Wouldn’t you like your earbuds to be able to clean themselves? Can

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Positives

  • Great sound quality
  • Spatial audio with Dolby head tracking
  • IPX4 water resistance
  • Bacteria kills light
  • Multi-device and multi-point pairing

Negatives

  • expensive
  • ANC hidden
  • Call performance is not the best

Over the past couple of years I’ve tried a number of LG Tone Free earbuds, each successful model with slightly improved features. the new LG Tone Free T90Q It adds Dolby Head Tracking along with the company’s unique bacteria-killing UVnano light, Active Noise Canceling (ANC), and an advanced smartphone app.

I tested spatial sound for the first time with a file Apple AirPods Pro And I loved it more Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. Dolby Head Tracking is a similar feature to head tracking audio, and the LG Tone FREE T90Q is the world’s first Dolby Atmos earbuds to have it.

However, I was quite impressed with the earbuds’ comfort, long battery life, and bacteria-killing UV light. But are they worth the asking price of $229? Let’s find out.

Determine

microphones Four microphones with advanced noise reduction
water resistant IPx4 rating
Battery life Up to 9 hours of gaming with the ANC turned off. The wireless charging case provides another 11 hours of music playback.
Connection Bluetooth 5.3
Bluetooth decoding and encryption systems SBC, AAC, aptX
earphone weight 5.1 grams each

hardware

LG Tone Free T90Q retail bundle includes wireless earbuds, charging case (weighs just under 40g), short USB-A to USB-C cable, USB-C to 3.5mm cable, and mini cable/silicone gel ear tips medium / large. The carrying case supports Qi wireless charging, so you can pack it with a traditional charging pad or on the back of a phone that supports reverse wireless charging.

The USB-C to 3.5mm cable is interesting because it allows you to connect the charging case to an analog device with the 3.5mm male end of the cable. The charging case acts as a Bluetooth transmitter for the LG Tone Free T90Q with wireless mode turned on. I don’t have a use case for this, but it might be useful for some users.

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Retail package and shipping case

Matthew Miller / ZDNET

The charging case is a small, round, white tablet about 2 inches in diameter and just over an inch thick. Fits easily in my pants, shirt or coat pocket. Inside the case, in the formed compartment of each earbud there is a small UV light source for UVnano Bacteria Killing. When you charge the earbud, either wirelessly or with a USB-C cable, the UV-C light will activate and sanitize each end of the earphone in just 10 minutes. Since I use my wireless earbuds for hours on end every day, sanitizing them is a great feature and something unique to LG.

The earbuds are made of several key parts, including ear gels, an internal noise-reducing microphone in your ear, a sound capture unit (VPU) that detects vibrations, a graphene motor, a battery, and a head-tracking sensor.

also: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review: The best wireless earbuds for Galaxy fans

The earbuds feature a stem design similar to AirPods and many other recent earbuds. The inner curvature is well designed to rest against the bottom of the ear opening so you don’t have to push it into the ear canal. Everyone has different ear geometries, but the LG Tone Free T90Q fits my ears perfectly and I thoroughly enjoyed the lightness and comfort of both.

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The earbuds are charged while LG’s UVnano technology is being cleaned.

Photo: LG

The three sizes of soft, hypoallergenic silicone gel definitely help to provide comfort. LG Tone Free has automatic ear detection too, so your music pauses when you take it out. Your phone also connects automatically once you insert it into your ears.

While I love the AirPods Pro experience with my iPhone, the stem-based control system isn’t my ideal choice. Fortunately, LG has used the outside of the earbud for control, acting as a touch-sensitive surface so you can simply tap once, twice or three times, as well as tap and hold to operate various functions. You can customize these gestures within the LG smartphone app.

Smartphone software

To get the most out of the earbuds, I highly recommend downloading and installing the LG Tone Free app. With this app, you can view the battery status of each earbud and charging case, manage equalizer settings, toggle Dolby Atmos head tracking, toggle multi-point and multi-pairing option, activate noise cancellation, and much more. It is a well designed app that greatly enhances your LG Tone Free experience.

also: Apple unveils AirPods Pro 2: price, release date and features

Sometimes, for safety or insecurity, you may want to hear the sounds around you even with earphones on. Through the mobile application, you can adjust and control the volume of the ambient sound. There are two options in the ambient sound option: listening mode and conversation mode. With conversation mode, the sound around you is amplified so you can hear voices more clearly, compared to listening mode, which amplifies every sound.

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The LG TONE Free T90Q has an IPX4 rating for water resistance.

Photo: LG

There are also five default equalizer settings; Immersive, bass boost, natural boost, treble, and 3D sound stage. The 3D audio stage option is designed for watching movies or sports, but my classic rock sounded just fine with the equalizer setting turned on. There are also two points for custom equalizer settings so you can craft the perfect sound levels.

Finally, if you lose one or both of your earbuds, you can play a loud chirping sound if your phone is within range of the lost earpiece(s).

more: The best wireless earbuds you can buy right now

performance

Active noise cancellation on the LG TONE Free T90Q is more accurate than what I’m used to on AirPods Pro. However, it does well in creating a fairly quiet environment. I didn’t get a chance to test these earbuds on a plane, but I was able to mow the lawn and enjoy the music until they passed the work test in my yard.

As I mentioned before, the Apple AirPods Pro have poor touch control and very limited control options, and the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro simply Don’t agree with my ears. Thus, I have been using and enjoying the LG Tone Free T90Q as my primary on-ear headphones for commuting and work for the past few weeks. They are long lasting, extremely comfortable, sound great, and provide an enjoyable audio experience with Dolby head tracking.

I first discovered spatial sound while navigating a train with AirPods Pro, and now I really enjoy the experience when I turn my head and the sound continues to play mainly from the earpiece facing my sound source. It’s an interesting experience when the earbuds make you feel like you’re at the center of the performance, and while some might not care, I’ve come to look for spatial audio support in any headphones and earbuds I’m testing.

LG announces nine hours of music playback without ANC and another 18 hours with the charging case. With ANC turned on, you can expect about five hours, depending on your volume. This was the case for me.

minimum

LG packed a lot into the Tone Free T90Q, and all in all, I was very pleased with its performance. This $220-240 market is full of quality earbuds right now, so you need to know which features are most important to you to decide if the T90Q is worth picking up. They’re heavy on the bass, have spatial acoustic support, and are easily the cleanest earphones on the market.

Alternatives to consider

The LG Tone Free T90Q offers quite a few unique features, but you may have other priorities for your earphone needs. Here are some other options to consider.

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