The new normal has led to a heightened awareness of hygiene which is where the LG Tone Free FP8 true wireless earbuds come into the picture as they pack their own UVnano technology that kills bacteria when placed back in the case but how do they fare under practical use? Here’s our LG Tone Free FP8 review where we put their wireless earbuds to the test!
LG Tone Free FP8 Review – Build, Design and What’s in the Box
Our LG Tone Free FP8 review sample comes in a compact cardboard box and features the charging case with the earbuds contained within it inset in a cardboard tray, a short length of USB-C to USB-A cable for charging it, two alternative pairs of silicone ear tips, a warranty manual and quick start guide.
In terms of design, the LG Tone Free FP8 goes for a fairly conservative look that somewhat resembles a hockey puck or a chunky macaron done up in a dark shade of Charcoal Black with the Tone monogram emblazoned on the top lid. It can also be acquired in a dual-toned shade of Pearl white with light grey panels.
Bar the subtle logo, the charging case is essentially featureless without any other discernible features save for a tiny notch to make it easier to open, an LED indicator for battery life and a USB-C charging port on the rear below the hinge. The matte finish repels fingerprints nicely and the slightly grippy, rounded design makes it easy to hold and pocket.
Opening it is a two-handed affair as there’s little space for your thumb or index finger to gain purchase for one-handed opening in its clamshell-type design even with the inclusion of a notch.
Popping it open reveals a surprising amount of sophistication as the LG Tone Free FP8 has a unique feature that no other wireless earbud has – a UVnano LED light that bathes the earbuds in ultraviolet light when placed in the case that is rated to kill 99.9% of bacteria in 5 minutes.
By doing so, users mitigate the need to clean the eartips with alcohol swabs which can damage it over the long term. One thing to be clear though is that the UVnano tech is meant to kill bacteria, not viruses so it doesn’t do anything to tackle COVID-19.
What it does help do is offer peace of mind especially as you’re bunging a potential vector (the earbuds) for bacteria straight into your ears which can potentially cause ear infections.
In keeping with this emphasis on hygiene, the ear tips are made of hypoallergenic silicone and LG also tosses in three different sizes of ear tip to ensure a better passive sound seal.
The earbuds themselves are done up in matte black and feature what they call a Concha-shaped design that has bulbous housing, a short stem at the base and a control surface in the upper section that responds to taps with most of the housing nestling comfortably in the outer ear canal.
Of note here are that the earbuds are rated for IPX4 which means that they’re sweat and water resistant, making them perfect for a jaunt at the gym though they are not meant for use in or near a swimming pool.
While the charging case and earbuds are made of polycarbonate, the build quality is excellent without any creakiness or cheapness that would have been the result of using inferior quality plastics. The conservative matte paint job also lends it a classier feel in keeping with its aspirations as a premium set of wireless earbuds.
LG Tone Free FP8 Review – Setup and Performance
On paper, the LG Tone Free FP8 are exceptionally well equipped as wireless earbuds go. In addition to the UVnano tech in the charging case, the earbuds themselves feature active noise cancellation (ANC) and an Ambient mode for when you’re out and about in the streets.
The earbuds also feature a fair bit of customisation via their TONE Free app that’s free for download on the Google Play store and Apple app store.
While a good many features are preset by default, the app lets you alter the the control setup slightly and, more importantly, modify the equaliser settings to suit your personal tastes and save them to two custom settings. You’re also able to choose from five preset settings – Immersive, Natural, Bass Boost, Treble Boost and 3D Sound Stage.
The TONE Free app also has a helpful ‘Find my Earbuds’ feature that plays a loud sound to help you find them while also helpfully pointing where you left them on a map though you need to allow it access to GPS tracking permissions first.
In terms of the default controls, a single tap lets you play or stop a track as well as take a call. A double tap on the left earbud reduces volume while the right increases volume with a double tap ends a phone call.
A triple tap on the left or right earbud moves or goes back on a track. Holding down the control surface lets you cycle between turning all extra modes off, turning on noise cancelling mode or turning on ambient sound. These controls work for the most part though the responsiveness varies at times and it occasionally does not register taps.
When donned and used over the course of a month for daily work calls, several trips on the train and in a coffee shop, our LG Tone Free FP8 review sample proved to be comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
I used the default medium sized ear tips and they offered a good passive sound seal. While the ungainly looking earbuds look uncomfortable, they were surprisingly comfy to wear without incurring ear pressure or discomfort even after extended usage sessions maxing out with a solid four hours of use.
Getting it running and paired with a smartphone was an easy affair thanks to Google Fast Pair and it also paired up swiftly with a Windows PC without too much trouble. The earbuds also paired up easily with the TONE Free app without issue, allowing for access to tweak the sound profile and controls.
On default settings, our LG Tone Free FP8 review sample proved to be exceptionally capable with good clarity, a decent level of bass and great sound staging but where it truly impressed was in its 3D Sound Stage setting that elevates familiar tracks into personalised concerts where you quite literally feel like you’re right in the middle of a live performance though this is contingent on the quality of the audio track
Joanna Wang’s seminal ‘Vincent’ and her debut ‘Start from Here’ were exquisitely handled with her lustrous voice sounding rich and clear with the added 3D sound staging lending it a new level of rich immersion.
Listening to Bear McCreary’s ‘Prelude to War’ with 3D Sound Stage mode on was a real treat as well with the taiko drums and hefty percussion sounding vivid as if the drummers were performing right in front of me. This particular mode alone is easily worth the price of entry.
The provided ANC was sufficient to tackle all the most irksome background noise so it was able to mull out the dull hum of an air conditioner and reduce the conversation of a coffee shop to a dull murmur though there are contenders in the market with better ANC. Ambient mode does the opposite, allowing a modicum of external noise to filter in which comes in handy when you’re navigating traffic on foot outdoors.
Perhaps the most unique draw here is its UVnano tech which, according to LG, has been independently verified as to the efficacy of its bacteria eradicating qualities but outside of an actual lab, end users aren’t able to independently verify that the earbuds are germ free. Nevertheless, it’s a nice feature to have that offers a bit of extra peace of mind.
Overall battery life is decent with the earbuds officially rated for 6 hours of usage with ANC on and 15 hours in total including the charging case which is more than sufficient for a one-way flight to Vegas from Singapore though you can eke out more by disabling the ANC.
Under actual usage scenarios, our LG Tone Free FP8 offered similar endurance with about 5 hours and 45 minutes of usage time after running through a few calls and an extensive 80’s Spotify playlist.
Charging it takes a couple of hours though a 5-minute charge is able to offer an hour worth of playback time. Oddly enough, battery drain is not consistent even when both earbuds are in use at the same time and the right earbud often drains juice faster than the left. This doesn’t affect functionality but it’s something quirky to note.
Should you buy the LG Tone Free FP8 wireless earbuds?
The LG Tone Free FP8 wireless earbuds present a unique proposition that no other offering can currently match in the market.
Not only do you get a means to clean your earbuds of bacteria via their UVnano tech but also gain access to good acoustic performance that’s further elevated by an impressive 3D Sound Stage mode. Perhaps the only quibble here is call quality but if you’re not using this for work or classes, it’s a delightful acquisition for music and movies.
LG Tone Free FP8 review sample courtesy of LG Malaysia. For more details visit https://www.lg.com/my/headphones/lg-tone-fp8
LG Tone Free FP8
LG Tone Free FP8
The LG Tone Free FP8 offers a unique proposition with an unusual UVnano cleaning feature that no other wireless earbud has along with solid audio performance and an impressive 3D Sound Stage mode that lends new dimensional depth to music
Innovative UVnano LED cleaning feature
Impressive 3D Sound Stage mode
Case is hard to open one-handed
No wireless charging
Finicky touch controls