Due to the pandemic, devices to disinfect spaces or objects are on the rise; some of the most curious (going through bright masks) and many new appliances, including several from LG, either through air filtering systems, steam, or ultraviolet light.
The Korean company had also integrated this latest technology into the LG Tone Free headphones, which it launched when the coronavirus disease was not yet known. For this reason, it is a unique model in the market, and it represents the premiere of LG in a segment in which the vast majority of technology brands are signing up.
Features to consider
These touch controls are incredibly responsive to touch and respond well to pausing playback, taking calls, and turning ambient sound on or off, but not so much for the rest (at least at first). As usual, one becomes familiar with the controls little by little, and they do not always respond as expected. You can use the phone button or the app bar if you have trouble turning the volume up and down. To change the song, we recommend configuring it with one touch instead of three, which is the default number in the app. When you adjust them in your ear to put them on better, for example, during training, it understands it as a touch of adjustment without being one, so sometimes you can pause the playback unintentionally. The solution to prevent this is to block the touch panel from the app.
The LG application for headphones, apart from allowing you to adjust the volume, shows the battery percentage. The functions we have already told you about sometimes include a convenient and probably obnoxious option. We refer to the possibility of configuring the message notification function by voice. This is great when you’re training and want to know all the messages you receive without taking your phone out of your pocket or when you’re waiting for just one. But having this function activated continuously can also become very annoying if you receive many messages because it interrupts the playback.
If you are always looking for something (keys, telephone, glasses, wallet, headphones…), this model is for you, since they have the “Find my headphones” function. When activated, each earphone sounds as if it is in the Bluetooth range. It also tells you on the map where they are.
Sound yes, cancellation no
In this section, the Tone Free aim high with the technology of the British manufacturer specialized in Meridian audio (also integrated into cars such as the Jaguar or some Land Rover). The audio is good; music and calls are heard clearly and make you want to put them on. The app provides equalizer settings for music lovers looking to customize the frequencies. Immersive, Bass Boost, Natural, and Treble Boost are pre-set, plus you can create and play with your settings using sliders to select scales.
Contrary to the trend of incorporating noise cancellation, Tone Free does not have it. They do have a function to listen to the ambient sound, which is turned on or off from the touch area, but the truth is that we do not notice anything when we change from one state to another.
Autonomy and charging
How many hours of music do they provide? Theoretically, in practice, six does not come close to that number. According to our tests, they last for just over four and a half hours, a time that does not stand out, nor is it one of the worst. Yes, it comes with fast charging: on paper, just plugging them in for five minutes gives you an hour of autonomy. So that you are not left hanging, the headphones warn by voice more than an hour in advance that the battery is running low (and insists several times). One difference with others when recharging them is that, in this case, it indicates the level of charge with lights of different colors (low cost with less than 20 percent in red, medium in violet, and more than 80 percent in blue).
For 149 euros, we expected a little more battery. It does not seem high considering the audio and everything included in the software, with small, convenient functions and very little seen in other headphones. This amount also consists of a model capable of self-cleaning, something that other models do not give you, and that always comes in handy for ear care. However, we do not see it as decisive to buy them or not, unless it is a priority for you. More than disinfection, we value that they are very comfortable to wear, their outstanding sound, and the app’s completeness. Although it costs more than desirable to handle the touch controls, this is an obstacle to a one hundred percent smooth user experience.
In this price range, the Tone Free competes with the model we recently reviewed, Sony WF-XB700, and for a little more money with the first Apple AirPods, Huawei Free Buds Pro, and the Jabra Elite 75 t that also passed through our hands. Or rather, ears.