— Mobile Technology
LG announces new Tone Ultra headphones
The around-the-neck design of the new LG Tone Ultra Bluetooth headphones
LG has stuck with the unique design of its original LG Tone Bluetooth headphones with its latest model, the LG Tone Ultra. Like its predecessor, the newly-announced model features an around-the-neck design but adds ambient noise reduction (ANC) technology to cut down on background noise when taking calls or listening to music.
The Tone Ultra's neckband is constructed from a "memory alloy" that LG says allows it to return to its original form no matter the treatment it receives. However, LG has refined the design with the ends of the neckband housing the electronics being slimmed down considerably and sporting a more rounded, flowing look.
The two earbuds that dangle from the neckband deliver what LG claims is "eyebrow-raising stereo sound." Whatever the effect on your facial hair, the headset connects via Bluetooth and supports the connection of two devices at once. Buttons for controlling music playback and answering calls are found at the ends of the neckband, which also houses a built in microphone.
LG didn't reveal pricing details, but says the Tone Ultra will be available in the US and China before the end of the month before rolling out in parts of Europe, Asia and the Middle East throughout December. It will be offered in white and black.
About the Author
Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.
All articles by Darren Quick
I've owned the previous two versions of this product the HBS-700 and HBS-730 (I think this is the HBS-800). The 700 was great for listening to audiobooks and making phone calls though the sound quality wasn't great for music. Eventually the cables on both sides started to wear showing the wires inside then shortly after they stopped working one at a time. I liked the 700 so much I decided to get the 730 to replace them as it had a host of new features including supposedly better sound and were reinforced where the 700's cables had failed.
I couldn't have been more disappointed. At first I thought they just got really terrible reception as my audiobooks would stutter and skip all the time. I started reading others reviews and users where having the same experience. I worked with LG to get an RMA which they said they would send me a form for in an email, an email I never got (yes I checked my SPAM filter for it). As I continued to use them I found it wasn't really a reception issue, the phone could be physically touching the headset and still the audio would cut in an out. This would not happen with either of my other two headsets.
Then I noticed this happened only with audiobooks and some more than others depending (and I know this sounds crazy) on the cadence of the reader performing the audiobook. The slower the reader's pace or the more he or she paused the worse the cutting in and out of the audio.
Here's what I think was happening, the device was not detecting any audio for brief periods as the reader paused and would stop streaming the audio then when it detected the stream had restarted couldn't start back up quickly enough. Based on that theory I did some testing and the problem does happen in between songs too, the beginning of a song is cut off after a pause between songs. This fit with the way the beginning of sentences seem to always get cut off in audiobooks.
Again I contacted LG and tried to explain but the person I chatted with wouldn't believe me and I got frustrated so now the HBS-730 are in a drawer until I decide to through them out some day... I will not be buying LG products again.
I like the idea but until they partner with a serious driver, it will be just another product, like the equally horrendous build quality, the Bose headsets.
We know who the serious audio makers are. Maybe LG can do something with it in the long term.
Hope this version is more exercise friendly because they don't do well in the sweatproof area but are otherwise a good buy. Now even better with the noise reduction making it a great buy I'm excited can't wait for the release
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