LG's self-cleaning earbuds now available in the US: Should you buy it?

COVID-19 pandemic has made the masses more aware of the importance of sanitization that has also seeped into the products we use. Virtually anything that can be advertised as having better protection from germs is a hit these days. Right from UV smartphone sanitizers and wireless charging stations which double as UV sanitizers to the self-sanitizing door handle and air humidifier – if the pitch is right, a product will sell like hotcakes.

So, how about a pair of earbuds that boast self-sanitizing feature? Yes, LG has announced the availability of self-cleaning true wireless earbuds – dubbed Tone Free HBS-FN6 Wireless Earbuds for the US market at a suggested price tag of $149.99 in two color options – black or white.

LG Tone Free HBS-FN6 earbuds

LG has created a pair of wireless earbuds that are sanitized inside the bundled charging case. According to the South Korean electronics giant, studies have shown that there are more bacteria in the earbuds than on your kitchen cutting board. The technology used in the earbuds is the contemporary UV light that kills 99.9 percent of germs that can cause ear infections.

When the buds are placed inside the charging case, the ultraviolet light beams on the silicon ear tips and the inner driver mesh to eliminate any resident germs. Ten minutes inside the case are effective in eradicating microorganisms from the LG earbuds without any outside assistance. That said, the sanitization is limited to killing germs and it won't remove physical dirt or earwax accumulated inside the earbuds or on the outer surface.

The Tone Free HBS-FN6 earbuds come with the UVnano case which increases the playback time by 12 hours for the earbuds while the standalone charge on earbuds provides six hours of use. So, they will indeed last a long time before you need to juice them up again for the extended audio listening experience. Also, syncing the earbuds with the Tone Free app will bring up all the customizations like equalizer and bass boost to your fingertips.

Will the audio quality impress?

Audiophiles will go any length to satiate the listening pleasure and get their hands on earbuds which sound just perfect. LG has this on the priority list as they've been known to provide a satisfying listening experience for audio fanatics. For the HBS-FN6 Wireless Earbuds, the company has used the Meridian Audio technology and the Headphone Spatial Processing technology that deliver a very lifelike soundstage with a focus on crisp vocals.

Courtesy Meridian, the earbuds have customized equalizer sound settings, having four presets, ideal of audiophiles who prefer realistic and balanced audio beaming in their ears. That is complemented well by the Bass Boost and Treble boost features for those who like to listen to groovy tracks.

They come with IPX4 rating which makes them safe for use while in the rain or working out. The touch assisted playback controls add to the audio experience and they also support Google Assistant and Siri (via Voice Command mode) for hands-free navigation – if that's your thing. A nifty feature called 'Find My Earbuds' allows you to locate the buds in case you misplace them, by playing a beeping sound.

One downside that the Tone Free HBS-FN6 earbuds have is the lack of active noise canceling which most high-rated true wireless earbuds have. However, the design of the earbuds is such that you won't complain much. There is also the one-touch access ambient sound mode which comes handy while crossing streets or when you want to listen to announcements at the airport.

Is sanitizing cradle worth the money?

Do you really need a charging cradle that eliminates germs from your earbuds? Well, yes and no. You actually need to assess how you'll be using the earbuds – if multiple individuals (people in your family or friends) are going to use them, it may be a good idea. Also, the ease of use is one factor that answers the query. For someone who doesn't bother much about cleaning the gadgets, this added feature is definitely an advantage since other true wireless earbuds don't have it.

If you clean your gadgets and earbuds on a regular basis, then you can skip the Tone Free HBS-FN6 earbuds which are priced at $149.99 and go for the $99.99 Tone Free HBS-FN4 True Wireless Earbuds having the same functions as that of the Tone Free HBS-FN6 except for the UV sanitization feature and Wireless Case Charging option. Another good bet is the $129.99 Tone Free HBS-FN5W True Wireless Earbuds which comes with the wireless case charging but lacks the UV sanitizing function.

If you give crisp audio quality or active noise cancellation high weightage and don't mind missing the UV sanitization add-on – there are some more good options. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 are bang for the buck for their sheer audio quality. Another good option for comfortable wearing aesthetics is the Jabra Elite 75T which has a massive 28 hours of combined battery life. And if you are looking for a viable option to the LG Tone Free HBS-FN6 earbuds, then the Sony WF 1000XM3 priced at $200 is a no brainer.