LG Tone Infinim HBS-910

5.6
5.6 score
[Editors rating (5.6)] = (TheGearHunt) score (5.6)/10


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Editor rating: 5.6 / 10
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LG Tone Infinim HBS-910 Review Facts

Not every headset is created equal. Over the head earphones, headphones that stretch around the back of the head (sometimes called low-rider headphones) and even earbud cords all have different features, function levels, and intended uses for which they are best inclined. There is also a question of quality from brand to brand, model to model with in each brand, and from one form of design to another. Sometimes a good design can make up for a slightly lesser quality, but not always. Sometimes so many similar models exist that making one particular model shine is nearly impossible. Unfortunately, this seems to be the case with the LG Tone Infinim HBS-910 model wireless Bluetooth stereo headset. The number of concerns listed in both technology and construction mark it as not only generally unimpressive, but frankly a needless risk to buy when there are other options for roughly the same price point with a better reputation.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Lightweight, only 1.8 ounces
  • 5 day standby time
  • 5-16 hours of use, depending on function
  • Charges in under 2 hours
Cons
  • One or both earbuds die in 12-18 months on average
  • Plastic coating peels
  • Neck band fails at the joint with frequent use
  • Earbud retraction cord is sometimes too short for mobility
Activities

Activities

There are plenty of things you could be doing while listening to music. Doing chores around the house, going for a walk or a run, hiking, gardening, commuting on the bus or train, and countless other activities can be done while using this headset. For those of you that are thinking of wearing them for aquatic adventures under the idea of “but my body isn’t submerged if I’m kayaking” or something similar, think again. In the first place, always assume you and your belongings will wind up falling into the water at some point; in the second place, these headphones are not waterproof, and should not be taken on such pursuits. This sleek little headset will, however, serve you well in your daily travels or weekly chores, workouts or walks with your dog for as long as it lives.
Basic Features

Basic Features

The primary intention of this device is to be able to keep your phone in your pocket while you listen to music or answer a call, thanks to the corresponding buttons on the top of the apparatus. The retractable ear buds offer comfort without having a tight band pressed against the top or back of your head, leaving hair mussing or undue pressure on your head to the past. It may not seem like much but wearing headphones for a daily commute can be killer for one’s styled-for-work hair. Being an around-the-neck sort of headset makes this much more comfortable and functional.
Advanced Features

Advanced Features

While it may come standard on most headsets of this nature to dual mics, quad-layer speakers, and all of the other things that make these headphones impressive, it is also the biggest part of what this headset can boast. In terms of ‘advanced features’ there does not seem to be much to mention. It is part of the concern when recommending these headphones: they are wonderful for simplicity, but frankly they do not seem to be anything terribly special. Nothing really stands out to set them apart from other brands of similar price category.
Sound Quality

Sound Quality

With Harman Kardon Signature Sound it is no surprise how good the sound quality is on these headphones. The rich bass, crisp treble, and solid clarity of Advanced Quad-Layer speaker technology mean that you will hear the music you are listening to – or the person you are having a conversation with – with minimal distortion. With the Dual MEMS microphones added, the party at the other end of your phone call is supposed to be able to hear you just as clearly. Some users reported that this is not actually the case, but without knowing the specific circumstances on the occasion that purported the complaint it is hard to confirm or deny whether quality was where the issues lay.
Connectivity

Connectivity

As with most wireless headsets, this one connects to your smart phone via Bluetooth, specifically Bluetooth version 4.1. This is unsurprising to anyone who has used a wireless headset, speaker, or car connection before. The operating range of the set from your connected device is 33 feet, so if you intend to put down your phone and walk more than 33 feet away during the course of your chosen activity, you will probably experience a connection failure. Sometimes simply walking back in range quickly will fix it; other times it takes turning either the headset or, in some cases, the phone off and back on again.
Comfort

Comfort

As was mentioned before, this particular device is designed to rest comfortably and loosely around the neck, with the retractable earbuds inserted for listening and no pressure anywhere on the head like traditional over the ear headphones. Weighing in at only 1.8 ounces, it is lightweight enough to be put on and forgotten. While this is a wonderful selling point, it should also be mentioned that, being one size, this headset still may not fit comfortably on all shapes and sizes of neck. If you happen to have a wide or particularly tall neck, the headset still may press uncomfortably along the sides, or the earbud cord may prove too short to comfortably reach from your ears to where the apparatus rests on your neck and still be able to move about, turn your head, and generally move. While no discomfort has been mentioned within the wearing of the earbuds themselves, there is always the risk of an uncomfortable removal yank as you jog if the headset jostles too hard where it sits. If you are buying these in person, see about wearing them and walking, turning your head, lifting your arms, and giving a small jog to be sure they stay in place. It is likely they will, but it never hurts to err on the side of caution. As for the little buds themselves that go in your ear, there were not specific replacement ones released for this model, but according to users there were widely available generic buds that fit. The Comply S200 memory foam tips were mentioned as even having the added benefit of improving sound quality upon replacement, though that may vary from person to person.
Style

Style

The HBS-910 headset was designed with a sleek style in mind. The slightly bendable piece that loops around the back of the neck leads down to the solid housing and retractable earbud base in a single, solid-form line in a single color, giving the look of a cohesive and simplistic design that is ready to roll. The HBS-910 comes in black, silver, or rose gold, leaving both subtle and pop colors available for different personalities to feel like they are being catered to. Easy to use buttons, simple design, and no-frills function are definitely points in favor of this headphone style.
Durability

Durability

Sadly, durability seems to be where the 910 headset seems to fail. There were multiple reports from users about the plastic coating peeling, the neck band failing at the joint to the side pieces that house the earbuds, and generally at least one earbud would stop working after about a year’s time in use. The cord for the retractable earbuds, while not explicitly stated as being guilty of breakage, was reported as being too small, pulling the earbud from your ear when you turn your head too far to one side. While this alone may not be an issue for every individual, combining it with a risk of the entire apparatus breaking under the strain, or one or both earpieces giving up out of the blue one day might send you looking elsewhere for a headset with less technical or manufacturing issues. To be fair, it is plausible that the owner’s manual may suggest a better way of donning and doffing the item so that you are not putting undue strain on the connection site from the side pieces to the back of the neck portion, but tender loving care can only go so far if you find yourself in need of this headset for workouts in the gym or runs through the neighborhood. They are going to be jostled, they are going to be bumped and bounced, and like it or not you are going to have to expand the opening slightly to fit them around your neck. If repeated normal use of this item is enough to wear it down in a year, ask yourself if that is a level of longevity that you are willing to accept from your purchase. You may, perhaps, want to look into something a little more steadfast; do your research before buying and be sure that you will be getting a value you deserve.
Ease of Use

Ease of Use

In terms of simplicity, this headset is top notch. Turn it on, link it to your smart phone, and play away. The general functionality of the headset is to be put on, turned on, and forgotten about as you make your way through your commute, run, dusting around the house, or whatever you might be doing while listening to music or talking to someone through the dual MEMS microphones. Having no frilly extras to have to add in terms of buttons or dials or cords makes this headset easy enough for anyone to use, so those that are intimidated by new tech need not fear.
Power Source

Power Source

The Tone Infinim HBS-910 typically comes with a micro-USB cable included for charging purposes, though the AC adapter is noted as not being a part of the deal. If you want a full assembly, you will need to look for a special being run somewhere, especially now that the HBS-910 is discontinued from LG’s direct manufacture. This sometimes limits the availability or obtaining of specific items, but with so generic a cable it is likely not going to be an issue to find one. It has been found in the past that AC adapters may or may not alter the total charging time depending on the quality of the item’s construction. Officially, the HBS-910 headset will charge in under two hours. Without a pre-specified AC adapter, however, the actual charging time may vary slightly. Keep your expectations realistic when it comes to this charging time quote, especially if you picked up your AC adapter in a gas station convenience store for two dollars. Once you get it charged, this headset boasts a talk time of up to sixteen hours, a music playing duration of up to ten and a half hours, and a standby time of up to twenty-two and a half days.
Price

Price

Having been discontinued by LG, the HBS-910 Tone Infinim headset is only available through other retailers. On eBay there are pitches from $40-$100 depending upon the color and quality of the set being sold. On Amazon the number hovers somewhere between $100 and $130. There are also deals that can be found where you can obtain the headset, an AC adapter, and even in some cases a carrying case (with or without its own charging capabilities) for a higher price. Be sure to read reviews and make your decision carefully before buying, especially if you purchase a used pair. This particular headset seems to have a reputation for developing problems either mechanical or cosmetic right around the 12 month mark. Right around a year after purchase there were multiple mentions from users of one or both ear buds no longer functioning, leaving no sound to one or both ears. If that alone were not enough of an issue, the portion of the headset where one of the arms connects to the middle portion that loops behind the back of the neck would sometimes breaks, leaving you with two portions of a whole u-shaped headset. The third major mention of problems was more cosmetic but is no less a concern because it brings craftsmanship into question. Anywhere from six months to a year of ownership, some users reported the plastic coating as peeling away from the device. All of these factors are something that every potential buyer should consider before diving in and purchasing this particular model of headset – do you really want plastic coating flaking against your neck as you run? Or for the back and arm to separate in your hand as you try to put them around your neck in the morning? If you think these will serve you well, that those problems will not be a concern, then by all means purchase them, and maybe you will dodge these problems – after all not every user came out with the same result. Just know that, by being discontinued by the manufacturer, your options for a warranty are limited, if even offered at the time of purchase.
Key Features

Key Features

•Quad-layer speaker technology
•Harman Kardon Signature Sound
•Dual MEMS microphones
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Generally speaking if you purchase this item new, it will likely give you a year before problems begin to spring up, based on those issues reported by previous users. Being discontinued from the manufacturer, the odds of finding a new one are going to lessen more and more as time goes on, leaving you with an item of questionable lifespan left by the time it comes to you as a new owner. If it is your intent to buy this headset with the intention of using it until it breaks, running it into the ground and when it dies, so be it, then you are more than welcome to purchase them without further thought and if they last more than a year, congratulations. If you value longevity and durability and function when you purchase a piece of technological gear, then it is recommended that you take into serious account the pros and cons for this product and weigh them carefully against the pros and cons of similar devices on the market before purchasing. Some may question the validity of built in obsolescence in an electronic device of any kind these days, but others seem resigned to it, and feel lucky to get a year’s worth of work out of most pieces of gear in a world where new releases happen in about the same amount of time. If you find yourself needing a headset of retracting earbuds until a newer model releases a year from now, then this set is perfect for you, and if you happen to get more than a year out of them, more’s the better. For everyone else, a lifespan of twelve months on the outside with a roughly $100 price tag seems like a bit much to ask. If, however, a better deal could be found for a smaller price tag, then perhaps it might be worthwhile to get a year out of, say, a $50 headset. Shop the deals on this one, and if you do choose to buy this item, may it serve you for longer than its representational lifespan of a year, possibly a year and a half, before needing replacing.