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LG has launched its first true Airpods rival: but there’s a catch

LG’s released its first ever true wireless earbuds to take on the ruling Apple Airpods 2019, but there’s a serious catch.

LG unveiled the Sound Plus Free “premium” true wireless earphones in Korea late last night (UK time). The earbuds have a traditional semi-open, in-ear true wireless design but come with the added perks of Google Assistant and fast charging support.

Google Assistant support is still a rarity in the true wireless market. The support puts them in direct competition with the Apple Airpods, which feature Siri and the newly unveiled Amazon Echo buds, which support Alexa.

The buds also have some on paper impressive audio chops. It’ll use signal processing and advanced tuning technology from Meridian Audio, feature IPX4 waterproof certification and touch controls on each bud.

Related: Best true wireless earbuds 2019

LG has also made a big song and dance about the Tone Plus Free’s battery claiming users’ will be able to get one hour’s listening off a five minute charge. The buds are quoted as offering six hours of music playback off a full charge, which is a step above the 3-4 hour average seen on many competing sets.

We can’t comment on how good they actually sound until we’ve gotten the LG Tone Plus Free in for testing, but the specs are impressive considering the buds 259,999 South Korean won (roughly £175) price tag.

Sound good? Sadly there’s a serious catch: the LG Tone Plus Free are only scheduled for release in Korea at the moment. We’ve reached out to LG to find out if the country will launch the buds in other regions, including the UK, and will update this article when/if we hear back.

The true-wireless earbuds market is an increasingly competitive one. This year we’ve seen pretty much every tech company under the sun target the space.

Samsung launched new Galaxy Buds alongside the Galaxy S10. Huawei launched Huawei Freebuds 3 at the IFA trade Show in Berlin in September. Google’s expected to launch Pixel Buds 2 true-wireless earphones alongside the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL later this month.

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