LG Tone Ultra Plus (HBS-820S) Review Facts
LG Electronics has been around since 1958 when it was founded post-Korean War in order to provide the rebuilding nation with domestically made electronics and appliances. In the late 70’s, the company began to export their products to the United States, banking $100 million in sales in its first year. That revenue would be roughly $383 million in 2018 money – quite a feat for a relatively small company at the time. Today the company still manufactures all different types of electronics and appliances, being ahead of the curve in many cases when it comes to technology.
Today we’re going to take a look at the LG Tone Ultra Plus (HBS-820S) headset. This product features Bluetooth 4.1 for flawless streaming from your compatible devices, earbuds that retract, one-touch volume control and passive noise cancellation at a fairly low price point in comparison to other available products on the market today. But does this low price mean that you’re getting a subpar product? Let’s take a deeper dive and see what the Tone Ultra Plus (HBS-820S) has to offer consumers.
This headset is not designed to be worn during high impact or strenuous activities. Some users were disheartened to find that these were not adequate running headphones, but they’re not marketed as such. The neckband will bounce if you’re running while wearing these and the earbuds will, in most cases, come out of your ears because of the jarring motion. These are meant to be worn at work, around the home or during your long commutes. They don’t offer any support in terms of water-resistance so choosing to wear these during a sweaty workout is a risk on your part.
features an in-line microphone that allows users to take hands-free calls, perfect for those folks who have a long commute to work everyday or for those who prefer to not be tangled up by phone cords or be on the receiving end of a neck kink thanks to cordless phones. While the microphone quality may not be the best, it should be noted that being aware of where the mic is located on your headset can truly make a difference. We go more in depth on this in the ‘Sound Quality’ section of our review, but it’s worth noting here that many of the complaints we came across in regards to microphone quality could be resolved by adjusting a shirt collar to make sure the mic isn’t covered.
The LG Tone Ultra Plus headphones feature simple ‘jog’ buttons which make controlling your music and volume levels extremely easy. These jog controls are intuitive and much less likely to be accidentally activated, making these headphones
much less frustrating to use than some other options on the market. The jog switch provides users with a one-touch method of accessing both volume and music controls. Users loved being able to access the volume control right on the headset and also praised the ability to change the song that way as well.
The earbuds extend to give users a customized fit while the silicone foam gel that they are made from help to cancel out some of the interfering sounds one might encounter while listening to music or taking calls. The earbuds are also retractable which provides users with simple wire management (no more tangles!). While it should be noted that these are not labeled as noise-canceling headphones
, they do assist in noise isolation while minimizing some of the distracting background noises. If you’re on the hunt for a solid pair of noise-canceling headphones, you’d be better off to try something like the Bose QualityComfort 35, which provides users with a fantastic noise-canceling experience (at a high-end price point, to be sure).
The LG Tone Ultra Plus seems to have sound quality going for them, at least. The Quad-Layer Speaker Technology featured here gives users enhanced bass and mid-range tones while boosting the overall sound quality. These headphones also feature JBL Signature Sound which can be described as providing a big, dynamic and in-your-face sound. This headset is marketed as a “passive noise canceling” option. This simply means that due to the shape of the earbuds and how they fit into your ears, they will allow for some of the background noise to be silenced. This is compared to an “active noise canceling” product, where the headphones rely on internal circuitry that requires power to cancel out the outside noise. Despite not being marketed specifically as a noise-canceling headphone, the sound isolation from the Tone Ultra Plus headset is fair enough when the earpieces fit properly.
This headset doesn’t seem to fair too well when it comes to taking calls, however. We touch more on this in the ‘Connectivity’ section of our review, but it bears mentioning here as well. The microphone is simply subpar in comparison to other similar options available today. The microphone can easily be blocked by clothing and users found that this causes the sound to be muffled to the people you’re speaking with on the phone. This could be easily remedied by the company by choosing a better placement of the microphone or by the users by just being aware of where their clothing is when they’re on the phone. It does seem to pick up a lot of ambient noise as well. All-in-all, this headset might not be the best option for folks who are searching for a quality microphone.
These headphones are Bluetooth compatible. The operating range is 33 feet, though through our research we found that wasn’t necessarily the case for some users. There were numerous complaints about the range of the Bluetooth, though it seems that it is easy enough to actually connect to Bluetooth.
A common complaint from users was that they experienced a lot of interruptions when using this headset
for phone calls. The calls would drop or they’d need to pause their conversation to reconnect the call back to the earphone. Some users commented that they couldn’t answer calls at all or that the person they’re on the call with couldn’t actually hear them. The call quality was frequently referred to as ‘poor.’ If you’re hoping to purchase a pair of these to use for taking calls, you may want to look elsewhere.
This is where the LG Tone Ultra Plus headset really shines. They are very light and comfortable and many users found that it’s easy to forget you’re even wearing them around your neck at all. The earbuds come in two different sizes so it’s easy to choose a size that fits your needs.
When it comes to wearing this headset during physical activity, the comfort level really takes a sharp drop. Most users who chose to wear these during jogs or other strenuous activities found that the jarring motion of running causes the earbuds to pull out and the headset to bounce uncomfortably on the neck.
The LG Tone Ultra Plus headset features an around-the-neck style that is both extremely comfortable for users and lightweight as well. This is a huge plus for this product because nothing is as annoying as knowing you’re wearing headphones
, feeling that heaviness on the back of your neck all day. This headset comes in one of two colors – black or navy. One of the common complaints about the Tone Ultra Plus headset was that the earbuds don’t like to stay inside, despite there being different size options for the buds. This is especially true if you’re being physically active while wearing this headset. Despite featuring an earbud style, the Tone Ultra Plus headset was not made for running or strenuous activities.
The right arm of this headset is where the music playback controls are. Users will find the play/pause button and the slider that can change songs on this side. The left arm has the call answer button as well as the volume control. The USB port for charging is found on this side of the headset as well as the power switch and microphone.
The retractable table earbuds are attached to a dangerously thin 10-inch wire. Users should take care not to tug too hard on these when retracting them to help prolong the life of the wires. You should find that the cord is long enough to fit the earbuds into your ears with no problem
Another common complaint about regarding the LG Tone Ultra Plus is that it seems to be a relatively fragile product. Many reviews commented that the plastic the headphones are made of breaks too quickly and easily. The ultra-thin cords seem to be too thin as well, making them susceptible to breaking. Because the cords aren’t waterproof, either, it was mentioned in many reviews that the headphones shorted out when they were worn during particularly sweaty workouts
Ease of Use
If there is one thing that these headphones have going for them, it’s that they’re incredibly easy and intuitive to use. Because they’re not as high tech as other similar products currently available on the market, the LG Tone Ultra Plus headphones
are extremely easy to set up as well. On the downside, however, while they’re easy enough to use, many users found that they weren’t able to use this product for the activities they purchased them for. The headphones aren’t waterproof so users who were hoping to wear these during their sweaty runs and workouts were sad to learn that doing so often left them with shorted out headphones.
Here is another arena where the LG Tone Ultra Plus really is able to shine. The headset features a rechargeable battery
that should last up to 14.5 hours of continuous use or else around 720 hours on standby mode. Users of this headset praised its long-lasting battery life. It takes less than two hours to get this product back up to a full charge.
The LG Tone Ultra Plus retails at an MSRP of $99.00. While this is a relatively low price in comparison to what modern headphones are selling for, one must look at the features provided, or in this case, features lacking, in order to decide whether or not the price appropriately reflect the value present. Consumers can expect to pay below the retail price for these headphones
when searching through some online retailers like Amazon. We saw them listed there as low as $83.00, which would still be a bit of an investment for what you’re receiving.
-Available in two colors – black or navy
-Earbuds are retractable
-Up to 13 hours of music playback
-33’ operating range
-Text message reader
Here at RunnerClick, we always strive to provide our readers with the most up-to-date and honest information in our product reviews. Being true to the theme of honesty, then, we have to say that we don’t think that the LG Tone Ultra Plus (HBS-820S) headset is that great of a product. While LG is universally accepted as a high-quality brand, we think that there are better products from them available.