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LG-Bluetooth Hands-Free Car Kit

The Bullet Points: The LG Electronics HFB-500 Bluetooth Hands-free Car Kit is a mobile phone accessory that meets the requirements for hands-free operation of a mobile phone while driving.

What's in the Box: HFB-500 voice unit, car-mount carrier, 12V car charging adapter, 48 page multilingual user manual.

LG-Bluetooth

The Review: Out here in California, mobile phones are just about standard issue at birth these days. Everybody has one. And out here in California, nearly everybody drives with the steering wheel in one hand and a mobile phone in the other. Or did, anyway, until California passed a law prohibiting mobile phone use while driving unless it was operated by a hands-free device.

While the law is vague about what exactly qualifies as a hands-free device, the market has become flooded with devices that allow hands-free operation of mobile phones.

Even when not driving, I used bluetooth devices with my mobile phone because my calls tend to be lengthy technical support calls, and it's tiring holding the phone up to your ear that long. I've changed bluetooth accessories several times, as I've found shortcomings with many of them: inadequate volume, unsatisfactory audio quality, poor microphone sensitivity, too short battery life, didn't fit comfortably, or some other compromise.

Enter the LG HFB-500, a car kit clearly put together for use in a car. It comes with only two methods of charging; the 12V car charging adapter and a solar panel on the back. It is intended to be left in its window cradle in the car window, where the solar panel takes care of charging chores.

The HFB-500 is comparatively large, being larger than my slim-and-trim Nokia 6555 phone. In use, the HFB-500 is stone simple: it only has two buttons on its face, a small red power button and a large call button, easy to find without having to hunt for it. There are volume up and volume down buttons on either side of the device, and these are less accessible when the device is in its cradle. It's easier to set the device on the seat and use it from there. My phone supports voice tags for dialing, so normally the only interaction with the device is with the call button.

Voice quality is better than any other device that I've used. Reports from the other end tell me that the voice quality from my end is better, too. One of the positive indications of this is the 511 service for traffic conditions, which uses voice recognition to receive commands. The necessity of repeating myself is much less than any other device I've used.

Battery life is exceptional, lasting about twice as long as the talk time battery life of my phone. It fully recharges in about two hours, using either the car adapter or solar power. Since charging it initially, I've relied completely on solar power for recharging, which makes charging a no-brainer: you don't have to remember to recharge the device as long as it gets sunlight.

I don't leave the device in the car because I just feel that leaving electronic devices in the car in plain view invites a break-in. Bringing the device in the house, I began using it there too. There I found out that the HFB-500 has exceptional range; I can put it in my pocket while it's in use and walk and talk anywhere in the house without losing the signal, which is more than I can say for any other bluetooth device I've used.

I'm gonna be the last one to tell you to use your phone in the car, but I know some of you are gonna do it anyway. There are times when it's useful. If you must, then do yourself a favor and do it with the HFB-500. It's the least distracting of these devices I've ever used, and will simply make you safer. Highly recommended.

Product Information

LG Bluetooth Car KitLG Logo

Web price $99
LG Electronics
201 James Record Rd
Huntsville, Alabama 35813
www.lge.com/us/

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