LG's new AirPods killers can clean themselves

LG Tone Free
(Image credit: LG)

Editors' Note: We now have UK pricing for the LG Tone Free earbuds.

LG just took the wraps off of a new set of wireless earbuds ready to take on Apple's AirPods and Samsung's Galaxy Buds. And at least one of the new LG Tone Free earbuds goes to the trouble of cleaning up after itself.

The HBS-FN6 model of the Tone Free earbuds comes with a UVnano case which uses ultraviolet light to clean earbuds as they charge. LG says that the case for this model is designed to eliminate any bacteria or germs that may be on the earbuds.

LG says it was motivated by studies claiming that earbuds harbor more bacteria than a kitchen cutting board. According to the company, the UV light in its case eliminates nearly all of the potential E. coli and S. aureus bacteria from the silicone ear gel and inner mesh of the HBS-FN6 buds.

When not eliminating germs, the case extends the play time for the Tone Free earbuds. Both the HBS-FN6 and the lower-end HBS-FN4 models promise 6 hours of usage when playing music. The charging case adds an additional three charging cycles, extending playback time by 18 hours. Five minutes of charging delivers an hour of music, LG says.

LG Tone Free earbuds

(Image credit: LG)

Other than the UVnano case for the HBS-FN6, there's not much separating the two LG Tone Free models. Both use a canal-type design that promises a comfortable fit, and they boast sound support from Meridian Audio. We haven't had a chance to hear the new earbuds in action for ourselves, but LG is promising an added dimension of sound thanks to Meridian's Headphone Spatial Processing and Digital Signal Processing technologies. LG compares the experience to listening to real loudspeakers, only in earbud form, with immersive clarity.

Both Tone Free models feature customized EQ settings and four presets — Natural, Immersive, Bass Boost and Treble Boost. You'll be able to switch between the different presets depending on whether you want balanced sound, expanded audio, extra punch or clearer vocals.

The HBS-FN6 and HBS-FN4 come in Stylish Black and Modern White colors, and they'll debut in July in both the US and Europe. At £149.99 in the UK, the HBS-FN6 earbuds are the more expensive of the two Tone Free models; the HBS-FN4 earbuds cost £99.99. 

We don't have US pricing, with LG telling us that US prices will be announced closer to launch. Given how companies adjust prices for different markets, though, we'd look for the HBS-FN4 and HBS-FN6 to come in at around $99 and $149.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.