Specs: In-ear buds, Active Noise Cancellation, equalisers, Bluetooth 5.0, UVnano, 55mAh buds, 390 mAh case capacity, IPX4, 56 grams
Price: Rs 18,990
Colour: Black, White
In the box: Buds with charging case, USB Type-C cable
Wireless earbuds with charging case are many but one with UV light for sanitisation sounds interesting, especially given the COVID-19 pandemic. The LG Tone HSB-FN 7 features one but it isn't certified to work against novel-coronavirus. All it can do is kill 99.9 per cent of bacteria from the speaker mesh in ten minutes. But this only works when the buds are placed in the case and the latter is put on charge. However, given fairly good battery backup of all the buds, including this one, I have a habit of plugging the case to charge every third-fourth day (four-five hours of usage daily). Sadly, there is no way of customising this feature. Even with the limitations, I would say it's better than nothing.
LG Tone HBS-FN7, just like all new age buds, has two earbuds sitting neatly in a charging cradle (also referred to as case as it protects them). Of the various shapes, LG has opted for a circular shaped case. The matte, soft black finish of the charging cradle awards it a premium look and feel. In complete contrast, the buds are glossy back. The small button on the left side comes handy to free pairing and the LED indicator at the front shows charge levels. There is a small UVnano indicator which illuminates when plugged to charge stating the speaker mesh is being cleaned of bacteria.
Unlike many earbuds in the market that require the app to be paired with an Apple device, LG Tone HBS-FN7 instantly pairs from the Bluetooth settings. However, the LG Tone Free app helped me in understanding the functionally (touch controls) and came in handy to edit controls and access equalisers. Once I got the hang of the controls, I found it convenient to use. By default, a single tap answers the call, double-tap ends the call and tap and hold switches between ambient noise and noise cancellation. While these settings can't be tweaked, the ones for music can be. For music, I could choose between play, previous, next, voice command, volume up, volume down and off. I assigned volume up to the right bud - single tap, volume down to right bud - double-tap. Play/stop to left bud - single tap, and voice command to left bud - double-tap. Next and previous to triple tap on the left and right buds, respectively.
The call clarity was nothing to complain about. And as music is about personal choice, I found the LG Tone HBS-FN 7 rather impressive (mostly because of equaliser setting). Under equaliser settings are four preset modes - immersive, bass boost, natural, and treble boost - and two custom modes. While there is a slight difference in audio in all the four, nothing was as per my liking. Natural sounded good when listening to podcasts, talks and bass boost worked with Bollywood songs. I didn't enjoy immersive and treble boost preset. I had customised the two custom equaliser modes on the basis of my playlist.
Active Noise cancellation that reduces the surrounding sound complements the experience. The one on LG Tone HBS-FN 7 works at par with some of the leading buds. However, I wasn't impressed with the ambient sound.
Overall, the LG Tone HSB-FN 7 looks nice and sounds good too. The sanitation feature to kill bacteria is a welcome edition but there is no way to quantify the claim. It faces tough competition from the recently launched Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro for Rs 15,990 that also offers great sound, active noise cancellation minus the UVnano light.