loop attached to it to secure it in the folds of the ear. There are three different ear bud covers for different size ears. You also have an optional flexible ear hook for a more secure fit, but we found the hook to be quite flimsy. So flimsy, in fact, that it broke when we were trying to adjust it. Thankfully, you don't need the hook to wear the headset properly.
We paired the LG HBM-900 with the Apple iPhone 3G. The pairing process was smooth, as the headset automatically goes into pairing mode the first time it's powered on. The triple microphone setup on the HBM-900 definitely works to cancel out background noise, if our callers are to be believed. They said we sounded loud and clear, and couldn't hear the din of engine noise when we were in the car. Still, audio quality wasn't perfect. They said our voice sounded tinny and harsh, with the occasional crackle. It also does not handle wind noise very well at all. On our end, we could hear them just fine, though we did detect a tiny bit of static at times.
Features of the HBM-900 include the normal answering, rejecting, and ending calls. There's also last number redial, voice dialing support, call waiting support, auto connect, multipoint technology that lets it connect up to two devices at the same time, and auto volume control.