LG Tone Free FN7 Review: Impressive Sound-Canceling Ability

Sound-canceling true wireless earphones are now all the rage and when it comes to top brands like Sony, Bose, Apple, Sennheiser and a few more companies think of class-leading performance. Active Noise Cancellation, however, has also spread to mid-range segments, allowing users to experience the technology considering almost all price points. Starting in 2021, LG has launched the LG Tone Free FN7 True Wireless earbud which is equipped with ANC and priced like the premium competitors. According to the company, the earphones are priced at Rs 18,990, though LG’s own website lists it at Rs 19,990 which is the same price as the undisputed noise-canceling champ, the Sony WF-1000XM3. Although the LG Tone Free FN7 comes with some of the standard features that you often see in real wireless earbuds, they stand out because they come with UVnano disinfection technology that can get rid of 99 percent of the bacteria in the bud. Let’s see how these earphones perform and rent against the competition.

Construction and comfort

LG Tone Free FN7

The LG Tone Free FN7 has a compact-mirror-shaped, round charging case that easily fits into most pockets without blowing too much. Earphones come in two color variants – black and white. The black variant has a matte finish while the white variant has a glossy finish. We like the matte finish, but we got the glossy white for review. The case is light in weight, easy to open and bright in blue to highlight its UV disinfection ability. Interestingly, the blue light is for aesthetic purposes only, the actual disinfection only occurs when the case is closed and in charge, which means you can’t see the magic happen.

LG Tone Free FN7

The case has an LED indicator for charging, a UV indicator that lights up when the case is charged, and a USB Type-C charging port. There is also a pair of buttons on the left side of the case The branding is kept to a minimum, with ‘tone’ appearing rather vaguely on top of the case, which gives the case a pretty concise look.

The earphones fit snugly in the case and the magnets that hold them are quite strong. The buds are easy to remove and place. The case closes melodiously with a beautiful snap, which is quite satisfying.

LG Tone Free FN7

Bud’s design doesn’t tickle our fancy. They seemed too ordinary and monotonous to our liking. The earbuds are located in canals whose stems extend downwards. At the top of the stem is a touch button that lets users control music playback and calls. The LG Tone Free FN7 packs are IPX4 water-resistant, so it can withstand some sweat and light splash.

LG Tone Free FN7

The company has provided two extra pairs of silicone tips in the box that users can choose from. The silicone tips, which look quite ordinary on the outside, actually have a spiral design on the inside that enhances the fit and makes the said tip fit the shape of your ears. We found the fit to be extremely comfortable and safe. Even when the reviewer shook his head violently, their earbuds were perfectly in place, which is admirable. It is safe to say that you can use these buds without thinking during gyming, running or other physical activities unless you are sweating a lot.

Each earbud weighs just 5g and is extremely comfortable to wear for long periods of time. LG has done very well with fitting these buds, but we would appreciate some more creativity in the design of the buds.

Tone free app and other features

If you spend about 20K of your hard-earned money on TWS earphones, you’ll find them a great companion app that lets users control the buds to a more granular level. LG offers it through their tone free app which lets you do many things like select an EQ preset, customize the EQ as you need, control the ANC and ambient sound, customize the controls and much more.

LG Tone Free FN7 App

The app has four EQ presets available – Emersive, Bus Boost, Natural and Treble Boost. We’ve found that using natural presets for most genre music is the most enjoyable. You can also apply custom EQ settings, however, when we tried it, there was a weird reverberation of sound no matter which way we went around the frequency settings. So, we chose to stick with natural presets. In the app, you can set the volume, turn on the notification settings, and lock the touchpad. There is also a ‘Find My Earbuds’ command that makes a loud, chirping sound in the wrong place for users to find easily. The app is easy to use and intuitive with minimal clutter.

LG Tone Free FN7

Tone-free FN7’s touch controls are relatively intuitive, but even then, if you feel more comfortable with a different command set, you can customize them via the app. The touch panel has a rather small space at the top of the stem, but it has a raised surface that makes it easy to find. Music playback can be controlled with a single tap, volume can be adjusted with a double tap, and three taps skip a track by default. Pressing and holding both side cycles between ambient sound and ANC.

The buds then have a distinctive feature – UVnano sterilization technology that allegedly kills 99 percent of the earphones’ bacteria. There is no mention of the technology being effective against the novel coronavirus, but it is nonetheless an excellent feature. Our only problem with this is that the case becomes very dirty due to the cleaning process.

Tone Free FN7 also comes with other features like Active Noise Cancellation (as we mentioned above), Ambient Sound, Bluetooth 5.0 AAC and SBC codec support, IPX4 rating, USB-C charging, Mono mode (where you can use a single ) Earbuds independently) and wireless charging. The charging case can be charged wirelessly on any Qi-certified charging pad, including phones that support reverse wireless charging. The two features we missed are the aptX codec support, which allows for better sound quality and connectivity and Bluetooth multipoint connectivity, where you can connect two devices simultaneously to the bud. At the 20K price point, it’s frustrating for LG to ignore these features.

Active Noise Cancellation and Ambient Sound Performance

The LG Tone Free has pleasantly surprised us with the FN7’s noise-canceling capabilities. Earphones emit solid sound, comparable to the class-leading Sony WF-1000XM3. They do a great job of eliminating low-frequency rumble as you might hear on a plane or on the road. The human voice is also suppressed to an impressive degree, however, high-frequency sounds like a fast fan and mechanical keyboard are audible even in ANC. Overall, it’s as good as the Jabra Elite 85t’s ANC and comes close to the Sony and Bose TWS earphones.
The ambient sound is quite decent. The mode expands environmental sounds to a great extent but it can sometimes sound a bit unnatural, which is frustrating for the price. You also have the option of controlling the degree of ambient sound like other premium competitors at this price point.

Sound quality

LG has partnered with Meridian, a British manufacturer of high-performance, high-reliability audio components and systems for the Tone Free FN7. The company has provided its expertise to provide immersive spatial audio and Meridian-tuned EQ mode in the app. The earbuds employ small 6mm drivers that are quite tough heavy-lift. The sound quality, for the most part, is clear, precise and natural. Occasionally, however, earphones lack some dynamic punch, especially in high-middle and high-altitude.

LG Tone Free FN7 (Green) vs. Reference IEM (Orange) Compensation Frequency Graph

The alloy response is well balanced. It has been slightly increased but not at the level where it interferes with mid and vocal clarity. Beats and thumps on EDM, rap and hip-hop tracks are punched while maintaining sound integrity, with lots of drive. Midges are also quite well reproduced. Inside Kanye West’s No Church in the WildSub-base synth hits come in handy while maintaining vocal clarity.

Hi-Mid and Hi, however, are quite exaggerated which is why some genres of music lack punch and drive. Inside Pull me down By Dream Theater, Clapping and hi-hat dull and lazy sound. This affects the overall performance of the track. So, earphones are not ideal for those who like to listen to rock music. Nonetheless, the overall sound quality is quite good, the meridian tuning works well to reproduce an excellent spatial audio effect and the instrument separation is great for the most part.

Battery life

LG Tone Free FN7 has low battery life due to its high price. The earphones are capable of giving a decent 7 hours of battery life from earbuds with an extra 2 charges from the case. However, if you turn on Active Noise Cancellation, these numbers come down to 4-5 hours of play time on the earbud and you have to pay 2 extra charges from the case. These are not impressive figures, and they perform significantly less in this case than competitors such as the Sony WF-1000XM3 and the Jabra Elite 85t.

LG Tone Free FN7

Still, you get fast charging, where just 5 minutes of charging gives you more than an hour of play time, which is quite impressive.

Judgment

Competing with premium offers like LG Tone Free FN7, Sony WF-1000XM3 and Jabra Elite 85t priced at Rs 18,990. While it works well to keep up with the competition in the ANC, the lack of detail in the upper-middle and the height and the average battery life make it difficult for us to recommend these buds on top of the Sony WF-1000XM3, which you will find as of this writing. You can get it cheaper on Amazon at Rs 13,990. However, if UV cleaning technology is something that has caught your eye, then the LG Tone Free FN7 is a nice option to consider. Not only this, with the help of Tone Free app you can get granular control over the earrings and earphones are a great fit for most ears. So, weigh what is important to you in a pair of TWS earphones before plugging in with Tone Free FN7.

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