LG TONE Free FP9 – Hardware Review
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Developer: LG
Publisher: LG
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LG TONE Free FP9 – Hardware Review

Good: Design, Quality, Affordable, Battery life
Bad: Earbuds don't always 'snap' in the case as they should
User Score
8.5
(2 votes)
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Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Wireless earbuds have been gaining a lot of popularity over the last few years and many big brands are trying their best to compress the audio quality of (wireless) headsets into these tiny earbuds. Over the course of the last few months, we have reviewed a few of Sennheiser’s wireless earbuds, and we absolutely loved the different models we were allowed to take out for a spin. Sennheiser opts for a lot of power in their earbuds, and this is noticeable when looking at the slightly bulkier design of said earpieces. Now, LG has renewed its TONE Free series of earbuds, and we were given the chance to try out the FP9 model. Upon opening the box we were treated to a very sleek and beautiful pair of earbuds, and we were very impressed with the features and quality of the set.

Design

We trade in the somewhat rectangular cases of Sennheiser’s earbuds for a more compact circular case for LG’s TONE Free FP9 model. The case has very few bells and whistles, and we prefer it like this. The case only has the TONE series name printed on the top, a small switch on the side, and 2 LED lights. Other than that, the case has a matte coating, and a normal lid to open it. Inside the case, we see the earbuds, the magnetic connections, and also very few extras.

The earpieces themselves also don a matte black coating, and the silicone parts are somewhat similar to every other brand out there. When looking at the part that will actually be visible from the outside of your ears, we get treated to a glossy metallic-looking part, which has no significant markings on it. It looks simple and stylish and not too bombastic. Unlike the Sennheiser earbuds we tried out, the FP9 is very slim and sleek.

Comfort

The comfort is basically what you could expect from premium earbuds. The FP9 earbudsĀ are very light, come with different rubber earpieces and thus you can adapt them to your liking. The case is also very light, holds extra battery charges, and even has the UVNano function that cleans your earbuds when connected to a power source. The latter kills the bacteria that may be on the surface of your earpieces. This is a great function and does make keeping your earbuds clean a lot easier. That doesn’t mean that it will clean actual smudges and dirt, this is still the responsibility of the user. We did notice that we sometimes had to wiggle the earbuds a bit to have them fit perfectly in the case. This was due to the fact that the small magnet already attracts the earbuds before they are completely in their correct position. This only happened sporadically and it wasn’t a real nuisance.

LG’s FP9 earbuds come without any buttons on the actual earbuds themselves. You’ll merely have to tap the side(s) of the earbuds in order to pick up calls, adjust volume settings, activate or deactivate the noise canceling, and so on. This is a very fun way of working with the product, and the fact that you don’t have to press buttons, means you won’t shift the earbuds while they are in your ears. We do have to mention that these earbuds are very sensitive and that readjusting them when they’re in your ear might already trigger the pause function.

Overview

The FP9 is very easy to pair with your Bluetooth device, and more often than not, it will show up in the list of Bluetooth devices immediately. Sometimes the name might not come through as the FP9 and you’ll see a series of random symbols instead. Nonetheless, it’s fairly smooth sailing and after mere moments you’re good to go. The device states it lasts a full 24 hours, but this is actually thanks to the case of the device. The earbuds themselves play for roughly eight hours, but when placing them back in the case, they’ll charge via the case (if this is fully charged as well). This makes it very easy on the go, as the earbuds will recharge while you’re doing something else than listening to music, or watching your favorite shows.

We have talked about the design, the overall functions, and the battery life, but what will matter most for a lot of users is the sound quality. We initially thought, due to the smaller size of these earbuds, that we would have to trade in some sound quality to compensate for the size. The latter proved to be a wrong assumption, as the sound is crystal clear when listening to music, and we were even surprised by the bass quality. A lot of smaller earbuds – wired or wireless – often sound a bit flat when listening to certain genres of music, or when watching an action-packed film. The FP9 handles itself quite nicely in these situations and it was an absolute delight for a multitude of different listening experiences. We could easily use this device for our daily commute, watching our favorite series, or just to unwind with some music. You’ll also be able to turn on the Active Noise Canceling function if you truly want to zone out.

The device also has the function to broadcast music from devices that don’t have Bluetooth, by connecting the case to said device, and allowing the case to transmit to the earbuds. This is a neat function, but we’re not sure if you’ll use this one that much, as most (modern) devices have Bluetooth functionalities. We realize this is actually one of the selling points of the FP9, but we found this to be more of a convenient gimmick to convince users who just needed that final push.

Conclusion

LG’s TONE Free FP9 is an absolute delight to work with. We loved using the device for nearly every possible task that required us to have audio feedback, and its light and nimble design make for a convenient audio solution. While these devices come at a fairly premium price, the FP9 is still affordable for the many functions it offers, and the UVNano function, the ANC possibility and the option to make wired devices wireless are all bonuses included in that price tag. We will find ourselves sporting these earbuds on many different occasions in the future.

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Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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LG TONE Free FP9 - Hardware Review, 8.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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