They look like an average pair of earbuds with a regular charging case, but a hidden feature has got one tech reviewer very excited.
The LG Tone Free FP9 earbuds might be some of the most innovative earbuds, coming soon to the Australian market. Though they’re equipped with many features that we’ve seen before and the name is a bit of a mouthful, one seriously game-changing function sets them apart from the crowd.
When it comes to the look of this product it seems like your average pair of bluetooth earbuds, with handy touch controls. They’re highly pocketable with a lightweight, smooth pebble-esque charging case that the earphones magnetically click into and they’re charged via a USB to USB-C cable.
Once paired with any device the buds offer up some deep yet balanced bass tones and noticeable spatial audio playback that reproduces plenty of musical nuance.
And when I said any device I really do mean any. The FP9’s mind-blowing feature is that the earbuds’ charging case is capable of becoming a bluetooth transmitter to make non-wireless devices bluetooth compatible. I’m talking about in-flight entertainment, your treadmill, gaming controller or even an old school iPod.
Make any device bluetooth compatible
All you have to do is connect the included USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack cable into the earbud’s case and plug the 3.5mm end into the headphone jack of the device you want to bluetooth-ify. Yes, I decided I had to make up a word for this sorcery.
Due to lack of air travel lately and no access to in-flight entertainment I decided to bluetooth-ify a form of entertainment I’ve also neglected for the past few years. My old iPod – wired only, no built-in speaker, no touchscreen.
I plugged the cable into where I’d usually plug my wired earphones, toggled on the bluetooth-ify switch on the earbud’s case and instantly I was listening to a myriad of tunes from my past. I’m talking U2, Panic at the Disco, Wolfmother and Bloc Party.
And although obviously this renders the iPod a little less than pocketable, what a delight it was to walk upwards of three rooms away from my iPod, around a corner, down a flight of stairs and into my bedroom while still listening wirelessly. The force is strong with this one folks and so is its active noise cancellation.
Active noise cancellation
To test this I hung out in the lounge where my dad was watching the Australian Open. Now you might be thinking, tennis isn’t exactly a loud sport. Well, it sure is periodically and the crowd certainly lets loose once a point is scored. And with the active noise cancellation turned on, while listening to music, the ruckus was mostly drowned out and I was overall really pleased with the earbud’s noise cancellation performance.
Additionally, the earbuds have two different levels of active noise cancellation to choose from, and alternatively when you want to hear some background sounds, there are two different ambient modes that allow you to still hear people talking or what’s going on around you.
The only downside here is you need to go out of your way to get the free LG app to really get in the nitty gritty and tweak the audio experience of the buds (although they’re great out of the box). Maybe I’m just lazy but I guess the app is a great bonus because, like many other brands, it allows you to customise other features such as the EQ levels.
The earbuds themselves can last up to 10 hours and then up to 24 hours if you use the case to periodically recharge them. They’re also equipped with a fast charge feature which offers up to 60 minutes of playback time from a quick five-minute charge.
I’ve certainly enjoyed using these but don’t get it twisted – these earbuds aren’t on the Australian market yet. Although there are many LG earbuds for sale with very similar names and features, they are all lacking this bluetooth magic.
Worth the purchase?
I was lucky enough to get my hands on these early but the Aussie release date and RRP is unfortunately yet to be determined. However, you will find the LG Tone Free FP9 are already being sold in America for around $US200. Going off this, I can only speculate that the Australian retail price will be somewhere around the $300 price point. This leans a little on the expensive side of wireless earbuds, however, I think the plug-in bluetooth adaptor functionality makes up for this possible price point.