It’s likely a sign of the times we’re currently living in. Even headphones have health properties. Yes, that’s the new prospect behind a new set of truly wireless earbuds from LG. LG’s Tone Free HBS-FN6 earbuds have innovative self-cleaning technology. What exactly does that mean, how well does it work, and almost as important, how do these sound? I’ll cover it all in this review.
Review of LG Tone Free HBS-FN6 truly wireless earbuds
LG’s new compact truly wireless earbuds come with a sleek round charging case. Their shiny design with gloss panels on the buds belies what LG says is “supreme durability” plus these are also splash-resistant. These are similar to the LG HBS-FN4 model, but that one is missing the UV sanitizing.
Setting up and pairing the LG Tone Free
This couldn’t be easier. The first time you pop them in, they’re automatically in pairing mode. Head to your phone’s Bluetooth menu and connect.
Features of LG Tone Free truly wireless earbuds
Self-cleaning innovation with UV light
Let’s dig into this feature right away since it’s very unique; this is the first time I’ve seen it in earbuds.
With the global pandemic, we’re all hyper conscious of bacteria and viruses, so a pair of headphones that can clean themselves? The time is probably just tight for these.
These earbuds boast an industry-first UVnano charging case that LG says eliminates 99.9% of bacteria on the part of the earbud closest to your inner ear. Just by placing these earbuds in their case for about 10 minutes, a UV light will clean and sanitize the buds—a pretty interesting feature as we navigate through this new normal.
LG also says frequent usage of earbuds can cause a build-up of bacteria that can lead to ear infections. So LG’s unique UVnano technology promises the Tone Free HBS-FL7 are the most hygienic earbuds on the market, significantly reducing the levels of residual bacteria.
Now, you may think you can sort of see this at work; when you open the case there’s a glowing blue LED light. But nope, that’s not it. The UV LED function works only when the charging cradle is connected to the power cable. The blue light is a non-functioning ‘mood’ light that appears when the charging cradle lid is opened. LG’s actual UV LED light is invisible and is only activated when the cradle is closed with the earbuds inside and plugged in.
Does UV headphone sanitizing work?
Sadly I have no way to verify this claim, though I would love to be able to ship these to a microbiology lab for before and after testing, so I have to take LG’s word for it, but UV light sanitization is used in plenty of places, so you can read more about it and judge for yourself.
MERIDIAN sound technology
These LG Tone Free earbuds have what’s called Meridian technology. Meridian is a British audio company that’s a leading authority on Digital Signal Processing and audio engineering. LG partnered with them on these earbuds to deliver high quality audio.
The promises are that these buds make sure calls and music are crystal clear when you’re on the go, and that these deliver a rich and balanced sound that allows you to discern every musical note. The Tone Free earbuds microphone also features noise-reducing and echo-cancelling solutions that make for stress-free calls, wherever you are.
Sound quality of LG Tone Free earbuds
So let’s dig into the sound quality. I can say these sound great. They’re super clear and well balanced with good bass (if a little on the softer side) and you get a lot of detail in the music. I listened to a variety of music on these headphones and everything sounded really great. You can check out my test playlist on Spotify to see what I listened to on these.
I also used these for phone calls and Zoom meetings and they worked extremely well.
Stay alert with Ambient Mode
You’re likely familiar with Ambient mode in headphones. While Noise Cancellation is a feature which uses digital signals to block out outside noise to keep it from bleeding into your headphones, Ambient mode digitally lets some ambient noise into the earphones, while still playing your music and keeping the buds in your ears. This feature does indeed let you hear around you and its handy for joggers, cyclists and more who need to stay attuned to their surroundings during a workout.
The Ambient mode option on these is easy as pie to turn on and off; a short press on the left earbud turns it on or off. The sounds coming in with LG Tone Free ambient mode does sound a little hollow and funny, but you’re not focused on that anyway; you’re focused on your music or podcasts or calls so that’s less important. No more near-misses at crosswalks or accidentally ignoring a friend in the street, you can stay alert to your environment, even when you’re lost in the music.
Battery life and charging the LG Tone Free
The LG TONE Free HBS-FL7 provides 21 hours of total battery life when using the charging case. An average of 6 hours of earbud life plus 15 additional hours from the charging case means you can be free to explore the world without worrying about losing battery. Experience lightning-fast charging with the high-powered case, which gives you one whole hour of playback after just 5 minutes. Plus, you can charge them wirelessly on your Qi charging pad.
Blue, purple and red lights on the case give you battery level at a glance.
Fit & Feel of LG Tone Free wireless earbuds
These are one of the few earbuds I’ve reviewed in a long time that I feel are made for women’s ears as opposed to men’s. The buds themselves are small and compact and sleek and delicate. They look elegant, and not like a giant wine cork poking out from your ear like some other buds I’ve tried recently. They also don’t fill your ear concha uncomfortably. Despite their smaller profile, the variety of silicone ear tips lets you get a good noise isolating fit. These are definitely on my top 5 list of most comfortable headphones of 2020!
Other features of LG Tone Free earbuds
Splash resistant and durable
Far from style over substance, the TONE Free earbuds are certified IPX4, meaning they can withstand the mess of everyday life. Use your earbuds whatever the weather as the splash-resistant technology protects from water droplets in any direction.
Automatic ear detection and fast pairing
Responsive and fast, the Tone Free earbuds are ready to go when you are. The earbuds pair with your phone as soon as they sense contact with your ears and automatically pause music when you remove one or both. Again, this feature worked just great in my testing.
The touch controls work well on these earbuds; there’s not an overwhelming amount of options so there’s no complicated and confusing tap sequences to execute them. Tap either bud for play/pause, double tap to adjust volume. Touch and hold to start or stop ambient mode. I’m a happy camper.
Built-in Google assistant
The Tone Free’s easy and responsive access to Google assistant will set you free. Never have to pick up your phone to manage your day, get information, listen to music or stay connected to the world—simply press and hold the touch panels on your earbuds and Google assistant is ready and waiting to respond to your needs. Move through your day with ease and flexibility with a dynamic headset that works with you.
No breakup, no problems. I was able to walk all over my home (about 1000 square feet) without a single dropout.
When using the LG Tone Free to watch videos, there was no sync issues or lag.
Overall review of LG Tone Free
All in all, we have a winner! I’m impressed by the LG Tone Free wireless earbuds and think they’re one of the best headphones of 2020. From the great audio quality to the sleek and delicate design and the addition of ambient mode and easy touch controls, these are the total package.
I do like the idea of the UV cleansing, not because I worry about ear infections, but because with the amount we touch headphones with dirty hands, you can’t be too careful. While I can’t prove it’s working, I guess in this case we’re erring on the side of caution.
Downsides? The earbuds are a little touch sensitive; if I ever needed to make an adjustment to the fit, it would activate the play/pause. And it would be nice if these had digital noise cancellation to take them from amazing to outstanding.
I can recommend the LG Tone Free truly wireless earbuds if you’re looking for a new set of multitasking wireless headphones.