Feature Friday: Bluetooth Stereo Headset

A month or so ago, my friend Jeff Epstein walked into a board meeting with these around his neck.

bluetooth stereo headset

He stopped next to me, took them off his neck, and said to me “these are life changing”.

I pulled out my phone, went to Amazon, and ordered a pair. I’ve been using them ever since. They are life changing.

It’s not like I haven’t used a Bluetooth headset before. I’ve had many. I’ve just never stuck with any before. I would keep going back to wired headphones.

But these LG stereo headphones just do it right. I like the feeling of buds in my ear. These replicate that feeling, but deliver it wirelessly.

The controls are placed perfectly on the device. When you slide the on switch, they tell you that the headset is on, the battery is high, and you are connected to your phone. You get similar information when you turn them off.

They are comfortable, the battery time is long, and the sound quality is great.

I use them in my office to do all my calls now. I put my Nexus5 in its wireless charger, and walk around my office with these on doing calls.

I use them on the subway to listen to my soundcloud feeds (another feature friday topic).

I use them to walk to and from work and make phone calls and listen to music.

It is amazing how something so simple can make a measurable improvement in my life. These have done it.

Now I just want the blinged out version with gold and diamonds 🙂


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    i just want the squashed flat version trimmed to a shape to fit stealthily under the collar of my shirt. the oversized tech version of a collar stiffener.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Something to fluff up your pecs?

      1. jason wright

        tgiff…fluffy friday

  2. Fernando Gutierrez

    Those look great, I may follow. I bought a pair of bluetooth headphones a few months ago because I read a post by @davewiner in which he said that for him they were a game changer. They haven’t been for me because the ones I bought were not very comfortable (I like that yours have standard earbuds), the battery was not great and the charger had a proprietary connector (btw, how does this one charge? I can’t see in Amazon… microusb?)Does the collar do any sound/vibration when your phone rings and the earbuds are stored?

  3. tedsan

    I agree. I’ve been using the entry level version of these and they’re wonderful. They get used for everything – breakfast podcasts, audio books while hiking and running, phone calls in the car and while doing chores and yard work. They’re comfortable and unobtrusive. Meanwhile, all those other earbuds, wired and wireless are cluttering up my desk drawers.

  4. jprs889

    Nice! Is LG removing the headphone jack on the next Nexus too?

  5. William Mougayar

    Nice. That’s exactly what I was looking for last week, and couldn’t decide. Ordering now.If we could cord-cut power cords, then that would be generation changing.

  6. Guesty McGuesterson

    Can they handle sweat? I want to listen while exercising.

    1. William Mougayar

      “Wear it at work, while you are shopping, at the park walking your dog, lounging at home, or working out at the gym. Because it’s water resistant, you can work out as hard as you want without worrying about breaking a sweat.”

      1. Guesty McGuesterson

        I have been burned by these sorts of claims from bluetooth headphone vendors three times already, so opinions from disinterested parties are valuable to me 🙂

        1. Matt Zagaja

          I haven’t tried them but as someone who sweats out oceans while working out, I did destroy two or three iPhones with armband cases until I gave up on that. I can vouch for my Bose earbuds which have survived for a few years now without any damage. They’re not wireless but more comfortable and better sound quality than any earbud I’ve used so far.

  7. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    This is very useful as I was also looking! Ordering one soon!

  8. sbmiller5

    I’ve been wondering what these were. I keep seeing middle age guys wearing them at Starbucks.

    1. jason wright

      hearing aid

      1. John McGrath

        Best worn with Google Glass.

    2. LE

      Oooh direct hit.Hah middle age to you is probably like 38 or 40, eh?

  9. JimHirshfield

    Do they have audio caller ID?

  10. btrautsc

    mannnn fred, that startup budget can’t have you pivot feature friday into cool product showcases..I just watched Her though – and I’m not sure I can buy anything until I have the blue tooth earbuds Joaquin is rocking.

    1. Twain Twain

      Me too, except the voice I’d hear would be Chris Pine not Scarlett.

  11. kenberger

    Yep, this product class is life changing. But I prefer the Plantronics Backbeat line.This one (pictured) is much more svelte:http://www.plantronics.com/…And for the gym, I’ve used this other model for almost 10 years. No wires dangling to get caught on things while lifting heavy weights:http://www.plantronics.com/…Also, the link you’re showing is not the latest version of that LG product (as stated on that page). Go back and buy the correct one ;)http://www.amazon.com/LG-El…

  12. Salt Shaker

    Sound may be great but stay away from electric fences!

  13. Robert Heiblim

    And they are making a model with activity and pulse tracking as well. Plantronics also has a good model similarly designed

  14. John Revay

    Perfect for Father day!

  15. Michael Makunas

    I have a pair of these. When I got them (about a year ago) the feature I really was interested in was being able to easily switch the connection back and forth from my phone to my Mac. Never quite worked well enough for me. I was always having to turn bluetooth on and off on my Mac or phone to get it to connect correctly. I still use them and think they are great when used with just a phone. Ended up reducing my need to switch by getting more people to use Hangouts.

  16. Jabinc

    I can’t wear ear buds. I love them, but they don’t really work for my ears when I am using them all day. I found the Kinivo over the ear bluetooth and love them. http://www.kinivo.com/Kiniv… I thought they would likely be poor quality because of the low price but have been extremely impressed, and they hang around the neck so nicely I often forget I have them with me. There is also a newer version I plan to try soon.Equally life changing for me as this headset is the stylus pen and action memo combination accessible from the lock screen for quick notes on my note 3. I got the new phone around the same time as the headphones. Both have added incredible value and efficiency to my life. This quick note feature has revolutionized my ability to capture ideas and funnel information into my organization system. Amazingly, as an added bonus, my messy handwriting is searchable in evernote.

  17. Joe Wallin

    That’s so funny Fred. I have been hooked on these headphones for a long time. Best set I’ve been able to find!

  18. kirklove

    You look like Rutger Hauer in “Wedlock” when you are wearing these. #oldschool-sci-fi!http://www.imdb.com/title/t

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      I know your joking but I’d bet Apple isn’ laughing !1- You can place a lot of functionality into that size profile.2- With enough utility/fashion-sense/hype they can be made comfortable enough to wear for extended periods of time while being slightly less nerd-ballish looking than GoogleGlass.3- Lots more room for battery/processor/sensor space than GoogleGlass affords.4- With voice-command and possible even a miniature projector you could have rudimentary control and even presentation functions.5- The voice/audio ratio to data/control/guidance opportunities may be more limited than with video but could prove to be a much better power/efficient trade-off while still being good enough for many of the “jobs to be done”.6- Could possibly incorporate a swing down/out video lens that activates/reteacts automatically as needed.7- Offer a better camouflaged video-camera with a better long-distace-parabolic-spy microphone :-)8- Possible slide down to become “Wedlock” like bling for comfortable storage and possibly perform other utility functions in that configuration.9- Potentially a complete replacement for the smartphone for many users/use cases.I can hear the Visa ads nowWHATS IN YOUR WALLET !becomesWHAT AROUND YOUR NECK !Apple new slogan ?When you hit that “Glass Ceiling”The “Beats” go on and on and on 🙂

    2. Guest

      Reminds me of ancient Gallic torc

  19. CJ

    Wow, even showing up here! I’ve had these recommended from no less than five sources over the last few months and haven’t bought them yet because I own these and they still work fine. But I might just have to splurge, I miss the bass response and sound isolation of ear buds.http://www.amazon.com/Creat

  20. RichardF

    I’ve been using a jabra clipper http://www.amazon.com/Jabra… for a while now. I like it because its really small and you can just plug your own headphones into it (it does come with them but they are pants!)

  21. Brett Bedevian

    Their is a company called Jaybird and their “bluebuds x” bluetooth headphones are even better! there is no neck piece, the battery life is above decent, and the sound is amazing. I highly recommend

    1. Vineeth Kariappa

      You name is not, Jeff Epstein.

      1. Brett Bedevian


  22. LE

    My version of the “They are life changing.” is custom fitted ear plugs. Use them every day. Comfortable and near total silence at night [1] (or during the day but for that I typically use “tarmac” ear muffs). [2]It would be possible for someone to combine audio with a custom ear plug.This is a total kickstarter project for anyone interested. (You’d still need to get them fitted of course so the kick starter would be for the mfg process which would receive orders from audiologists who are needed to fit them.)Custom ear plugs (fitted by an audiologist) are less than $100 and way more comfortable in your ears (and easier to put in) than any earplugs. So the cost of this product could be < $200 (and you would simply combine it with an existing bluetooth device).Advantage would be they go in much quicker and are much more comfortable (I hate standard earbuds I use over the ear always..)[1] (Make sure to use the ear lube and they slide right in super quickly..)[2] http://www.amazon.com/3M-Pe

    1. Dan

      Not sure I’m down with a night time ritual of applying ear lube…

    2. PeterisP

      Custom fitted in-ear audio is a well-estabilished product, no need to kickstart anything. They’re widely used by musicians, for example – google ‘in-ear monitor’ for that.

      1. LE

        A quick check shows that some of those products are really very expensive.Here is one that is $1800 that is custom fitted from an ear mold:http://www.bigearinc.com/al…Not taking any patents into account or any other market information (I don’t have time to check) I can assure you that a product like this can be made for much less money. It’s basically an ear mold (which I know can be done inexpensively) and then stuffing the electronics into that mold.Here are some cheaper ones:http://www.alienears.com/c/…With audiologist instructions:http://www.alienears.com/Co…Separately the marketing for all of this seems to be targeted toward musicians not toward middle or upper middle class simply wanting a more comfortable ear bud.(Thanks for pointing out what you did by the way…)

  23. MParekh

    Great post…am on constant quest for best wireless headphones. The HBS 700s are great. HBS 800 also worth a look, bit more, but have Google integration It’s Card 2 in https://flks.tk/PUz .

  24. Tracey Jackson

    Headphone hair…sucks.

  25. dineshn72

    I love these too, been using them for over a year now!! Only thing getting used to is your neck vibrating when you receive a call :-p and questions from curious people about what in the world they are. When I’m feeling snarky I will respond that it is my dog collar or my hearing-aid 😉

  26. Joe

    Hi Fred – I’ve had the same experience with them. There’s actually a new version that works about the same but has noise canceling & even better designed controls. The lg tone 800. I run a startup and bought a pair for everyone on my mgmt team who spends a lot of time on calls after they made fun on me for wearing them all the time! We look like a pack of robots when we go to happy hour with them all on but all love them.

  27. someone

    agreed. got my wife these for her birthday and she loves them. of course, there is the initial what-on-earth-is-this reaction. kudos LG for putting function over form.

  28. William Mougayar

    Fred, any reason why you didn’t pick the higher end model that’s $15 more, a bit lighter & supports Google voice commands?

    1. fredwilson

      Didn’t know about it

    2. Donna Brewington White

      The 800 model? $30 more on Amazon but I guess in the long run that’s not much more.

  29. IsaacP

    These are very nice, useful, and affordable. I was very happy with them until they broke after 3 months of use. No big deal, it happens. But LG’s customer service is atrocious to put it nicely.Basically,5+ phone calls3+ months of waitingNo -replacement -refund -return of original (broken) pairI finally just wrote them off.

  30. Vasudev Ram

    At one time I used to ride around on my bike with a Creative Muvo clipped to my belt, connected to a pair of Sony headphones. Listening to music while I rode.http://en.wikipedia.org/wik

    1. Vasudev Ram

      P.S. It doubled as a voice recorder, so I also used to record my thoughts and ideas on software projects I was working on, when I went on walks.

  31. Donna Brewington White

    I was pleasantly surprised at the price. And they come in white which will go great with my tan! 😉

  32. Jim Canto

    Those who know me think something is wrong if I don’t have these around my neck. I absolutely love them and am quick to jump on the opportunity to share my enthusiasm when I come across someone who expresses an interest.After trying so many other pairs…none of which were comfortable on me for long term listening (I stream music all day and most nights…yes SoundCloud ..but mainly Spotify Premium for offline playlist capability), I tried the HBS 700’s and quickly understood the genius in their design.The first thing I noticed was their smallest ear buds were actually quite comfortable in my ears..and would actually stay in. I love the fact that I can use a single bud and still hear everything around me as needed. The bud itself is extra light since the bulk of the product sits around your neck (obviously.) This design allows for amazing battery life. I have had music playing for 12+ continuous hours with these. And, the range on the 700’s was impressive….right up until I accidentally closed one of the ear buds in a car door.I replaced my 700’s with the 730 model (no idea the 800’s existed) which notched up the sound quality, but sacrificed the range. Note: I also moved from a SideKick 4G to Nexus 4 at the same time. And, I’m quite sure that was partly responsible for the loss of range as my Nexus 4 does receive the same strength cell signal as that SK4G did. Not sure if there is any relation between cell reception and blue tooth connection strength. I can only tell you what I’ve experienced.The only issue I’ve had is that many people have commented on excessive background noise during phone calls. That did not change from 700-730 or from SK4G to Nexus. And, luckily, these days I do not spend much time actually talking on my phone.Life Changing? Absolutely. For me, this headset gave me a great way to control my daily audio environment. They allow me to disconnect my “fix it” personality from the world around me. For me, that’s a huge benefit.I see them on more and more people these days. There’s a strange, but instant bond when you meet someone else wearing them. “We” know what’s up. :-)And, yes.. bring on the bling!

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Funny, I was about to hit 1-click (on the white pair) and decided to stop and read some reviews. Didn’t get very far before needing to attend to something but was seeing mixed reviews for the the 730 over the 700. Then wondered if I should just skip to the 800 — or just stick with the 700 waiting in my cart. Hey they’re good enough for Fred. 🙂 Was the sound difference that significant?

      1. Jim Canto

        I’m betting Fred has the 730…just based on timing. One way to know is the 700’s have a yellow cup where the ear buds park and the 730’s have silver. He’d have to tell us of course.If I remember, the jump in sound quality was noticeable. Though I was satisfied with the 700’s as well.The most noticeable difference for me was the range…assuming it was caused by the change in headset model and not the handset change. My connection gets spotty if I leave the room without my phone. I could roam around both floors of my house when I had the first unit.Personally, and since I currently have a Nexus 4 and am considering the 5 or Glxy Note 3, I find HBS 800 rather enticing.Hope that all helps. Either way, if you’ve never owned a pair, the design (any model) is life changing…for sure. They do so many things well. And the convenience factor is huge. They are always right there. And I can let them set under my shirt collar when I don’t want someone I’m meeting to be distracted by the device.Let me know which ones you end up getting.

  33. JJ Donovan

    I would think wearing headsets all day in lieu of an available speaker phone would contribute to long term hearing loss. If I am in my office, I prefer the speaker phone as opposed to hearing in one ear or in close proximity with ear buds.

  34. davidu

    One of the things that’s annoying about electronics from big manufacturers like LG is that there are like 5 models to pick from. The HBS 800, HBS 750, HBS 700, HBS 730.How the heck am I supposed to figure out the difference without wasting an hour of research time?

  35. Ben Spiegelman

    I have been messing around with BlueTooth headphones for over 5 years now. Below I listed my favorite Over the Ear and Earbud Bluetooth headphones.Sony DRBT50 Stereo Bluetooth HeadsetLINK: http://www.amazon.com/Sony-…COMMENT: An around the ear headphone that are incredible. Bluetooth always works, they sound incredible, and are comfortable. Great for studying!JayBird BlueBud XLINK: http://www.amazon.com/JayBi…COMMENT: My favorite ear buds yet. Fit securely and comfortable. Talk functions and quality are perfect for phone calls. Great for working out. Only negative is that they don’t stay charged for too long.

  36. markslater

    can you run with them on?

    1. fredwilson

      i think so

    2. someone

      I doubt it. I got some for Fathers day and tried biking with them (one earbud only), but the earbud kept loosening and even falling out. bass is dead when the bud is loose.also found that the connection cuts in & out when the phone is in my pocket. (could be a winphone-specific problem though…) when it’s lying on a charging plate on my desk all is well though. not sure I am sold yet…will give them a few more days. thanks for the recommendation though!

  37. Ciaran

    I realise that this just highlights how shallow I am but all I can think of when I read this is this man https://www.youtube.com/wat

  38. paulsethi

    Fred, I think your post has the Amazon price optimization algorithms overheating – short-term supply/demand has headset price jumping almost 100%! For those ready to sport white, selling well below list. =) http://www.amazon.com/gp/pr

  39. Leslie Barry

    Best tip ever! I picked up a set for $20 at DX.com in Hong Kong and got them in a week. No affiliation to them at all, just a customer. I was suspicious of the price but I’m using them now and they are the real deal. Thanks Fred.

  40. kenberger

    look more closely– not enough reviews (as of today) on the new one for that rating to really be statistically significant yet compared to old model. still too new. (100 reviews vs >5000)improvements include better speakers (JBL) and Google Voice commands built in.