LG’s new Tone Free earbuds have a case that doubles as a wireless dongle

LG may be through with smartphones, but it’s still making gear you can use with your mobile. The Korean company has unveiled its new range of LG Tone Free wireless earbuds, and this time the germ-killing UV tech isn’t the highlight. Of the three newcomers, the high-end FP9 model has a charging case that plugs into a headphone jack to work as a Bluetooth dongle. The feature could be handy during flights and in other wired environments. 

The trio, including the mid-range FP8 and low-end FP9, also come with active noise-canceling and two new spatial audio upgrades. That means you should hear musical elements as if they’re positioned in different spaces in a 3D soundstage. The results are supposed to be more “lifelike,” according to LG, but we’ll have to test them before offering a verdict. 

LG Tone Free FP
LG

In fact, spatial audio is becoming a more common feature in general. It recently arrived on Apple Music and has long been available through Sony’s 360 Reality Audio format. While Verizon claims that its spatial audio format, Adaptive Sound, doesn’t even require specific headphones, earbuds or speakers.

The big departure in the Tone Free’s design is the shorter stem, which LG reduced by 4.4 millimeters. All three also pack a trio of microphones and a new voice calling feature, dubbed Whispering Mode, that lets you hold the right earbud close to your mouth as a dedicated mic. 

UV auto-cleaning is back, too, but limited to the FP8 and FP9. It can get rid of 99.9 percent of germs in five minutes when the buds are placed inside the case, which features wireless charging on the FP8. Both the mid- and high-end earbuds also pack more battery life than the low-end- FP5: 10 hours of playback time compared to 8 hours between charges, and 24 hours with the case compared to 22 hours. 

LG says the LG Tone Free FP series will be available starting this month in colors including charcoal black and pearl white, with the FP8 and FP9 also offered in haze gold. We’ve reached out for pricing info and will update this article accordingly.