LobeMan FM Radio Review

Product Requirements:
A local FM radio station

If you read Julie’s and my
CES trip
report, then by now you know about
LobeMan
, the product that came from out of nowhere and pleasantly surprised
me. No, I was definitely not in the market for an in-ear FM radio when
Scott Hynd, their Director of Marketing, gave me a sample. To be honest,
listening to the radio is not something I do very often. When I am at home, I
listen to streaming Sirius over the computer; when I am in my Mini, I listen to
Sirius over the stock radio. But there are times when FM radio has it’s place,
and I have been discovering them thanks to this little gizmo.

The LobeMan reminds me of an
BTE hearing aid, you know – the kind
that fit over the ear and into the canal. Unlike hearing aids of old, the
LobeMan receives incredibly clear FM radio transmissions instead of
conversations from the table across the room. Most likely responsible for the
clear signal is the 20" flexible wire antenna which hangs down from the body of
the device.

The unit measures 3" tall x 1.25" wide at the bottom. It is 0.6" thick and
weighs 0.5 ounces with battery. The body is comprised of two plastic panels, one
of which can be removed for changing the CR 2032 battery or customizing with a
different color plate. I was given panels consisting of the four primary colors,
so of course I have since removed the original silver plate and replaced it with
green. All available colors are shown
here.

My LobeMan came with a battery installed as well as a spare in the plastic
pocket hard case. I have used the device for about six hours off and on, and the
original battery is still going strong. I am not sure how long the battery life
will ultimately be, but so far so good.

See also:  ECOXGEAR EcoBoulder Bluetooth speaker review

If you are wondering about the overall feel of the device, well it’s not too
bad. Granted, it is made of plastic and weighs so little that it almost goes
without saying that it will feel cheap – and to a point it does. But then, my
LobeMan has managed to survive two drops from over six feet,
and it has kept right on working. So evidently it is a tough little
booger.

The earpiece itself is nothing special – a typical earbud design covered in a
light foam mesh that can slip on and off. I fully expected the bud to irritate
my ear within no time, but perhaps because of the way the device is supported by
the upper ear, there was no ache like I would typically associate with earpieces
of this design.

The LobeMan is simple to operate – its spine holds just three controls: the
slider from which you can choose Hi-Lo-Off, the reset button (which allows you
to start over from the beginning of the dial), and the Scan button.

To wear the LobeMan, you choose an ear and then turn the earpiece to match
the needed direction.

At this point, I switch the LobeMan to Lo. Then I place it over my ear,
hooking the earpiece into the bowl. Sliding the body of the LobeMan over the
back of my ear "locks" the receiver in place.


Graphical instructions are available
here

Once the LobeMan is on, tapping the bottom button advances to whatever
station I am looking for. The resulting sound is good – surprisingly good. And
while you are listening to the radio in one ear, your other ear is left exposed:
which means that you can still participate in conversations around you
without
yelling or removing your headphones. It also means that you are
still aware of sounds around you that you should be paying attention to – such
as cars when you are jogging.

See also:  The Sugr Cube Alexa enabled speaker has some sweet baked in features

That brings up one of the great uses for this gadget – exercising. If you
aren’t working out in an aerobics’ studio with its inherent thumping music, then
you are probably used to carrying some sort of radio, MP3 or CD device along to
help keep your pace and pass the time. Let’s face it though – it isn’t always
practical or desirable to carry a

$300+ iPod
when you want tunes.

Then there are other less expensive FM radio receivers, CD players and MP3
Players that attach with an earpiece, but you have to place that receiver
somewhere – whether in a pocket or on an arm-band. With the LobeMan, you have
the whole kit and caboodle securely placed on either ear. Plus there is the
peace of mind, knowing that if for some reason the LobeMan were to be stolen
from your gym bag or if you were to leave it somewhere, you won’t be out big
bucks.

I can also imagine using the LobeMan at a sporting event, if you are one of
those die-hard fans that likes to watch the game and listen to the radio
play-by-play.

The LobeMan FM Radio is a simple gadget that performs as advertised. While I
am not so sure about the "stylish"
claim, I will agree with everything else said on the main page of their site. If
you want a portable radio that won’t weigh you down, is tough, and won’t break
the bank if lost or stolen, then you should check out this product.   

The LobeMan FM Radio is available
here.

Price: $14.99

Pros:
Comfortably fits either ear
Stays put while you are active
Can be customized with colors

Cons:
None

 

Product Information

Price:14.99
Manufacturer:Lobe Man
Pros:
  • Comfortably fits either ear
  • Stays put while you are active
  • Can be customized with colors
Cons:
  • None
26 comments… add one
  • Judie January 23, 2004, 3:38 pm

    Post your comments here on the LobeMan FM Radio.

    http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/lobeman-review.html

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

  • gr8-wrx January 23, 2004, 8:24 pm

    Just curious, does the antenna ever get in the way?

    I like the concept, but am thinking also that the antenna might not look so cool. Any testing using it without the antenna? Does there seem to be a way to take it off without cutting?

  • trophyofgrace January 23, 2004, 9:03 pm

    I love this thing! It is going to replace my old cassette walkman for when I go to the Y. I wish it were available in stores though, I hate ordering things online (no cc)…

  • trophyofgrace January 23, 2004, 9:05 pm

    gr8- you could just put the antenna inside your shirt.
    Furthermore, why would you want to remove it? It is what gives the device great reception.

  • Cameron_Talley January 23, 2004, 9:45 pm

    Just a note: BTE (Behind the ear) hearing aids are not by any means “old” I wear two of them every day.

    BTE aids are more powerful than ITE (in the ear) aids; thus, many people with moderate to severe losses must wear them, or choose to wear them

    Furthermore, ITE aids are not practical for all people, espescially those who’s ears are still growing, or who have irritation problems.

    Nice review, just wanted to correct your viewpoint on this subject, which I am a little sensitive too! 🙂

  • Error94 January 23, 2004, 10:24 pm

    Judie,

    Thanks for the nice review! I’ve got two questions:

    1) When you turn the LobeMan off, does it reset back to the beginning of the dial, or does it remember the last tuned station?

    2) I know this is subjective, but to your ears what is the difference between low and high? Low for quiet indoor environments, high for outside with some traffic noise? Is high too loud?

    I really like the idea of this little radio. If only they had manged to put a few preset buttons on it (I could be very happy with three), it would be perfect. Having to listen to commercials because you are feeling like you’re stuck on a station can be a downer when you’re working out. I need the tunes! 😎

  • Judie January 23, 2004, 10:25 pm

    Cameron, you are totally correct, and I will amend the review. My mom wears ITE hearing aids, and has since the 90s. These are a relatively new thing for her, as she has had a degenerative hearing loss problem since she was a teen (she is 62, this year). She wore the over the ear style until the in-ear style she is wearing now became available for her moderate to severe hearing loss. I think when I was writing this, it was more from the perspective of she used to wear the BTE, until the ITE was avaiable, so that made the BTE “old.” I hope I didn’t offend you or anyone else, I certainly didn’t mean to. 🙂

    Regarding the antenna – I flick it over my shoulder. If you wear a bandanna or a sweatband as you work out, it tucks into this nicely.

    Judie :0)

  • Judie January 23, 2004, 10:39 pm

    Originally posted by Error94
    [B]
    1) When you turn the LobeMan off, does it reset back to the beginning of the dial, or does it remember the last tuned station?[/B]

    If you turn it off and turn it back on within a couple minutes or so, it will go back to the last station. If you turn it off and leave it for a couple hours, then it goes back to the beginning of the dial, and you have to hit the scan button. Or at least that has been my experience. This might be really inconvenient if you live somewhere with 600 stations, but I live where there are maybe 15 – so I am not complaining.

    Originally posted by Error94
    2) I know this is subjective, but to your ears what is the difference between low and high? Low for quiet indoor environments, high for outside with some traffic noise? Is high too loud?

    Exactly as you said – low is perfect for indoors and outside if it is quiet and you are walking. High is great for noisier environments. High is not too loud, but it is uncomfortable to my ears when inside. It might be good for someone with hearing loss, though.

    Originally posted by Error94
    If only they had manged to put a few preset buttons on it (I could be very happy with three), it would be perfect.

    I agree that presets would be great – maybe in the next version. 🙂

  • Cameron_Talley January 23, 2004, 11:40 pm

    No harm done; just wanted to set the record straight! 🙂

  • isobutane January 24, 2004, 2:24 am

    Does the Lobeman work with someone who wears glasses? Do the glasses get in the way of a proper fit over the ear for the Lobeman? Is it a comfortable combination? Thanks.

    Mark:eek:

  • Judie January 24, 2004, 2:29 am

    I tried the Lobeman on with sunglasses (sorry, ever since lasix, I haven’t needed my specs anymore), and it is doable. Granted, my sunglasses have thicker arms than the average eyeglasses, so this would probably work even better with thin armed specs.

  • isobutane January 24, 2004, 2:31 am

    I wear wireframe glasses, so it would probably work. Thanks! For $17 (including whipping), it’s pretty much a no-brainer. 🙂

    Mark

  • isobutane January 24, 2004, 2:32 am

    Of course. Freudian slip? Perish the thought.

    Mark

  • omido January 24, 2004, 1:00 pm

    Has anyone try it with an ipod + itrip ? it may be nice, the big ipod in the bag and no wire 🙂

  • neps January 29, 2004, 3:52 pm

    While a good thought, I would think that the iTrip – LobeMan combo wouldn’t be successful. You can’t even really see what channel you are on the LobeMan and you would have to manually adjust the iTrip for each and every station to try and guess which station the LobeMan is tuned to. The setup sounds like a nightmare, but once you get it going, it may work. Perhaps another FM transmitter for the iPod such as Belkin’s where you can easily switch between different bands, may be a better option, but then again it has more bulk.

    Nice Review btw!

  • karmannghia January 29, 2004, 10:07 pm

    How is the reception?? I find a lot of the workout FM radios have really poor reception, ie Philips Nike PSA FM Radio. The concept of the Lobeman sounds great.

    Also, how well does the unit stay in place when moving around?? Would it constantly move when on a treadmill?? Thanks.

  • Judie January 29, 2004, 10:14 pm

    ghia,

    The LobeMan’s reception is the best that I have ever received on a portable – perhaps because the antenna is so long.

    It stays in place when you move vigerously. Perhaps an hour of jump rope might dislodge it; but otherwise, I think it will stay in place.

    Judie :0)

  • karmannghia January 29, 2004, 10:21 pm

    Thanks. I think I just might try it out.

  • LMM January 30, 2004, 5:49 pm

    Originally posted by neps
    While a good thought, I would think that the iTrip – LobeMan combo wouldn’t be successful. You can’t even really see what channel you are on the LobeMan and you would have to manually adjust the iTrip for each and every station to try and guess which station the LobeMan is tuned to.

    (Hi, I’m one of the creators of the LobeMan.)

    With the iTrip, you would set it to transmit on 88.1 or 88.3 for example, and then with the LobeMan, you would hit the [reset] button, and then the [scan] button. The LobeMan will pick up the signal as the first station on the radio band.

    Because of the way FM transmission/reception works, the signal from the iTrip will overpower any other FM stations that may be transmitting in the area on those low bands. So, you leave the iPod in your bag, slip on the LobeMan, and voila.

    Best,
    Michael Schwartz

  • Schorschi February 19, 2005, 5:16 am

    LMM wrote:

    (Hi, I’m one of the creators of the LobeMan.)

    With the iTrip, you would set it to transmit on 88.1 or 88.3 for example, and then with the LobeMan, you would hit the [reset] button, and then the [scan] button. The LobeMan will pick up the signal as the first station on the radio band.

    Because of the way FM transmission/reception works, the signal from the iTrip will overpower any other FM stations that may be transmitting in the area on those low bands. So, you leave the iPod in your bag, slip on the LobeMan, and voila.

    Best,
    Michael Schwartz

    I had this idea. Wouldn’t it be a market niche to make an ear radio with a channel switch to tune in to just one channel of a stereo radio signal? That way you could buy two ear radios, tune in to the same station, set one to the right stereo channel, the other to the left and enjoy a stereo program.

    Georg

  • SeanB February 23, 2006, 4:47 am

    I wanted to mention that the LobeMan is a perfect companion to anybody with children who enjoys listening to Howard Stern on Sirius. I cannot listen to Stern’s new show out loud with three young children running around the house in the morning, until now.

    My Sirius Radio has a built-in FM transmitter that emits a powerful enough signal to reach my entire 3-story home, including my front yard. Tune your LobeMan to the same frequency you set your satellite radio and enjoy Stern without having to worry about kids overhearing words or topics that are not appropriate for them.

  • Judie February 23, 2006, 2:34 pm

    Sean, that’s clever! I would have never thought of using the Lobeman to pick up an FM signal from Sirius or XM. :0)

  • 901 September 19, 2007, 7:38 am

    Is LobeMan still Mfg? I would like to get Lobeman in a pc programable one channel or freq. locked after scanning to desired freq. model. For use at school sporting events. Anybody have any ideas? 🙂

  • Julie September 19, 2007, 11:04 am

    I just emailed the only contact I had at the company and asked them to respond to your question. Hopefully they are still in business 🙂

  • Dan Harding May 30, 2014, 6:41 pm

    Hi does this work in England ? The only reason I ask is coz the prices are in dollars .

  • Judy Baquie June 28, 2015, 3:36 pm

    Can I still purchase a Lobeman?

Leave a Comment