LG Tone Platinum [HBS-1100] 2018 Review | Is It Really an Upgrade?

LG recently released the LG Tone Platinum HBS -1100. If you are familiar with the LG Tone line of headphones, you might have heard contrasting opinions about their stylishness. A lot has been said about the Platinum HBS-1100 so I decided to see for myself and share my honest thoughts on these Bluetooth headphones. Another question that comes up a lot is how these compare to other LG Tone headphones and it’s really worth paying the premium price to newer high end around the neck headphones.

LG Tone Platinum | 2018 Review

LG Tone Platinum | Build and Design

LG Tone Platinum HBS-1100 Bluetooth Headset
LG Tone Platinum Box Contents and Packaging

As always, LG has done a great job of producing another attractive pair of headphones with the HBS-1100. These headphones are what you would call a “neckband” since you drape the the solid neck band around behind your neck. When this style of headphone first came out, a lot of users didn’t really like the heavy feeling on their necks but over the past few years, manufacturers have started using more lightweight materials and some of these are actually so light that they are quite comfortable to wear and the band is not really that noticeable.

The LG Tone Platinum is a good example of this. The HBS-1100 are very light (about 2 ounces), which is definitely a plus. They have a solid look and feel, and the exterior surface is an aluminum alloy trim with a nice, brushed finish. The contours are also really smooth and the design is sleek. These headphones come in a range of colors including black, silver, and gold.

Another cool design feature is the retractable earbuds. This is a design improvement that really sets them apart from some of the other behind the neck headphones on the market. You can easily pull them out a distance of about 5 inches, which is enough to reach any ears. The silicone tips are comfortable enough to use for listening to music for hours. It is important that you find the best fit for your own ears, so LG includes extra ear tips or gels in small and large sizes. To reel the earbuds back into the housing, simply press the buttons on the inner surface of the headphones.

For the controls, you can use both buttons and sliders to perform various functions. On the left side of the headphones you will find a button that performs the functions of activating voice commands. The same button is also used for answering and ending phone calls. Right above this button is a tiny slider for controlling the volume and also checking battery life. On the right side, you will discover the slider used for controlling playback like play, pause, etc.

I would say the build quality and design are above average. They bounce around a little bit when running, but that is something you would expect with a neckband design.

LG Tone Platinum | Connectivity

LG Tone Platinum HBS-1100 Bluetooth Headset Harman Kardon Wireless Stereo Headset with Car Charger, Ear Gels And RIM Y Wire (Certified Refurbished)
LG Tone Platinum

These headphones use Bluetooth 4.1. Just like all other LG Tone headphones, the HBS-1100 can only be connected to other devices using Bluetooth. Don’t worry, syncing to the headphones is easy and hassle-free.

After pairing a device, you may want to sync second one. To do this, press down the call button on the headphones immediately after you switch it on. The strength and range of the signal is an impressive 33 feet.

There is also the option of downloading LG’s “Talk and Tone” app, which works with both Apple and Android devices. This app can even assign shortcuts to the different buttons on the HBS-1100. By pressing a button, you can choose functions like listening to your most recent text messages. The headphones can also be set to vibrate when there is a new alert on your smartphone.

LG Tone Platinum | Sound Quality

Bluetooth generally isn’t the best way to enjoy your music compared to wired headphones. However, LG has gone out of their way to include some enhancements in the HBS-1100 to satisfy the taste of audiophiles. Read recent reviews by customers on Amazon.

These headphones are equipped with AptX HD Audio Codec to enhance wireless sound quality. I was also impressed by the balanced armature driver that is designed to generate greater detail with less distortion. This puts these headphones ahead typical dynamic driver headphones, and guarantees an optimal sound profile that performs well across different frequency ranges.

LG Tone Platinum HBS-1100 Bluetooth Headset Harman Kardon Wireless Stereo Headset with Car Charger, Ear Gels And RIM Y Wire (Certified Refurbished)
Close up shot of the LG Tone Platinum

The HBS-1100 comes with an integrated microphone that allows you to make calls. LG has endeavored to incorporate an active noise cancellation feature to prevent ambient noises from interfering with your phone conversations. However, this noise-cancellation feature works much better for calls than it does when listening to your favorite tunes.

On top of that, the mic seems to develop sound problems during phone conversations which is a huge letdown.

As far as sound quality, the bass is rich and punchy without too much lingering of the bass within the sound field.

The mids come across smooth and well balanced. Every headphone should have great mids because the vocals for your favorite songs usually lie in this frequency range.

The treble is slightly muffled, so keep that in mind if you want clarity in the higher frequencies.

Battery Life

LG Tone Platinum HBS -1100 headphones have an average battery life of 10 hours, and the standby time is about 17 days. If you are the type of person who listens to music all day, you will have to charge them more regularly. The charging time is relatively fast, typically between 1. 5 to 2 hours via a micro USB cable.

The Wrap Up

The LG Tone Platinum HBS-1100 headphones definitely have their highs and lows. The lower price point is a huge upgrade. The design and features are great, but the sound quality wasn’t as impressive as LG advertised.

Sure, they have the Harman/Kardon Signature Sound, as well as 24-bit music support, but the sound doesn’t seem come across and sound like an upgrade at all. There are still many issues that need to be resolved. You’ll just have to decide for yourself whether to stick with your current Tone headphones or go for the HBS-1100.

LG TONE Wearable Speaker and Headphone Combo

LG original LG TONE Studio (model HBS-W120) was released in 2016 and caught the presses attention for its sleek design as a new wearable speaker on the market. Since then LG has come out with new reiterations of the Tone Studio with the Platinum model being it’s most recent offering.

The LG Tone Studio gives you the best of the well known Tone earbuds combined with a 4 speaker around the neck personal wearable speaker. The real benefit of this unit is that you get a wearable speaker and headphones built into the same device. This made our list of wearable neck speakers to consider, if you’re thinking about buying a LG Tone, you may want to consider this one and compare to other options on the market, although as said- the main benefit (that’s lacking from competitor models is the dual function of a speaker and and earbuds since no other brand on the list has retractable earbuds incorporated like the LG offering.  If you are still interested, check out this short hands on video showing the LG Tone Studio in use

 

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