Proving that its UV cleansing earphones were not just a once-off gimmick, LG launched the latest Tone Free FP9 wireless earphones earlier this year.
A longer battery life, a slightly lighter form factor, and a larger audio driver are a few of the upgrades the device provides over its predecessor.
But how do these wireless earbuds stack up when it comes to everyday use?
Clean and comfortable earphones
While we are no longer at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are various benefits to having earphones with a built-in cleaning mechanism.
Wearing earphones too often comes with a variety of risks for outer ear infections and irritation. When connected to the charger, the case uses UV LED lights to disinfect the speaker mesh. According to LG, this kills up to 99.9% of bacteria and pathogens in five minutes.
While this won’t prevent you from having problems if you wear them constantly, it should help prevent the bacterial risks that come with bud earphones.
The earbuds are also built with medical-grade, hypoallergenic silicone.
All these features combine to create a device that is not only able to provide heightened cleanliness, but which is also comfortable to wear.
Rarely do I find earphones that I can wear for more than two hours without them becoming uncomfortable and painful for my ears. For context, I have a pain syndrome called fibromyalgia which, along with ADHD, makes me sensitive to sound and other sensory input.
I have a drawer filled with earphones I don’t use because I can either hear the ANC and it can’t be turned off, or the shape of the earphones becomes uncomfortable quickly.
However, the lightweight form factor of the Tone Free FP9 earphones meant that I could wear them for an entire evening without them becoming uncomfortable. I also use the earphones on several flights, where they provided respite from the engine noise even with the ANC turned off.
Audio quality and versatility
Another benefit of the FP9 earphones was their audio quality, as well as the versatility of usage modes.
In terms of audio, the larger 8mm driver delivers high-fidelity sound with spatial audio support. Using the LG Tone Free app, you can adjust the earphones’ equalizers to your preferred mode — such as boosting bass or making the soundscape more immersive.
When listening to music on the earphones, I could pick up on notes and instruments that are imperceptible when listening through a phone speaker.
The buds have active noise cancellation built in, so you can switch to the ANC mode whenever you want to block out background noise. But if you’re like me, and ANC frequencies are audible to you and affect the listening experience, you can also switch off noise-cancelling.
When ANC is turned off, the FP9 earbuds still do a good job of noise isolation. This doesn’t require you to wear the earphones particularly snugly either. When I was done with my podcasts during flights, I left the earphones in to reduce the noise of the plane engine.
In another area of versatility, the FP9’s have more than one way to connect to devices. There’s the traditional Bluetooth connection, but also a plug mode that you can use to connect to devices like treadmills and plane media display units. This mode uses a wired audio jack connected to the earphone charging case.
When it comes to phone calls, the earphones’ microphone also picks up your voice clearly, even when speaking relatively softly.
LG Tone Free FP9 battery life
Another benefit of the LG Tone Free FP9 wireless earphones is their battery life. With ANC turned off, they can last up to 10 hours when playing music. Add in recharging with the case, and you’re looking at up to 24 hours.
I used the earphones for an entire evening (from around 4pm to 10pm) without needing to recharge them. And they were not fully charged when I started.
With ANC turned on, you’re looking at a shorter battery life. This translates to up to 6 hours of usage without the case, and up to 15 hours when recharging with the case.
While recharging sounds inconvenient, the earphones actually feature fast charging. Just 5 minutes of charging add another hour to playback time. It only takes an hour for the earbuds to fully recharge, while the case takes about 2 hours to reach full capacity.
Are the LG Tone Free FP9 earphones worth it?
The LG Tone Free FP9 earphones offer a versatile and comfortable listening experience, paired with the convenience of sterilization.
Overall, they offer a great experience, but their price puts them at a premium. They have a recommended retail price of R3699, which puts them on the more expensive end of the spectrum.
But if they fall within your budget, they offer great value and versatility.
|Comfortable for even sensitive users||Only sterilizes when charging|
|Easy setup, good sound|