True cordless headphones were a luxury and one that came with a great price. This is no longer the case with countless nameless companies that sell mediocre genuine cordless headphones on Amazon. Best audio experiences cost more, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth every expensive set of real wireless headphones. Sony 230 WF-1000XM3 headphones are definitely worth the price, but I can not say the same about the new LG Tone Free Headphones. At $ 200, I would expect excellent sound quality, design and features. These headphones control exactly zero of these frames.
Design, material, what is in the box
At first I liked the toneless headphones when I took them out of the box – my feelings changed later, but they make a great first impression. The puck-shaped case is small enough to slip into the pocket and the soft texture makes it nice and delicious. The lid feels solid and has a satisfactory click when you open and close it. There is also a USB-C port on the side for charging.
The headphones themselves are compact and easy to remove from the case. Each headset has a touch-sensitive button – one for play / pause and one for switching between EQ presets. When you need to recharge, it ‘s just as easy to go back. There are magnets that ensure that each headset aligns with the charging pins. There are two small UV lights on the bottom of the case to sterilize the headphones, but I will get to that later. The body of each handset is elongated with a microphone at the end similar to Sony buds (only smaller). I expected the Fone Free to fit similarly to the Sonys, but it is much less comfortable.
LG headphones do not use an in-ear design, so they sit on your outer ear instead of going into the ear canal. Some people prefer it, but the shape must be perfect to be comfortable and safe. The LG Tone Free loses this window by a mile. In the promotional images, you can see people wearing buds with the microphone pointing forward along the jaw. However, this orientation puts the speaker in the wrong position to pump sound into your ear canal. You have to turn the body of the headset down to hear them properly and that is not comfortable – at least it is not for me and I guess for many others.
Tone Free also has wear detection, allowing them to stop when you remove one or both headphones. This is usually a feature I appreciate, but the app was so flexible that I constantly stopped my music just trying to make the buds sit comfortably. The headphones come with three different silicone headphone covers, but none of them made the Tone Free wear anymore. The only other thing you have in the box is a (very small) USB cable.
Sound and features
At $ 200, I would expect top audio performance, but that’s not what you get with Tone Free. Even when I get the headphones lined up correctly to direct the sound to my ear, the volume seems extremely low compared to other headphones. Part of this is due to the fact that they are not buds in the ear, but they are still annoyingly quiet. I need to maximize the Bluetooth volume on most phones to use them.
Compared to the Sony WF-1000MX3.
Even with the volume, the sound you receive from these headphones is flat and irregular. The low volume is subdued and the middle sounds strangely quiet. I missed the range of music so much, and the spoken words were muted. There is no application for headphones without tone. So you’re stuck with the built-in EQ settings. You can scroll through the three settings by pressing the left button on the handset, but neither of them improves the sound. The sound was more acceptable for phone calls, but it is nothing special. People could hear me, but it was obvious that I was using headphones somewhat.
The lack of an application means that you can not change the functions of the buttons and they are almost useless with the included settings. You can play / pause with the right handset, and as mentioned earlier, the left handset switches between EQ functions. You can press and hold the right handset on the Assistant if you have set it. However, there is no way to change the volume or even skip tracks. Honestly, this is unforgivable in $ 200 headphones. It’s probably the worst control setting I’ve ever seen on such a device.
The UV LEDs are located on the bottom of the case.
The big selling point of LG here is the ultraviolet lights inside the case. When you connect the Tone Free for charging, the UV lights come on to sterilize the edges. LG points out research that says it will reduce the number of bacteria in the headphones. That’s okay, but I do not see it as a benefit to users. Sterile is different from pure – you can kill bacteria on the headphones, but they just return to your ears with all the ear wax still attached.
Do you have to buy them?
Definitely no. The LG Tone headphones make a good first impression with their compact design. However, everything is downhill from there. The sound quality is not what I would expect from a $ 200 headset and the application is scary. I have not yet found a comfortable orientation that aligns the speaker with the audio resource with a lot of trial and error.
The lack of features is also fraught. It’s rather strange that I can not skip tracks with the Tone Free buttons. All you have to do is change EQ and play / pause. If LG had an application with additional settings, this may be a saving grace, but it is not. I can not recommend anyone to buy these headphones when there are so many better options.
Buy them if …
You only buy LG products for a reason.
Do not buy them if …
You would prefer better, more comfortable headphones that cost less.