LG Tone HBS-700 Wireless Stereo Headset

OK, I have piles of headphones, Bluetooth, wired, earbuds, over the ear cans, and the junk ones from Apple. This week I felt it was time to explore the bluetooth realm again and started looking around for a new set. I have had a couple of Motorola units in the past – the S305 which are just OK – sort of bulky and awkward to wear, but with decent sound. The other Moto set I tried was the S10-HD “Rokr”, and this was complete junk. Don’t sweat while you work out or POW! You now own a $70 hunk of plastic. Many people have had the same issue – don’t go here.

So I found the HBS-700 on Amazon, from LG – a company I have been impressed with lately with other products. The review was pretty good, so I pulled the trigger and ordered a set. When the package came, I read through the packaging and was happy to see it even said “water resistant” – guess they did some research and it turns out, people work out with headphones on.

Setup was a breeze, it connected to my Samsung Nexus S Android phone in seconds without a pass, and I was ready to go. The sound is great, no hiss, and really nicely isolated with the ear-buds – which is a odd thing about this headset. The HBS-700 main device hangs around your neck, and wired, normal ear-buds are strung from it to your ears. At first I was leery that this setup would be good, but surprisingly it is the best I’ve had in a headphone solution. The best part of the head set is that there are no wires from your neck to your waist, where wired sets always get in the way. You hardly notice the unit around your neck, and you can easily run without them really being noticed.

The battery charges quickly, and I wore the unit for about 8 hours before I charged it, and the package says 10 hours listen/talk time. Call quality is great, the neck unit vibrates when a call comes in – which is nice if you don’t have the earbuds in. You can store the ear-buds in the end of the neck unit with their built-in magnets, which seems nice but the 6 inches of wire in the area for each bud still seems like it might catch on things, but has been pretty good so far in my week trial.

The controls are great with volume, FF, RW, Pause/Play and a phone button that brings up the voice recognition system for actions like “call Lisa Smith”. The power button is small and in a strange spot on the side, and after a week I still have to take it off and search for it. The device supports Bluetooth version 2.1+EDR (A2DP/AVRCP) and comes with a one year warranty.

I really like this headset, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good Bluetooth solution for their mobile device. The Android market even has a app called “BT Reader” that works with LG devices and reads your text messages to you when they arrive – still testing this out to see if it is as decent solution, but not expecting much – it doesn’t turn down the music as it reads them, and crashes now and then. Also, you have to manually press a button on the screen for it to read it – so not terribly impressed with it.


Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi Review

The day finally came where the price point and no need for a data plan device stars aligned and I found myself down at the local Costco picking up the Motorola Xoom – Wifi version.

The device was on the shelves 3/27/2011 (and not 3/26 – I stopped in and checked, just in case.)   As a bonus for using Costco, they throw in a free gel case, and dropped the MSRP from $599 to $589.  I got there pretty early, but from what I could tell only one other had been sold at that point.


The Good:

  • The build quality is amazing – super sturdy
  • The battery life is great (and it was even charged out of the box)
  • Honeycomb (Android 3.0) is polished and ready to contend with any tablet OS
  • The speed is great, makes my Nexus S seem slow (and it’s not…)
  • WiFi is great, even picked up my shoddy WiFi at work all day
  • Micro-SD slot!!  Stereo Speakers!! Decent Camera!  Flash!! Camera Flash!!
  • The Honeycomb built apps (like Gmail etc. are all so much better than the phone versions, with preview and all kinds of extras.
  • Mini-HDMI and USB
  • Tethering to my Nexus S was seamless

The Bad:

  • This thing is heavy – I thought the same of the original iPad – build quality/battery showing their head?
  • Apps – tablet specific apps are in the 50’s as I write this, not thousands like the iPad.  Also, a few apps simply don’t like the layout and hung.
  • Probably a setting, but new apps stick icons on your desktop
  • I find the power button on the back side to be in a weird spot
  • It has a proprietary charger, not the mini USB, so car charging is out for now

With the 90 day return policy I felt confident to pull the trigger on this Moto-offering, and I can tell you I haven’t been anything but pleased in the outcome.  I even ponied up and ordered the dock which comes tomorrow. All I can say is you have to get one of these.  If you have been waiting for the right moment to get in on the tablet bandwagon, now is the time, get yourself a Xoom.


Syma S107 Helicopter Review

OK, so is the 3rd time a charm?

I have this thing about flying helicopters around the office.  Mainly because of the fear I see in the eyes of co-workers, but probably also because the sign in the parking lot says “no weapons allowed” which keeps me from bringing in a nerf-zooka or something.  My flying skills are pretty much non-existent, which really adds to the fear thing, but has caused a great deal of damage to my first 2 office helicopters and probably a bit to the overall wear and tear in cube-land.  I’m not sure if you could rank it up there with Black Hawk Down or anything, but lets just say I’ve been a few rows over apologizing for errant copters that were hell bent on giving someone a new hairdo.

Enter the Syma S107 R/C Helicopter with Built-in Gyroscope Remote – Red.  

So I did a little research, thinking that there should be some technology out there that will compensate for my lack of skills.  (I know this to be true, as I get paid a decent salary for typing all day and can barely type.)  So there I sit, making sure my Friday afternoon passes with some degree of productiveness, and I find the Syma S107. Excellent reviews?  A freaking Gyroscope?  I’ve never clicked my Amazon Prime one click purchase button faster.

So 2 agonizing days go by and this giant box shows up on the porch.  OMG, I think.  Way too big for office antics.  This sucker is probably capable of some helivac covert op of the entire bagel cache that group next to mine is always flaunting.   I’m going BIG TIME now.  So I rip the box open and find, well, this little copter that is a bit bigger than the last two, but really just perfect for showing off in the palm of your hand.

But the real news here is that this thing just works!  Did I say Gyroscope?  I can control this little guy like it is an extension of my soul! (over doing it there) Left, Right, Up, Down, Forward, Back.  Everything works just as you would expect. So I paid roughly the same for the earlier helicopters (~$30) but this thing is like a Rolls Royce compared to the others, with an aluminum fuselage, bright cockpit, a flashing light, and the piece de resistance: USB charging.

I’ve already ordered backup blades (hey I know my limitations) but you will love this as much as I do.  The Syma S107 is about as much fun as you can have without getting thrown out by security on a Friday afternoon.