Call it a sign of the times: even headphones now have health properties. That’s the new idea behind a set of truly wireless earbuds from LG. LG’s TONE Free HBS-FN6 earbuds have built-in self-cleaning technology. What exactly does that mean, how well does it work, and almost as important, how do these earbuds sound? I’ll dig in in this review.
Review: LG Tone Free HBS-FN6 truly wireless earbuds
LG’s has launched new compact truly wireless earbuds and these ship with a sleek round charging case. They have a shiny design with glossy panels on the buds but LG says these are supremely durable and splash-resistent. These are similar to LG’s HBS-FN4 model, but that one is missing the UV sanitizing.
Set up and pairing: LG Tone Free
The first time you insert these earbuds into your ears, they’re automatically in pairing mode. Dial up phone’s Bluetooth menu and you’ll be connected in seconds.
Features: LG Tone Free truly wireless earbuds
Self-cleaning innovation with UV light
I’m kicking this review off with this feature since it’s very unique; this is the first time I’ve personally ever seen it in earbuds or headphones.
With the current global pandemic situation, we’re all uber conscious of things like bacteria and viruses, so a pair of headphones that can clean themselves feels just right for now.
These buds use an industry-first ‘UVnano’ charging case that LG says kills 99.9% of bacteria on the part of the earbud closest to your inner ear. Pop these earbuds into their charging case for about 10 minutes, and a UV light will clean and sanitize the buds— a pretty amazing and important feature as we navigate through this new normal.
LG also says frequent waearing 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-FL6 are the most hygienic earbuds on the market, significantly reducing the levels of residual bacteria.
You may think you can actually see this at work; when you open the case there’s a glowing blue LED light. But that’s not it. The UV LED function works only when the charging cradle is connected to the power cable. LG’s actual UV LED light is invisible and is only activated when the cradle is closed with the earbuds inside and plugged in. The blue light is a non-functioning ‘mood’ light that appears when the charging cradle lid is opened.
Does UV headphone sanitizing work?
Unfortunately I have no way to verify this claim that 99.9% of bacteria are getting zapped, though I would love to be able to ship these to a laboratory for testing, so I have to take LG’s word for it, but UV light sanitization is used in plenty of places, so you can definitely read more about it and evaluate for yourself.
MERIDIAN sound technology
These LG Tone Free earbuds have Meridian technology, which is a British audio company that’s a leading authority on Digital Signal Processing and audio engineering. LG teamed up with them on these earbuds to deliver high quality audio.
Sound quality of LG Tone Free earbuds
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 lighter side) and you get a lot of detail when you’re listening. I tuned in 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 Skype meetings and they worked extremely well.
Stay alert with Ambient Mode
By now you’re probably familiar with Ambient Mode in headphones. While Noise Cancellation is a feature which uses digital algorithms to block outside noise from bleeding into your headphones, Ambient Mode digitally lets some ambient noise into the earphones, while still playing your music and keeping the earbuds in your ears. This feature really does let you hear well around you, and it’s handy for joggers, commuters and more who need to stay attuned to their surroundings during a workout or a walk.
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 overall audio coming in with LG Tone Free ambient mode does sound a little hollow and odd, but you’re not focused on that anyway; you’re focused on your music or podcasts or calls.
LG Tone Free: Long battery life, fast charging
The LG TONE Free HBS-FL6 provides 21 hours of total battery life when using the charging case. That delivers an average of 6 hours of power in the earbuds plus 15 additional hours from the charging case. There’s also 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. While charging, blue, purple and red lights on the case give you battery level at a glance.
Splash resistant and durable
LG 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.
Fit & Feel of LG Tone Free wireless earbuds: great for women!
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!
Automatic ear detection and fast pairing
These earbuds are super easy and responsive to use. The earbuds connect to your phone as soon as they sense contact with your ears and automatically pause music when you remove one or both thanks to automatic ear detection. This feature worked flawlessly in my testing.
The touch controls also work well on these earbuds; there’s not an overwhelming amount of options so there’s no complicated and confusing tap dances to execute them. Touch either bud for play/pause, double tap to adjust volume. Touch and hold to start or stop ambient mode.
Connectivity: no breakup, no problems
Sometimes earbuds can lose their connection to your phone the farther you get from it. With the LG Tone Free, I was able to walk all over my home (about 1000 square feet) and put walls between me and the phone without a single dropout.
Video Sync: no problems
When using the LG Tone Free to watch videos, there were also no sync issues or audio/video lag.
Google assistant is built in to LG Tone Free
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.
Overall review LG Tone Free
Overall 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, 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.
Overall I can recommend the LG Tone Free truly wireless earbuds if you’re looking for a new set of multitasking wireless headphones. They sell for about $199 and you can get them from Best Buy.