Product Review: LG Behind-The-Neck Stereo Bluetooth Headset (HBS-700)

LG Behind-The-Neck Stereo Bluetooth Headset w/ Music Streaming/ Call Waiting Support (HBS-700)
LG Behind-The-Neck Stereo Bluetooth Headset w/ Music Streaming/ Call Waiting Support (HBS-700)

During my Thanksgiving break, I ordered a new Bluetooth headset.  I desperately wanted to assuage my boredom while walking Apollo during the evenings, and if I could listen to music or, even better, audiobooks, I thought it would encourage me to walk longer and get more exercise.  Earlier in November, I took advantage of a sale NewEgg had on headsets, but that first pair went over my head and made my ears extremely uncomfortable.  My daughter liked them, so I sent them south to her as a pseudo-Chirstmas gift.  That first headset had superior sound for music listening, but I couldn’t overcome the ear cartilage torture side-effect.

I’ve had the second LG headset for nearly a month now and I wear it daily.  Most of the time, I can’t even tell I have it around my neck.  The LG Behind-the-Neck headset is very lightweight and the actual ear buds are nicely unobtrusive.  I often wear my sunglasses and a scarf without hampering their usefulness or tangling them up.  One of the niftiest features of the headset are the magnetic receptacles for the ear buds.  When I remove them from my ear canal and lay them against my body, they will often snap back to their ‘home’ spot.

LG Behind-The-Neck Stereo Bluetooth Headset w/ Music Streaming/ Call Waiting Support (HBS-700)
LG Behind-The-Neck Stereo Bluetooth Headset w/ Music Streaming/ Call Waiting Support (HBS-700)

If I’m listening to an audiobook, which I do quite frequently since acquiring this headset, and I receive a phone call, the headset vibrates on my neck and plays a ring tone in my ear (I always have my phone on silent/vibrate).  It automatically pauses my audiobook when I click the answer call button found on the left hand nacelle.  When I finish with the call, my audiobook automatically resumes.

The battery life is purported to be ten hours of talk or music listening time.  I have only run the battery down once.  As a rule, I charge it overnight every two or three days.  The range is about thirty feet, so I can leave my phone in the center of the main floor and have good coverage for most of the house.  The power switch is simple, and I do love simple designs.  Simple works.  No holding a button down for a certain number of seconds.  Just slide the switch to either ‘On’ or ‘Off.’

Pairing with a Bluetooth device is also exceptionally easy.  No need to hold a button down for another second/different designated number of seconds.  Once the headset is on, it connects to my cell phone.  No muss, no fuss.  Again, simple works.

The price was right as well.  In fact, if you want your own pair of LG Behind-The-Neck Stereo Bluetooth Headset w/ Music Streaming/ Call Waiting Support (HBS-700), you can still get them (as of December 29, 2012) for the same price I did:  $39.99 (including free shipping).  My husband liked them so much, I bought him his own pair a couple of weeks ago.

Rolling Back the Odometer

As I sit here sipping a freshly brewed cup of Irish Blend tea, I wrote my final monthly fare payment check for the year 2012.  I reviewed my statement from the Advantage Vanpool program at KCATA and decided to run the numbers and see if another year of not driving my personal automobile to work was worth it.

The Pros:

My total outlay for 2012 in fares came to $1,686.  It should have been less, but 7/12 of this year the van had five riders instead of six, so the fare increased slightly those months.  I hope next year the van will remain fully occupied so I can look forward to only spending $1,536 annually on my work commute.  Either way, I’m sure I did better than most people who live in Leavenworth or Lansing and work in Kansas City.  Most of them probably have car payments (I don’t), higher insurance rates (not needed since I don’t drive my personal automobiles much), routine maintenance (oil, tires, etc.) and fuel costs.

By participating in the vanpool this year, I did NOT put 15,000 miles on my personal automobile.

Had I driven myself to work, alone, in either of my cars (which both require premium grade gasoline), I would have spent a minimum of $2,000.00 on fuel alone (visit AAA’s Fuel Guage Report site for my tidbits about the cost of gasoline).  My insurance would have risen to reflect the additional risk of subjecting myself to rush hour traffic.  I would have had to change my oil at least twice, possibly three times (this is a matter of debate in our household because we use only expensive synthetic oil and filters which are supposed to allow you to change your oil less frequently).  I wouldn’t have had to buy new tires, since we did that last year, but I would have used up a significant portion of the tread life of said tires.

The Cons:

I only have a couple of negatives, and I consider them small ones compared to the overwhelming positives I experience from the vanpool.  The most obvious one happens to be the extended commute time.  On average I spend an extra thirty minutes per day in the van as opposed to what I would spend if I drove myself.  Totaled for the year, that comes to 120 hours or about five days.

Driving daily, instead of riding, comes in as my second downside.  When I joined the vanpool a couple of years ago, I didn’t mind the extra time, because I could read, listen to music or just plain sleep while someone else got me to work and dealt with all the stressful traffic or inclement weather.  For the last year (14 months actually), I’ve been the primary driver for the vanpool.  I am thankful, though, that weather, thanks to the worst drought in decades, has been a non-entity until very recently (see companion post at the van’s blog).

Rolling Forward

Despite these slight bumps on the road to transportation redemption, I look forward to many more months, dare I say years, of smooth driving and my quest to preserve the planet … one van at a time.