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LG announces new Tone Free wireless earbuds with self-cleaning charging case

Cleanliness is next to godliness, so LG’s latest true wireless efforts must be getting closer to divinity with their set of features.

After scoring well with their previous earbuds, LG has announced the TONE Free FP9 and FP8 earbuds with a healthy list of features that includes Meridian-tuned sound, active noise cancellation and that “hygiene-boosting” UVnano charging case.

LG says that fit and comfort have been the top priorities for the latest earbuds. The South Korean electronics giant has collaborated with a ergonomic design company to analyse hundreds of ears to create an earbud stem that shaves 4.4mm off the previous model for a better fit, Both the FP9 and FP8 are rated at IPX4, so should be able to ward off sweat from exercise and be used in wet conditions.

Active noise cancellation serves to reduce the impact of low-frequency sounds, while there are three microphones integrated to reduce the impact of external sounds for better call quality. A new Whispering Mode allows the user to hold the right earbud close to their mouths to act as a dedicated microphone for even more clarity and more privacy when taking calls.

Like seemingly every other headphone brand, LG is also getting in on 3D sound with Meridian Audio’s Headphone Spatial Processing. It aims to envelop the listener with sound from all directions for an immersive sound mix. Another enhancement is 3D Sound Stage, which expands the soundstage via spatial up-mixing to bring users “more lifelike audio”

Sound quality is said to have received an uptick, with larger drivers and diaphragms now featuring silicone edging for more flexibility and movement, which LG says allows the new TONE Free models to deliver more powerful bass without affecting detail or clarity.

The auto-cleaning UVnano charging case is back to reduce bacteria on the earbuds’ speaker mesh by 99.9% after just five minutes of charging. Both new models also feature medical-grade, hypoallergenic ear gels that were included on previous earbuds to reduce the risk of skin irritations in the ear canal. No other brand currently offers this level of protection against bacteria.

Battery life has been extended to 10 hours and 24 hours in total. Fast charging is supported too, with five minutes producing an extra hour of playback. Wireless charging is included, but only the FP8 model has that feature, not the FP9.

Another new feature is LG’s version of the audio retransmission that we saw on the B&W PI7 earbuds. The Plug & Wireless feature on the FP9 allows the case to double as a wireless dongle, so you can plug it into a smartphone, gaming console or other compatible device via the USB-C to AUX cable, and the case will retransmit sound to the earbuds.

Download the TONE Free app and there’s access to EQ settings, Ambient Sound mode, customisation over touch controls and Find My Earbuds to locate either earbud if they go missing. Other special settings can be accessed through the app, such as Whispering Mode and Game Mode.

Availability of the new LG TONE Free FP series begins July 2021, with a range of colour options to choose from such as Charcoal Black, Pearl White and Haze Gold.

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