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LG takes on the AirPods Pro with its Tone Free FN7 ANC

LG Tone Free FN7 active noise canceling true wireless earbuds

Apple’s AirPods Pro weren’t the first true wireless earbuds to feature active noise cancellation (ANC), but since their debut, every other maker of true wireless earbuds has been racing to catch up. The latest to do so is LG, which has launched the $180 Tone Free FN7 — a set of true wireless earbuds that share a lot of features in common with the $150 Tone Free FN6, but with the critical addition of ANC. To celebrate the launch (and presumably take advantage of the holiday shopping season), LG-authorized dealers and are selling the new earbuds for just $150 through December 27, while supplies last.

The Tone Free FN7 continue LG’s relationship with Meridian Audio, leveraging the company’s signal-processing know-how to “re-create a realistic soundstage that simulates the experience of listening to real loudspeakers while also delivering vocals with pristine clarity, completely immersing the listener,” according to a press release. That’s the same description LG used to qualify the acoustics of the FN6, but in our review, we discovered this was something of an overhyped promise. Still, the FN7 have been tweaked to offer deeper bass than the FN6, according to LG, so they may sound better. EQ can be tweaked inside the LG Tone Free app, which also has an earbud-finder feature.

Another area we felt was lacking on the FN6 was battery life. Six hours between charges and 18 hours total with the charging case certainly didn’t put the FN6 anywhere near the top in terms of battery life. The FN7’s battery claims are definitely better at seven hours per charge and 21 hours total with the case, but those numbers are with ANC off. Turn it on and they plunge to five hours and 15 hours, respectively.

LG Tone Free FN7 active noise canceling true wireless earbuds

We’re hopeful that the FN7 delivers when it comes to ANC, its key feature. LG says it uses up to three microphones per earbud to detect and cancel unwanted sounds, but stops short of saying that it is a hybrid ANC system, like the kind used in the AirPods Pro and the Jabra Elite 85t, both of which are highly effective.

LG points to improved touch controls on the FN7, which is good news — we found the FN6 controls to be imprecise and not always that responsive. The FN7 maintain the same level of water protection (IPX4) and also offer wireless charging for the case.

If you liked the idea of the FN6’s UVnano bacteria-killing charging case, that’s the one feature that doesn’t appear to have made the transition to the FN7.

Will the new Tone Free earbuds prove to be worth the extra cash? We’ll let you know as soon as we get a chance to give them a spin.

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Simon Cohen
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like spatial…
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