I have been on the hunt for a while to replace my old Motorola S-10 Bluetooth headset. I have seen more and more people in the gym and other places with a new sort of Bluetooth headset that sat around your neck. It looked interested, so I went to the store and picked up the entry level LG Tone Pro and decided to give it a try. Here is what I found.
As I mentioned, the design of the LG Tone Pro seems a bit odd when you first see it, looking like a solid plastic collar around your neck with a couple of wired earbuds on each end. The earbuds are magnetized, so they sit nicely on the end of the neck collar part when not in use. Higher end models have a retractable cord which the Pro version does not, but while I did not find it a big issue, it did get annoying as the wire felt like it got snagged on my collar or my shirt, hair, etc. I am sure in more time I would probably get used to it and how it sits, but some may find that annoying. The neckband is otherwise so light that you can forget that you have it on. On the right side of the neckband you have buttons for play/pause, fast forward and rewind, while on the left you have the on/off switch, volume controls, and the answer call button. All, but the on/off are easily accessible while wearing the neckband and are intuitive enough that the learning curve is minimal. The earbuds themselves are marshmallow designed soft rubber, which is not my favorite style of earpiece, especially while exercising/running as I do not find they stay in place very well for me, and sweat can sometimes be an issue. But not everyone shares these issues, so you would have to decide if this sort of earpiece design works for you. Overall, this is a great design, and the type that makes you wonder why nobody thought of this long ago.
The Tone Pro does all the things you would expect in playing music, answering/ending or even rejecting calls. It also has last number redial and auto reconnect. Through the Bluetooth it will actually play whatever ringtone you have on your phone rather than some generic built in ring. The neckband will vibrate when you have an incoming call or text, and has the ability through the companion software to read you text messages to you as they arrive. The Tone Pro also has multi-point capabilities, however when you connect more than one device, you lose the ability to stream music to it, which is an odd choice for a device that is primarily designed for music purposes. For what is now an entry level headset, the feature set is quite impressive.
This is where the wheels started to come off for the Tone Pro. The design was thoughtful and well designed, the feature set impressive, but in real world use, it was less than spectacular, and maybe it is because it LOOKED like it should be awesome, that made the letdown of the performance seem pretty dramatic. Music streaming was generally, OK, but would seem to periodically break up and sound like a device that was going out of range, despite the fact that my phone was strapped to my arm, literally inches from device. Call quality inbound was pretty good to average with only occasional hissing, however, outbound, in all but the quietest of settings, was poor, with the person on the other end reporting that the call was coming across loud enough but constantly garbled or machine like in quality. My guess would be the noise cancellation was simply not good enough.
If you want a relatively inexpensive Bluetooth option to listen to music, and only view the phone options as “bonus” that you are not going to rely on regularly and/or anywhere that is not absolutely silent, then LG Tone Pro 2 will work. The design and comfort of this makes it a pleasure to use, and since LG now has newer high end models, the price is much cheaper than many similar types of devices. But if it quality you are looking for, and something that you can use the phone option for on a regular basis, particularly where you will rely on the noise cancellation, then you should probably look elsewhere.