LG TONE Free UFP8 Wireless Bluetooth Noise-Cancelling Earbuds review: The perfect blend of practical and gorgeous with stunning audio and fantastic features – James Ide
Korean electronics giants LG didn’t just slap their logo on a standard pair of buds and call it a day, they sought to push the envelope with their LG TONE Free Series.
I was very impressed with the previous FN7 model and didn’t think much could be done to surpass them, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the LG TONE Free UFP8 Wireless Bluetooth Noise-Cancelling Earbuds.
The UFP8 comes in three colours: Pearl White, Haze Gold and Charcoal Black and are almost completely monotone which looks smart and stylish.
The UFP8 are some of the most compact buds I’ve ever used, with a very short stem making them a subtle pair of buds to wear.
Despite their small size and weighing only 5.2g each, they are remarkably solid – made of only durable plastic and thankfully light enough to survive a few drops without a scratch.
The buds follow an ergonomic conch-shaped or bean-like design that provides very comfortable long-term use while snugly fitting in most ears without the risk of falling out, making them great for the gym or being out and about.
They feature medical-grade ear gels – non-toxic, hypoallergenic silicone coupled with the UV cleaning will keep them clean and prevent irritation to your ears.
However, the silicone tips are very thin and can flip inside out when you take them out of your ear, this isn’t a big deal just something you need to be aware of.
These tips in addition to the low weight, slightly curved ergonomic design made these very comfortable to wear from the start of my day, then my workday in the office, and all the way home.
Rather than the standard small plastic box of a charging case, the UP8 offers a distinctive circular, hockey puck-like, flip-top design.
The case stores, charges and even cleans the buds, while the round shape looks eye-catching yet tasteful it’s also easy to store.
Featuring one USB-C port on the back for charging and no pairing or on-off buttons in sight, as well as minimal branding with just the model “Tone” appearing on the top of the case making this a simple and elegant design.
The case features an LED indicator on the front that lets you know the approximate level of charge and weighs a impressive 3.9g
The Case and buds feature very small but powerful magnetic pins that allow the buds to lock into place when you are putting them away, meaning they won’t rattle around in the case and stand very little chance of falling out, keeping them safe and secure.
Once you open the case you can see two blue lights, highlighting the buds nicely and indicating the UV light is active.
Connecting to the UFP8 was the easiest pairing I’ve ever had do. After just opening the case and my device found the buds straight away with no issues.
The buds use Bluetooth 5.2 with Google Fast Pair Service which uses less battery to discover and maintain a stable connection.
They worked seamlessly with my Android phones, PC and Mac with no pairing button needing to be pressed.
You can even connect the buds to multiple devices simultaneously with Multipoint pairing, this meant I could listen to music while working without having to worry about missing phone calls and Whatsapp notifications to keep you connected to the outside world.
As I mentioned in my FN-7 Review I am very impressed with the number of options and detail with the LG Tone Free app.
The app includes a detailed battery indicator, equalizer settings between 5 pre-sets Immersive, Natural, Bass Boost, Treble Boost, and 3D Sound Stage or you could set up to two customs equalizer settings.
There are also Touch controls reminders, as well as the ability to customise the touch control to your liking.
You can also set the Active Noise Cancelling controls between High, low, and off but whenever I used the ANC, I always had it on High.
The improved Active Noise cancellation in the UFP8’s is next level, it did a brilliant job reducing noise from the London Underground, and cutting down a busy office to a dull background sound, while taking the edge off much more abrasive, louder sounds like car horns, screaming kids and barking.
And I can’t forget the always handy ‘Find My Earbuds’ option which when selected will cause either one or both buds to beep, as long as they are within Bluetooth range and still have some battery remaining, which is very handy as losing these tiny buds is very easy to do.
You can also switch on ambient sound to allow you to hear your surroundings, with the app you can also switch between two different types of ambient sound. One mode is better for listening to surroundings and the other is better for picking up voices.
The dinky 8mm driver, punches well above its weight pumping out super clean audio with impressive clarity, mid and treble levels sounding sharp with no rattles or tinny sound.
The bass was good without any distortion or being overpowering, sounds were rich and warm, overall the audio quality was really impressive and an improvement over the previous FN7s.
Utilising 3 mics – outer, inner and voice mic at the tip of the neck – help to clearly pick up your own voice while reducing any ambient noise, and this worked very well. One of those mics is for the Active noise-cancelling technology.
The audio pickup from the mics was incredibly clear and still managed to hold its own in a busy office and street with my voice still distinct and crisp making these buds great for calls and meetings on the go.
The battery life is remarkable, especially for such a compact set of buds, with an overall 24 hours from a full charge which means these earbuds will keep up with you and beyond.
Each bud holds up to 10 hours of battery life with the case offering an additional 14 hours. Of course, using features like noise cancellation will reduce this to around 15 hours.
They also benefit from fast charging meaning you can have one hour’s charge from just 5 minutes, and they will be fully charged and ready to go in around an hour, which is very handy if like me you’re always forgetting to charge your buds before you leave the house.
Charging can be done via USB-C or wireless charging which is helpful if you are short on USB ports.
Both left and right buds use touch control UFP8 and uses click feedback so you know when you are pressing them and that your touches have been registered.
The touch control can also be locked, which is handy if you are at the gym, and you need to adjust the buds without interrupting your jam.
The buds also automatically pause whatever you are playing when you take them out, ensuring you don’t miss a second and also meaning you don’t have to do the awkward rummage in your pocket to find, unlock your phone and pause whatever you’re listening to.
The standout feature of most on the LG Tone range is the UV Nano technology that ingeniously uses UV light to kill 99% of bacteria on the buds, cleaning them so they are fresh and ready every time you use them.
Given most of us never give much thought to when the last time we cleaned our earbuds this is a fantastic idea and it really works.
They are rated IPX 4 which protects from splashing water, so it’ll be fine for sweat and if you are caught in light rain.
Retailing at an RRP of £149.98 is incredible value for money considering how packed full of features these are as well as the audio quality alone.
I honestly didn’t know how the UFP8 would surpass one of my favourite buds the FN-7’s but the UFP8’s completely blew it out of the water.
While the UV feature may seem like a gimmick it’s a useful inclusion for hygiene and comfort, and it’s only one of the many brilliant aspects of these buds.
A premium quality set of wireless earbuds that feature crisp audio quality, an excellent set of mics, next level ANC and a much more compact and comfortable shape as well as a genuinely useful app just make these the best buds I’ve ever used.
While earbuds may come in all shapes and sizes, you’d be hard-pressed to find a set as sophisticated in such a small package as the LG TONE Free UFP8 Wireless UV Earbuds.
The LG TONE Free UFP8 Wireless Bluetooth Noise-Cancelling Earbuds are available now for £149.98
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