LG Tone Free T90Q evaluation: Taking a spatial chance at the AirPods Pro, with a little assistance from Dolby

LG Tone Free T90Q seen inside charging case.

LG Tone Free T90 Q evaluation: Taking a spatial chance at the AirPods Pro, with a little aid from Dolby

MSRP $22000

“Hyper-immersive listening and a ridiculous variety of functions.”


  • Head-tracking spatial audio
  • Good ANC and openness
  • Very comfy
  • Wired listening alternative
  • Good call quality
  • AptX Adaptive
  • Bluetooth multipoint


  • May sound too processed for some

Let’s simply get this out of the method: The LG Tone Free T90 Q not just look much like Apple’s renowned AirPods Pro– they use practically all of the AirPods Pro’s signature functions (and numerous it does not have), consisting of head-tracking spatial audio. That latter part is necessary, however, considered that there are a lot of copycat earbuds that look the part however fail where it truly counts.

Apple’s AirPods Pro are understood for lots of things, like their excellent sound canceling and nearly wonderful openness mode. In the last year, much of the focus has actually been positioned on their spatial audio abilities, which utilize a type of head-tracking for an additional level of immersive noise. And while spatial audio may not be everybody’s cup of tea, Apple is no longer the only business serving it up on a set of cordless earbuds

LG has actually generated the huge weapons for its earbuds– the T90 Q are the very first to integrate Dolby Labs’ head-tracking tech. Does that matter? Considered that Dolby basically composed the book on spatial audio when it introduced Dolby Atmos, it definitely needs to matter. Can the vibrant duo that is LG x Dolby top Apple’s aging knight in white armor? Just one method to discover.

What’s in package?

LG Tone Free T90Q with accessories.
Simon Cohen/ Digital Trends

The Tone Free T90 Q ship in a very well recyclable box. Inside you’ll discover the Tone Free currently inside their charging case, with 2 additional sizes of silicone ear suggestions, and 2 cable televisions. Among them will look familiar (the USB-A to USB-C charging cable television), and the other will not (it’s a USB-C to 3.5 mm earphone jack cable television). What’s an earphone cable television carrying out in a cordless earbuds box? Do not stress, it’s not an error, and I’ll discuss in a minute.


LG Tone Free T90Q seen next to Apple AirPods Pro.
LG Tone Free T90 Q (left) and Apple AirPods Pro. Simon Cohen/ Digital Trends

In size, shape, and weight, the Tone Free T90 Q– which are available in black or white– are extremely comparable to the AirPods Pro. If you like the appearance of the AirPods, you’ll feel right at house with the Tone Free.

Like Apple’s buds, these are IPX4 water resistant, which suggests exercises or the periodic splash of water ought to be great– simply do not shower with them or soak them in water. Each bud has a touch-sensitive location near where the stems satisfy the primary real estate for tap controls.

So far, so comparable, however their charging cases could not be more various.

LG Tone Free T90Q charging case sitting on wireless charger with UVnano indicator light turned on.
Simon Cohen/ Digital Trends

Both use cordless charging, however LG goes even more, with “UVnano,” a distinct ultraviolet light inside the case that gets activated whenever you put it on a battery charger or plug it in. LG declares that light can rid the suggestions of the Tone Free from approximately 99.9% of germs. I’ve never ever believed much about ear germs however it kinda makes good sense, and if LG’s system even assists a little in between regular cleansings, I’m all for it.

For a great deal of folks, the huge selling function will be that little switch you can see on the case’s side, something the T90 Q has actually acquired from the Tone Free FP9 Turn it towards the earphone jack icon and it changes the case into a hi-res audio Bluetooth transmitter, which can be utilized with digital and analog audio sources utilizing either of the consisted of cable televisions.

The analog cable television (that a person with the earphone jack on it) is best for aircrafts or older TVs, while the USB-A to USB-C is what you ‘d utilize to get digital audio– state from a PC or Android gadget. Offered the majority of these kinds of digital audio gadgets currently have Bluetooth, the genuine advantage is having the ability to utilize the case’s aptX Adaptive ability due to the fact that PC and Macs seldom utilize this hi-res audio codec.

Using this function pulls power from the case’s internal battery, and there’s no other way to charge and send at the very same time, so keep that in mind if you choose to utilize it someplace where there’s no simple access to an outlet. (Hmm … like an aircraft?)

Comfort, controls, and connections

Close-up of man wearing LG Tone Free T90Q earbuds.
Simon Cohen/ Digital Trends

Thanks to an extremely ergonomic style, and a smooth plastic surface area, the T90 Q are super-comfy. And though they aren’t meant as earbuds for exercising, I discovered them to be rather steady and protected, even at the fitness center. The only times they worked themselves a little loose was when I talked for 10 minutes or more, however I discover most earbuds I utilize do that too. Possibly it’s me.

Using the healthy test constructed into the LG Tone Free app, I might inform that despite the fact that the default medium eartips felt great, I required the plus size for an appropriate seal. I motivate you to do the very same– convenience does not constantly inform the entire story, and an incorrect fit will result in even worse sound quality (particularly in the radio frequencies) and bad active sound cancellation (ANC). By the method, I’ll be loading a great deal of appreciation on the Tone Free app in this evaluation– it’s outstanding.

Regular readers of my earbuds evaluations will understand I normally choose physical buttons over touch controls, however the Tone Free T90 Q’s touch controls are almost best.

I state almost, since the something that’s less than suitable is the size of the touch-sensitive location. It’s situated at the top of the stem, and there’s a little raised bump to assist you find it, however it still takes some accuracy to strike it precisely.

You do, nevertheless, get utilized to it with time. And, luckily, the buds let you understand when you got it right, with an audible and rewarding click that sounds like a button-press.

You get single, double, and triple-tap gestures to deal with, plus a tap-and-hold alternative, for an overall of 8 various commands. By default, they cover all of the fundamentals: play/pause, call answer/end, volume up/down, track avoiding, and triggering your favored ANC mode. Inside the Tone Free app, LG lets you alter these gestures to do whatever you desire, consisting of the alternative to access your phone’s voice assistant.

Wear sensing units let you auto-pause/resume your tunes when you remove/replace an earbud and it works practically quickly. Do not care for that function? You can turn it off in the app.

Getting the T90 Q paired is a breeze for Android users thanks to Google Fast Pair assistance (it’s quite pain-free for iPhones, too). And with Bluetooth Multipoint, you can match 2 gadgets all at once, which works effortlessly in between phones and computer systems. When once again, the Tone Free app kicks it up a notch by offering you a gadget pairing control board of a sort– it aesthetically represents all of the gadgets you’ve formerly matched to the earbuds and lets you handle those connections simply by tapping. You can likewise require the earbuds back into pairing mode from the very same user interface by utilizing the plus indication– so useful!

In my brief time with these earbuds, they showed to have a rock-solid connection, however with Bluetooth 5.3, there ought to be little cause for issue. You can utilize each earbud individually for both calls and music.

That app

These days, getting the most out of a sophisticated set of cordless earbuds indicates having actually a well considered buddy app for iOS and Android, and I believe LG has actually definitely nailed that requirement with its Tone Free app.

It’s not just chock-full of functions– in reality, I can’t consider any that are missing– however it likewise lays those alternatives out in a tidy, user friendly user interface, that does not bury settings within numerous layers of menus, or mess things up with several tabs.

Sound quality

LG Tone Free T90Q seen inside charging case.
Simon Cohen/ Digital Trends

” Immersive” is a word that’s on the edge of being excessive used. If ever there were a set of cordless earbuds that I can securely state will provide you an increased sense of immersion, it’s the LG Tone Free T90 Q. That’s both great, and potentially bad, depending on how you like to listen.

Inside the Tone Free app, there’s an Equalizer Setting area, divided into 3 parts. In the very first part, Meridian, the storied UK audio group that has actually worked thoroughly with LG, contributes 5 EQ presets inside the Tone Free app, consisting of Immersive and 3D Sound Stage.

A 2nd part lets you toggle Dolby Atmos head-tracking– the launching look of Dolby’s active spatial audio system– while the 3rd part lets you set 2 of your own EQ choices utilizing an eight-band graphic equalizer.

These parts run individually, with every one offering you a particular kind of listening experience. The Meridian presets– specifically the Immersive and 3D Sound Stage ones– develop a massive sense of area and existence. The soundstage seems like it extends external in all instructions, with your head in the center of everything. Bass action (and practically whatever else too) is huge and strong. If you like EDM or hip hop, you’ll be persuaded that you’re on the flooring of your preferred club. If you’re at the fitness center, it will provide a brand-new level of energy to your exercises.

LG Tone Free app EQ settings.

Tracks like Edamame by Bbno$ and Blinding Lights by The Weeknd advantage the most from this treatment, however it can likewise provide an energetic increase to arena rock requirements like AC/DC’s Thunderstruck

Immersive mode tends to surge up the high frequencies, sometimes to the point of cruelty. Real to its name, it feels all-inclusive. 3D Sound Stage tones things down a bit and presses out the borders of area even further. They’re both extremely amusing as results, however I discovered they likewise produced listening tiredness after a while, sending me looking for a neutral EQ. That’s where I encountered a little bit of an issue– a neutral EQ is tough to discover.

The closest thing Meridian’s presets provide is something called Natural, which is method less processed for sure, however still visibly boosted. Oddly, when you delve into the Custom area to develop your own presets, the default flat EQ– which one would generally anticipate to sound quite– sounds dull and lifeless. To bring some energy back into the mix needs some deft adjustment of those 8 sliders.

I believe the audiophiles out there currently understand where I’m choosing this: these are not the earbuds for those trying to find pure, untainted stereo noise recreation.

Now let’s discuss Dolby Atmos head-tracking. It’s trippy. It works likewise to the variation that Apple uses on its AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and Gen-3 AirPods, by dealing with the instructions your head is dealing with as “forward.” The minute you turn your head, most of the sound shifts towards the ear that is now in the forward position, which develops the really efficient impression that the noise you’re hearing is originating from that forward position– not from 2 small speakers inside your ears.

That placing isn’t outright: if you keep your head turned, the sensing units will re-align the music in about 5 to 7 seconds, providing you a brand-new forward to work from. It’s most likely not the very best option for the health club, however when resting on a sofa or perhaps on your day-to-day commute it’s kinda enjoyable.

As the name recommends, Dolby Atmos head-tracking is suggested to be a compliment to Dolby Atmos material, whether it’s a film soundtrack or Dolby Atmos Music I discovered that as soon as I allowed it, the impact was offered for all of the audio I listened to, consisting of basic stereo tracks and Television programs. That’s a huge distinction from Apple’s variation, which is strictly restricted to Atmos Music and particular sort of Atmos or Dolby 5.1 soundtracks.

Apple and Dolby’s head-tracking likewise vary in how they handle the real noise. With Dolby, when you turn your head, the majority of the audio remain in the forward position. Apple’s variation is more subtle, often pinning just one or more components, like the vocals or lead guitar, while the remainder of the music follows your relocations. Which is much better? Just like all things audio, it refers taste. For motion pictures, I choose Apple’s system For music, I’m better with Dolby’s.

I discussed it previously, however it’s worth duplicating, for those that appreciate Bluetooth codecs, the T90 Q assistance SBC, AAC, and aptX Adaptive, for approximately 24- bit/96 kHz lossy hi-res audio on gadgets that support it, however for those that do not (or do not support Bluetooth at all), the Tone Free’s creative case is an impressive workaround.

Simply moving the switch links the case to the earbuds, providing you the capability to hear analog or digital music sources through the consisted of cable televisions. I attempted it with my laptop computer’s earphone jack along with the maker’s USB-C port, and both worked simply great, although the audio quality from the USB port was far better.

Noise canceling and openness

LG Tone Free T90Q seen in front of charging case.
Simon Cohen/ Digital Trends

The Tone Free T90 Q do an exceptional task of ANC, dealing really successfully with all however the greatest sound frequencies. Whether it’s the holler of traffic or building, or the consistent droning of a fan, you’ll discover whatever’s a lot quieter with ANC mode switched on.

Between the AirPods Pro and the T90 Q, it’s tough to state which one does a much better task– they’re extremely comparable, however if you’re searching for the very best ANC at this cost, I ‘d state it’s still the Technics EAH-AZ60

On the openness side of things, no cordless earbuds have actually had the ability to finest the AirPods Pro, which chooses the Tone Free also, however it’s still more than sufficient for allowing the noises that matter, be it a discussion, or simply all of the little hints that keep you safe while working out a hectic crossway.

Switching in between the 2 modes is quick and simple, and you can select inside the Tone Free app if you wish to toggle in between ANC, openness, and off, or any 2 of those alternatives.

Call quality

The mics on the T90 Q do an outstanding task of protecting your voice, with a complete, resonant noise that feels more natural, and less like you’re talking through a metal pipeline. That sound quality is at its finest when you’re inside your home and things are reasonably peaceful it can still handle outdoors scenarios too– it simply has a hard time a bit when contending noises get truly loud.

Thankfully, wind showed to be extremely well-managed, and it’s simple to change to openness mid-call so that you can hear your own voice more plainly.

Battery life

LG claims you’ll get 9 hours of usage from the Tone Free buds without ANC switched on, and an extra 20 hours from the charging case. Those are good, if not excellent, numbers, however bear in mind that ANC, and optional functions like making use of a case as a transmitter or picking to engage the UVnano cleansing when the case isn’t charging, will take a quite huge bite out of both of those statistics. I discovered that with ANC switched on, and volume set at 50%, I got simply under 5 hours of playtime.

LG consists of a fast-charge function, which can offer you an additional hour of playtime for simply 5 minutes of charging– comparable to what you get with the AirPods Pro.

Our take

The LG Tone Free T90 Q are an outstanding set of cordless earbuds: comfortable, and loaded with functions that are both useful and ingenious. And while their noise may not be to everybody’s tastes, they bring a level of immersion to your music and motion picture experience that needs to be heard to be valued.

Is there a much better option?

If it’s an immersive, spatial audio experience you look for, 2 choices enter your mind. The very first and apparent option is the $249 AirPods Pro They’re a bit costlier, and do not have as lots of functions, and they do not play well with Android, however if you’re an iPhone user, they’re excellent and have an enjoyable and appealing (if rather minimal content-wise) head-tracking spatial audio choice.

The 2nd option is the $129 Sudio E2, a really budget-friendly set of cordless earbuds that utilize spatial audio processing for an experience that can’t rather match the T90 Q’s Dolby Atmos head-tracking, however that nevertheless provide an even more immersive listening experience than basic stereo.

Want wonderful (however far less processed) noise, ANC, and openness, look no more than the $230 Technics EAH-AZ60

How long will they last?

If you’re mindful with them, the Tone Free T90 Q must offer you several years of service. Battery life will reduce in time, so if you expect requiring to listen for long sessions in between charges, remember you might require to keep ANC switched off to do so.

Should you purchase them?

Yes. LG has actually offered the Tone Free T90 Q a big range of functions for the cost and I believe that the majority of people will actually take pleasure in the mix of Meridian’s EQ presets and Dolby Atmos head-tracking. The reality that it has excellent ANC, openness, and can link to practically any gadget you can consider, are the cherries on top.

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