The LG Tone Free FN7 could have been a remarkable tech in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic only if the earbuds’ UV light-based charging case was rated to be effective against Covid-19
Khalid Anzar |
Last Updated at February 8, 2021 11:26 IST
The LG Tone Free FN7 is a one-of-its-kind pair of true wireless earbuds that comes with a charging cradle powered by UVnano technology – that’s a fancy name derived from the words ultraviolet and its unit nanometer. The technology is touted to kill 99.9 per cent bacteria on the speaker mesh of the earbuds in 10 minutes while charging. The UVnano tech is not the only interesting pitch in these earbuds; they also boast active noise cancellation and Spatial audio, tuned by British high-performance audio tech maker Meridian. Priced at Rs 18,990, the LG Tone Free FN7 seems to be tech-rich true wireless earbuds. How does it perform in real life? Let’s find out:
The LG Tone Free FN7 is a pair of in-ear earbuds with a tiny stem protruding downwards from the body. Made of plastic, these earbuds have a glossy finish which makes it a little difficult to take them out of the case. Moreover, the glossy finish makes them susceptible to accidental slips from your hand in the absence of a proper grip. Thanks to soft and comfortable ear gels, the earbuds have a snug fit and the grip is not an issue when they are plugged into your ears for use. These are medical-grade ear gels made from non-toxic hypoallergenic silicone, something not many earbuds offer. Besides, these earbuds have a spiral design with vortex ribs for even distribution of pressure. That allows them to adapt to the ear shape and aid the earbuds’ passive and active noise cancelling capabilities.
The charging cradle is a petite circular unit with a flip-cover design. Like the earbuds, the charging-cum-storage case has a glossy finish that is susceptible to accidental falls. It is a wireless charging case but the glossy profile makes it somewhat difficult to stay intact on the wireless charging cradle, especially if the supported wireless charging cradle has an angular design or glossy charging surface. The case has two LED indicators on the front – one for the battery level and the other for UVnano status. On the rear side, there is a USB-C port for wired charging. Inside the case, there is a blue accent light that glows up every time you open the case. The light is for aesthetic purposes, to give a sense that the case has UVnano tech to remove bacteria from the earbuds.
Features and performance
The LG Tone Free FN7 boasts active noise cancellation, touch controls with haptic sound effect, and IPX4 ingress protection rating. The earbuds are supported by an easy-to-use app named TONE Free, which is available on Google Play Store for Android devices. You can use the earbuds without the app but the app simplifies things and makes a good companion to manage the earbuds without any hassle. For example, you can check the earbuds and case battery level, change equaliser settings or create custom ones, control ANC and ambient sound mode, learn touch controls, customise touch controls, lock touchpad area, enable notification readout, and find earbuds.
The app also acts as a link to upgrade the earbuds firmware. While these are regular features, the UVnano tech in the charging case sets the LG Tone Free FN7 apart from others. However, there is no way to quantify the effectiveness of the technology. According to the company, the case sanitises the earbuds’ speaker unit and mesh around through ultraviolet radiation. This feature works only when the case, with earbuds resting in it, is on charge. Do not expect the UVnano tech to clean up the dust and dirt from earbuds but only the invisible bacteria. If you wonder how effective it is against coronavirus, these earbuds are not rated to handle Covid-19 and the company has made no such promise.
Details aside, the earbuds’ performance is regular and there is nothing special about them. Starting with the audio output, it is good but sounds muted even at the peak volume levels. On a bright side, the acoustics are perfect and everything sounds clean with no distortion of any kind. The pre-set equalisers include immersive, bass boost, natural and treble boost. Though each equaliser changes the output drastically, none of them boosts the loudness level.
Talking of the ANC, it is good but not class-leading. For ease of use, there is ambient sound setting to let you use the earbuds even when you are talking to someone or if you need to be aware of your surrounding noise. Unfortunately, there is no auto switch function to enable the ANC and ambient sound based on environment use case. Therefore, you need to switch the mode manually every time. There, however, is an easy way to switch the mode manually by tapping and holding the touch area on the earbuds; it works like a charm every time. The touch controls are customisable, except for some basic functions like answering calls, ending calls and ambient sound/noise cancelling.
The LG Tone Free FN7 might not be the best wireless earbuds for music but they are good for attending calls. The earbuds have triple microphones on each unit – two on the outer surface (one to cancel echo and reduce ambient noise and another to pick voice) and one inside each earbud for active noise cancellation. Surprisingly, the earbuds pick the voice clearly and work well for calling purposes. Important to note, however, is that the voice quality deteriorates in loud ambient environments as the earbuds struggle to efficiently distinguish voice from ambient noise.
The LG Tone Free FN7 offers a decent on-battery time of around four hours with ANC enabled and about six hours with ANC disabled. The charging case is good for charging the earbuds’ battery full at least once. Therefore, together with the case, the earbuds are good to go for around a day easily. Charging time is good and it takes about an hour to charge the case and the earbuds using a wired charger.
The LG Tone Free FN7 could have been among the most sought-after technologies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, only if the earbuds’ UVnano tech-based charging case was rated to be effective against the Covid-19. Its absence makes the LG Tone Free FN7 just another true wireless earbuds with nothing great to write home about. Despite a comfortable fit, great design and excellent app support, the earbuds do not justify the hefty price tag of Rs 18,990. That is because these earbuds cut corners where they should not have – in audio output for example. Therefore, consider the LG Tone Free FN7 for its great design, comfortable fit, and flagship features but do not get sold on its peculiar UVnano tech charging case, which seems to be more about novelty than utility.
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