A Bluetooth headset or a handsfree car kit is a necessity nowadays if you want to make phone calls while driving, and the LG HFB-500 looks to be a simple but cost-effective means to that particular end. It allows you to lawfully make and receive phone calls on the move, with the added benefit of solar charging.
The device itself is very small and minimalist in design (around the size of your average mobile phone), with one single button on the front and volume buttons to the left and right. It comes with a clear plastic case adorned with suction pads, allowing it to be stuck to your windscreen.
This case is important in a couple of ways. Firstly it allows you to remove the speaker while parked, so that thieves don’t spot it, but more importantly it allows the driver to charge the device using solar rays hitting the windscreen while the car is moving. It also gives you the freedom to place the HBF-500 in an optimum position for listening and speaking.
You can charge it using the cigarette lighter, but testing showed that the sun from an everyday glum English day was perfectly adequate to keep the HFB-500 charged for use.
Pairing the device with a mobile phone caused no problems (you can connect to two devices), but the sounds that came from the speaker sounded slightly robotic and metallic- but perfectly acceptable when it came to listening to people during an average drive. However, there was a bit of background noise, but nothing that seriously affected how intelligible peoples’ voices were.
Using presses of the main button, you can switch between various modes, such as voice dialling and redial. You can activate the mute option using the volume keys on the side.
The voice dialling feature was useful, but a little hit and miss. It recognised the names of some contacts perfectly well, but wouldn’t connect to others, no matter how we pronounced their names. Although this isn’t a deal breaker, it was nevertheless an annoyance.
If you’re looking for cheap Bluetooth handsfree car kit that doesn’t lumber you with the chore of charging, this is a very good option. It’s nice to look at and very effective at the job it needs to do.
LG HFB-500 Handsfree Info
Typical price: £30
Minimalist and stylish
Voice dialling is unreliable
Verdict: An affordable no-frills device that does the speaking-while-driving job very well, while at the same time charging itself using the everyday British sun, or even in spite of a lack of it
More info: LG Website