While Korean electronics giant LG are well known within the gadget world, they might not be the first brand you think of when it comes to audio devices, but maybe they should be.
The LG Tone Free FN7 is the latest in the Tone Free line of earbuds that are looking to smash the Apple Air pods and are the successor to the FN6 Model. However these pack some awesome features that help them stand out from the crowd.
Available in either black or white they feature a smooth, glossy finish on the buds, which does a good job of making them look and feel premium.
Each bud is very thin and lightweight, weighing only 5.6 grams each. They claim to use “medical-grade ear gels” to give maximum comfort. They certainly felt soft and extremely comfortable to wear for hours on end, although they did slip out of my ears and I could occasionally feel movement when I was running.
They utilise the classic stem type design much like Air Pods, giving them a slim, attractive look that is compact and discreet so they won’t stick out of your ears too much.
With a sensor on the buds, the FN7s will auto-pause if you remove them, so you won’t miss a thing.
The charging case is a small, matte black, minimalist container that looks very smart and stylish while being exceptionally light at only 39 grams, but remaining solid and durable.
Instead of a small box case of most earbuds, the FN7’s is neatly housed in a circular hi-tech case that looks cool and makes me feel slightly like James Bond.
The case has a USB-C port for charging to two indicator lights, one to indicate charge level, with green representing 80% or more, and yellow indicates between 20-80% and red means less than 20%.
Connection was easy via Bluetooth 5.0 after hitting the pair button on the case and selecting from my Bluetooth options. It was strong and stable with only occasionally disconnection from the left bud when I was outside.
The Touch controls on the FN7s made it convenient to play and stop music or answer calls without having to dig my phone out of my pocket. They were simple and intuitive but can even be turned off or customised via the app.
The LG Tone Free app really is a great example of what an accompanying app should be. It offers not only 4 equalizer pre-sets but also 2 customs modes, letting you personalise your sound on the go.
The app also provided detailed control of active noise cancellation. You can also access Ambient Sound mode, using in the inbuilt mics to enhance surrounding sounds, which is really useful if you are asked a question or if you need to hear your surroundings. There is also the ability to turn these features off completely.
Other handy settings include locking the touchpad control on the buds which I found invaluable as I accidentally start and stop tracks all the time while trying to adjust the fit.
You can also have the app inform you of notifications and read the messages in a robot voice which I enjoyed but had limited success with as it worked with SMS messages but not WhatsApp
One of the handiest functions of the app is the find my earbuds function. I cannot count the number of times I have put them down to do something, then struggled to find them. With the app, you just activate enable “Find My Earbuds” and they emit a chirping sound that gradually gets louder.
The most fascinating feature of the FN7 buds is the UVnano technology in the charging case. It uses UV light to kill 99.9% of bacteria to disinfect the buds.
Unfortunately, you can’t see any difference in the buds, but you can see the reassuring blue glow of the UV light on the case.
This is a great idea, considering how these will be in your ears for extended periods of time collecting, dirt, sweat, earwax especially now the pandemic has made us all become more hygiene conscious.
One of the standout features is Active Noise Cancelling (ANC). The spiral design and the good seal on the ear did block moderate background noise and chatter at home, but couldn’t really stand up to louder sounds in the outside world like traffic, loud music etc and won’t give you anywhere near complete silence.
The three microphones in each earbud offer impressive call clarity and worked well in WhatsApp and Zoom calls. The upper mic is used for ANC and isolates external noise, allowing you to be heard clearly in even some noisy backgrounds.
The 21-hour battery life breaks down to 7 hours in-ear earbud and 14 additional hours from the Charging case.
But realistically and with the use of ANC, it’s closer to just under five hours. Charging the case fully took around two hours with the buds taking an hour to fully change.
Despite the average battery life, they can fast charge so you can have these up and running with only five mins of charge giving you one hour of battery life.
You can also forget cables as there’s also wireless charging built-in. Just drop the case on a Qi-compatible charging pad. It worked great although it did get a little warm.
The FN7s are IPX4 water-resistant which means they are protected from rain, splashing water as well as sweat which is really handy and offers some peace of mind, but they aren’t protected from full water submersion.
The compact 6mm driver means FN7s provide decent sound. Produced in collaboration with renowned British audio technology company Meridian they possess clear, natural-sounding audio with a rich mid-range. Unfortunately, the bass felt a little flat but was still serviceable.
The LG Tone Free FN7 look very cool, sound good and pack in some killer features especially when paired with the app. The buds were a joy to us, but the basic battery life and mediocre ANC prevent the FN7s from being as great as they could be.
However, with handy features like ANC, fast wireless charging, the IPX4 rating and self-cleaning technology these might be the best gym companion you’ll ever have.
The LG TONE FREE FN7 are out now and available from LG priced at £150