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Lifewire / Erika Rawes
Stays in ear
Comes with multiple accessories
Includes a travel case
Narrow ear hooks
Average noise cancellation
Mediocre music play
The New Bee LC-B41 offers a lot of functionality and accessories for a very small price tag.
When you're at the gym taking phone calls for work, or even when you’re running around the house, a Bluetooth headset like the New Bee LC-41 can help simplify your life. Instead of holding your phone in your hand or up to your ear, you can have conversations, listen to music, and control your phone’s audio functions hands-free. And, unlike when you’re using a speaker phone, you won’t disturb others around you. I tested the super-affordable New Bee LC-41 for a week to see if it’s design, comfort, sound, and features render it a worthy contender as a budget Bluetooth headset.
The New Bee is relatively small, measuring a little over two inches in length and about 0.6 inches wide. It comes in three different colors: black, white, or gold. The exterior finish is glossy, and it has silver trim that gets thicker at the rounded off bottom portion of the headset. Overall, this headset looks more like a typical electronic device than some of the other units I’ve tested.
There are three hard button controls on the New Bee, which are ideally located for the easiest possible access. On one side sits a physical on and off slider switch, and the other side has a volume control switch. The brand name “New Bee” is printed along the front of the glossy surface, and you press on the front glossy surface of the headset to answer and end calls. Since the call button is so large, it’s easier to answer a call while you’re performing other tasks.
The New Bee LC-41 is lightweight and comfortable to wear for long time periods, but it’s more comfortable without the addition of the ear hook. If you’re not partaking in heavy activity, the New Bee stays in the ear pretty well, but if you’re going to the gym or going for a run, you’ll want the added support of the ear hook.
Music playback is by no means comparable to a high-quality pair of earbuds.
The ear cushions are soft and comfortable, and they don’t feel “forced.” Each ear cushion has a loop that helps it stay in the ear, but the loop is flexible, so it doesn’t push against the curves in your ear.
The New Bee features HD voice and CVC (clear voice capture) 6.0 noise cancellation. The call quality on the Bluetooth headset is good overall, but I could hear a slight buzzing sound when I turned the headset on full volume. In spite of the slight buzzing and the fact that the microphone sits far away from the mouth when wearing the New Bee, the caller on the other end of the line could still hear my speech clearly through the microphone. I had no issues hearing the caller through the speaker either.
Surprisingly, when I added the corded earbud, the call sounded even clearer. Perhaps this is because the shape of the ear cushion on the corded earbud allows for a more direct sound path into the ear canal.
When listening to music on the New Bee, it played more clearly on lower volumes and produced a slight amount of static on the highest volume levels. The music playback is by no means comparable to a high-quality pair of earbuds designed for music, like Bose SoundSport wireless earbuds, but I could still enjoy the music on the New Bee headset without disturbing those around me.
The New Bee headset is compatible with several different devices, including Apple and Android phones, tablets, laptops, MP3 players, and other Bluetooth-enabled devices.
One of the best features about the New Bee, aside from its lengthy battery life, is that the package includes plenty of accessories. In addition to a portable carrying case, you get two extra ear hooks and three extra ergonomic ear cushions (small, medium, and large sizes). You can wear the New Bee with or without an ear hook; if you opt for the New Bee in the black color, it comes with both clear or black hook colors. The gold and white New Bees only come with clear hooks though.
You also get a wired ear bud, which you can plug into the top of the New Bee, and then place into your ear. This lets you extend the distance between the New Bee’s microphone and speaker. The package even includes two ear plugs, so you can block out noise in your opposite ear as you listen to music or take a call.
New Bee features HD voice and CVC (clear voice capture) 6.0 noise cancellation.
The price tag is insanely affordable. You can buy the New Bee LC-41 headset for around $17, which is an excellent value considering the battery life and all of the included accessories.
The Jabra Steel headset costs around four times the price of the New Bee, and it offers some advantages like water, shock, and dust resistance. The Jabra is designed for those who need a durable, rugged headset for the outdoors, and it comes with a five-year limited warranty.
The New Bee, on the other hand, is more of an everyday person’s headset, providing several customization accessories and an entry-level price. Both headsets feature noise cancellation, but the Jabra’s noise cancellation is superior, as the Jabra Steel has two microphones to help it pick up speech and drown out background noises.
One of the better entry-level Bluetooth headsets.
The New Bee LC-41 isn’t perfect, but because it offers so much for so little, most people will be happy with the device.