The LG Tone Free HBS-FN6 is a new set of true wireless earphones from household and consumer electronics brand LG. The earphones have one trick up their sleeve that seems to be a real bonus given we live in a pandemic, and people are ever more obsessed about hygiene.
They claim to use UV light to disinfect the earphones inside the charging case. I’m going to tell you why this is a cheap gimmick and a dirty way of selling you a product, yet at the same time, I am going to make a case for why they are still a solid earphone.
Pricing and Purchasing Information
The LG Tone Free are available to buy both online and instore. Please feel free to click the link below to view current price at selected vendors.
Why you shouldn’t buy the LG Tone Free earbuds!
Do not buy these earphones for the disinfectant properties.
My issue with the LG Tone Free earbuds is how they appear to take advantage of people’s fears and try to sell the product based on the current global situation. Let me be clear these will do next to nothing to protect you from COVID or any other bacterial infection. They have been very sneaky with their wording and had advertising standards, and Amazon not have come down hard on companies making false claims. I question whether not the little asterisks you see in the fine print would even be there.
LG makes a big deal about the disinfectant properties, but here’s the truth.
These asterisks I’m talking about say two things, that they UVnano light (more on this in a second) that is emitted on the earphone mesh will kill 99.9% of bacteria. The keyword here is mesh. They don’t say this in the big print but just as a footprint. That means that whatever germs are on the earbud housing, inside the case, on the ear-tips is going nowhere—absolutely pointless trash.
The second footnote is that this function only works when the case itself is hooked up to a charger. This is just ridiculous and not made clear to buyers beforehand. So if you are out and about, you get zero of the benefit, and only every few days when you charge the case would they go through this pointless cleaning cycle.
I’m not going to get into much detail as I covered this infuriating topic at length in another scam product earlier this, but when LG says UVnano, I have no idea what they are talking about. Most people think UV light is a disinfectant, and to a point, it’s true; however, there are three types of UV light (UVA, UVB, and UVC).
When we talk of disinfection, we are commonly referring to UVC, which is a very powerful (and dangerous) thing. It’s what is used in hospitals and laboratories to disinfect tools and surfaces. The other two sources are just about useless in this case, where the disinfection process of the LG Tone Free takes around 10 minutes. Why not just tell us straight up what light you are using.
I find it funny that many other reviewers toe the line on this one and do nothing to protect their readers from this sort of behavior. LG is not advertising this product as combating COVID or, for that matter, any other specific bacteria or virus. Still, its timing and the ambiguity of the marketing material make it highly questionable as the angle that is being used.
Fun fact, if you had wanted to get the same benefit LG, you could have just made the mesh out of copper, which has strong antimicrobial properties. Assuming you charge the carry case every few days, the copper option would have disinfected them multiple times in the same time frame.
Why you should buy the LG Tone Free!
Well, rant aside and assuming you are still interested in buying the LG Tone Free, they are such a damn good earphone in their own right that I wish I didn’t have to write the first part of this review.
They are packed with features and sound fantastic; they can stand on their merit against the similarly priced competition without the stupid gimmicks.
They are small, light, and very comfortable. Getting a good fit is extremely easy, and stay locked in place without coming loose even during vigorous exercise.
They feature wireless charging in the case, so if you have a compatible charging pad, you can drop the case onto it and not worry about using cables.
The Tone has excellent call quality when using the inbuilt microphones up there with the best we have ever tested in true wireless format and on a par with the Jabra 75t.
One tap passive sound mode lets you hear your surroundings. I found this great when waiting for flight announcements at the airport and on board when the captain was making announcements.
Splash resistance with an IPX4 rating will keep them safe and make them suitable fr working out. Additionally, if you gt caught out in the rain, you don’t need to worry about the earphones.
Battery life is average at about 6 hours from a single charge with 18hours of charge held inside. However, they have one of the best quick charge modes n the market with just 5 minutes back in the case, giving you an extra hour’s worth of listening time.
Some of the tech features are cool, and the earphones being tuned by legendary audio company Meridian. They take advantage of some oot that companies proprietary technologies. Including MQA standard and several presets.
The Tone has automatic pause/pairing; a find my earbuds feature with the included app, and the ability to tune the earphones with an eight-band EQ.
How do the LG Tone Free earbuds sound?
The Tone Free is a very good sounding set with a punchy and fun tuning that comes across with more detail than I had expected to see at this price. The tuning is slightly on the warm side with punch tight controlled bass and a smooth midrange sitting just back from the lows and the highs.
An energetic listen with good dynamic range, and decent soundstage makes me think this performs well above average for the RRP of $150
LG Tone Free Review: Final Thoughts and Conclusion
While I am very suspicious of the marketing material and initial campaign that these earphones rested their USP on, I’m not prepared to write them off because they offer so many cool features and back it up with excellent sound quality.