If you like to hold the inline mic on your wired headphones close to your mouth during calls to ensure you could be easily heard without shouting, LG’s updated Tone Free wireless earbuds now offer similar functionality to help keep your conversations private in public.
Today LG announced three new additions to its Tone Free wireless earbuds lineup including the FP5, FP8, and FP9. Features and pricing vary between the three models, but they all include a useful new feature called Whispering Mode that allows the right earbud to be removed and held close to the mouth as a dedicated microphone during phone calls without the call being paused or ended. This allows the user to not only talk quieter in public for privacy reasons but also be better heard in noisy environments with the mic so close to their mouths.
LG has also borrowed a feature introduced on the Bowers & Wilkins PI7 wireless earbuds where the charging case can be connected to and used as a wireless Bluetooth transmitter for devices lacking that functionality. It’s only available on the Tone Free FP9 earbuds, but it means the buds can be used with devices like the Nintendo Switch that, for some reason, still don’t offer that functionality natively.
The hallmark sterilization feature of the original LG Tone Free wireless earbuds is still offered, but only the high-end FP9 and mid-range FP8 now offer the feature, which uses UV light to kill bacteria while the buds are stored away in the case and the case is actively charging. Both the FP9 and FP5 charging cases need to be plugged into a cable to charge, but the FP8 does offer the convenience of wireless charging.
Battery life for both the FP9 and FP8 models is rated at 10 hours for the earbuds themselves with active noise canceling turned off, which can be boosted to a total of 24 hours when paired with their charging cases if you’re away from a power source for a prolonged period. For the FP5, that drops to eight hours on buds alone, or up to 22 hours with the case.
LG hasn’t revealed pricing info yet, but the original Tone Free’s sold for $200, so you can expect the high-end FP9s to be priced similarly, with the FP8 and FP5 hopefully being slightly more affordable. As for availability, LG says the Tone Free FP series “will be available starting this month in key markets,” but you can also expect broader availability before the year is out.