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LG Tone Free T90Q: analysis in two minutes
The LG Tone Free T90Q are the latest iteration of LG's Tone Free line of true wireless headphones.
We were impressed with the very similar LG Tone Free FP8, released in April 2022. The only major difference here, though, is that the T90Q now includes Dolby Atmos head-tracking support, delivering an immersive spatial audio-like listening experience. from Apple on AirPods. professional 2
We tested this when the T90Q first launched and wrote a very complementary feature detailing how happy we were with LG's immersive head tracking solution compared to our AirPods Pro. But then again, that's the whole story: how They work at all levels.
Another change for the T90Q (compared to the slightly older FP8) is that you can now stream Bluetooth audio from analog sources via the 3,5mm port on the charging case. It's a nice feature, although not everyone will need it.
These buds clearly position themselves as AirPods competitors with their stem-like design and we found them extremely comfortable for all-day wear. They come in a compact charging case with UV technology inside which LG says kills bacteria on the earbuds' silicone tips. (Is this really the case? We assume so, it must be. Did we want to think about it? Maybe not.)
Elsewhere, LG gets top marks for its app, which is packed with features and among the simplest we've ever used. You'll find Meridian EQ settings, ANC controls, a fit test, and more.
Listening to music with the LG Tone Free T90Q headphones is nice, but that's mainly because of the Dolby Atmos features. Sound quality and noise cancellation are good, but fall short of the levels of some of the best true wireless earbuds we've tested.
Again, these headphones are cheaper than their higher-end rivals, and most people will be impressed with the immersive audio experience, fit, and all the features of LG's full app. Let's take a closer look at the LG Tone Free T90Q true wireless earbuds.
LG's T90Qs are device-independent AirPods competitors, with their head-tracking Dolby-Atmos sound and those stems (Image credit: Future)
LG Tone Free T90Q: price and release date
- Posted in September 2022
- Cost €229.99 / €199.98
The LG Tone Free T90Q true wireless earphones launched in September 2022 in the US, UK and EU markets, but we don't have any confirmation on their availability in Australia yet.
They retail for $229,99/$199,98, though it's worth mentioning that these buds were already discounted at the time of writing, at $179,99/$149,98. That makes them a bit more expensive than the LG Tone Free FP8 that preceded them, but significantly cheaper than the AirPods Pro 2 - nearly $100 / $100 cheaper, in fact.
At this lower, discounted price, they're in a similar price range to the JBL Live Pro 2 headphones and Huawei Freebuds Pro 2. In our opinion, this speaks to the value of the LG Tone Free T90Q, as the offering of Surround sound here beats those two buttons, though the competitors arguably score better in terms of overall audio. So it's not that simple...
The case is compact and even includes a UV light feature to "clean" 99,9% of bacteria from the tips of your ears (Image credit: Future)
LG Tone Free T90Q: features
- Touch controls work fine
- the app is fantastic
- 9 hours of decent battery from buds
At the top of the temples, there are touch controls. Finding the right place to activate them is tricky at first, but we love that when you use them there's a little confirmation sound, like a soft button press. All the basics are covered here, including play/pause, calls, and ANC modes, but within the app you can change them to your liking.
In that sense, the LG Tone Free T90Q application is among the most complete that we have tested. Here you will find dozens of options to customize your headphones, all from a clean and easy-to-use interface.
There's a fit test, which ensures you have the correct size earbud and a good seal for ANC, multi-point pairing setups, a find my headphones feature, auto play/pause on/off options, ANC controls, Dolby. Atmos head tracking mode and equalizer settings.
You'll get 9 hours of battery life from the headphones with ANC and Dolby Atmos turned off and 29 hours in total if you also include the charging case. With ANC on you'll get around 5 hours, which is passable rather than great, though there's a handy quick-charge feature that'll get you around an hour of gameplay for around five minutes of charging. A handy LED indicator on the side of the case changes from green when fully charged to yellow to red when empty.
Another cool feature of the LG Tone Free T90Q charging case is that you can turn it into a Bluetooth transmitter. Simply plug one of the cables included in the box and then into a digital or analog audio source. Let's say you're on a plane and you don't want to use the free wired headphones the airline provides. No problem! You can simply plug in the box and listen with your T90Q headphones.
There's multipoint pairing here, so you can connect the headphones to both a phone and a laptop if you need to. It's handy for working and moving between calls and music streaming, and the app makes it easy to understand by showing the different devices you're connected to.
The top of the stems is where you'll find the touch controls. Finding the right spot is hard at first, but when you do, there's a reassuring confirmation sound. (Image credit: Future)
LG Tone Free T90Q: design
- AirPods-style stems
- super comfortable
- The charging case is compact.
The LG Tone Free T90Q are small, light at 5.3g and super comfortable to wear. They have a soft design with silicone tips that fit into the ear canal and a stem that hangs outside the ear. If you've seen or used Apple's AirPods, you'll be very familiar with this aesthetic and feel.
The LG Tone Free T90Q has an IPX4 water resistance rating, which means you can't shower in them, but they should withstand sweat while you work out. Along those lines, we've used the LG Tone Free T90Q for various workouts, and while they did loosen up a bit during a jog, we were impressed with how well they fit considering they're not marketed as exercise or fitness buds.
The accompanying charging case has a small circular pebble-like design, a welcome change from all the pillbox-like cases we've tested recently. The Buds are part of LG's UVnano range, which means the charging case contains ultraviolet light which LG claims can "clean" 99,9% of bacteria from the ear tips of the Buds. We are conflicted as to whether this is a useful addition or a gimmick. (Opening the case to see the bright blue light is cool though.)
The small, circular, pebble-shaped design of the case is pocket-sized and a welcome change from the ubiquitous pillbox shape of AirPods. (Image credit: Future)
LG Tone Free T90Q: sound quality and ANC
- Dolby spatial audio technology is fantastic
- The sound is good, but it's audiophile quality tone.
- ANC is acceptable rather than excellent
The LG Tone Free T90Q are the first wireless headphones to use Dolby Atmos head tracking technology. That means these buttons can follow the movements of your head, altering the soundstage of the track, movie or video game so you feel truly immersed (Apple's higher-end AirPods can do that too, of course, but you need stream from an Apple device to get improved head tracking (not the case here).
We listened to Little Dragon's Spatial Audio Frisco track through Apple Music and were really surprised by how much it felt to see the band perform live when Dolby Atmos was turned on. The bass thumped all around us, but when we moved our heads to the left, the right button dominated, as if we had turned our heads away from the stage.
The feature is a rival to Apple's spatial audio feature with head tracking, which you'll find on its top-tier AirPods Pro (XNUMXst or XNUMXnd generation), AirPods Max, AirPods (XNUMXrd generation only), and Beats Fit Pro. However, if we had to choose, we prefer LG's solution. Why? We found Apple's proposition more subtle and, let's face it, less fun, though it's worth mentioning that not everyone will appreciate this feature as much as we do and might consider it a novelty rather than a necessity. .
The EQ settings offered in the app work with Meridian and you can choose between Immersive, Natural, Bass Boost, Treble Boost or 3D Sound Stage. There's a huge difference between each of them, delivering a completely different listening experience every time. We found Bass Boost to be powerful and immersive and create a great sense of space with you in the center. You can also customize the equalizer, with no less than eight low, mid, and high frequency sliders to play with.
Overall, each option features fun, enthusiastic performance, rather than a collection of built-in high-fidelity sound profiles. Nuance, extra increments of detail, and refinement aren't the name of the game here—the sound is good quality, but it's not for the audiophile in your life.
Active noise cancellation works well. The buttons almost completely mute the sound of a purring fan next to us as we type this, as well as conversation from across the room. Louder sounds are attenuated, but will pass. That's to be expected though and only a few headphones, like the Bose QuietComfort 2 headphones, offer a vastly improved experience. An ambient sound mode is useful, and you can choose between Listen mode, which lets any ambient noise through, or Talk mode, which makes voices especially clear.
Call quality is decent, and it works noticeably better indoors where there's less competitive sound. In these cases, the buds struggle a bit but still retain their voice on the other end. This is not a…