LG TONE Free Fit TF7 Buds review: Expensive and for a good reason
- LG Tone Free Buds are available at a price of ₹12,989
- Fit TF7 are the first fitness centric Tone Free buds from LG
- These TWS Buds support ANC and spatial sound
So do they deliver on their promise? And is it worthy of your ears? I answer that question in my in-depth review.
Price & Availability
LG Tone Free Fit TF7 is available for a price of ₹12,989 on LG’s official online store and Amazon.
Design & Build
LG took a different approach with the Fit TF7 compared to its predecessor. While it still maintains the iconic shell-shaped case, it's slightly larger. This increase in size provides more room inside, which, in turn, can make it a bit challenging to carry in your pockets and may require some adjustment. Nevertheless, this design choice actually results in a more compact form factor compared to the AirPods Pro.
I’ve used the blue variant which exudes a premium look. Its design is minimalistic, devoid of any unnecessary patterns or curves that might seem out of place. The only noticeable branding is the subtle "Tone" logo on the top. The matte finish not only adds to its aesthetics but also ensures it remains free from unsightly scratches.
One thoughtful addition to the case is the LED indicator that conveys connectivity status and battery life. LG's attention to detail shines here, with a green light indicating ample battery backup, an orange LED showing it's reached the halfway mark, and a red indicator signaling low battery levels. This feature kept me well-informed about the battery status, allowing me to charge it accordingly.
The case also features a neatly placed USB Type-C charging port at the bottom for convenient charging.
Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the case lies within it – the UVnano lights, as claimed by LG, provide protection against 99.99% of bacteria. While I can't independently verify this level of protection, it might provide peace of mind to a certain segment of buyers.
More on the impact of this feature on battery life in the latter part of this article.
Now, shifting our focus to the earbuds themselves, the TF7 buds are smaller in size compared to the AirPods Pro and regular AirPods. They sport a dot design, which personally, I'm not a fan of. Given that my ears stick outwards, I often face difficulties with dot-shaped buds. Typically, I need to find the right ear tips for a secure fit. However, in this case, the default tips worked exceptionally well, which is good news. The buds strike a balance in size, offering ample space for interaction without causing discomfort during activities like walking.
The build quality of these buds is impressive. They feel sturdy, and the plastic used is of high quality. Aesthetically, LG could have pushed the envelope further, as the buds don't exude the same level of sophistication as the AirPods or Galaxy Buds. Considering the price point, one might expect a more refined design in the next iteration.
In terms of comfort, the TF7 buds hit the mark. Their compact size, combined with an ergonomic build, makes them an excellent choice for both desk work and workouts. The TF7 buds boast an IP67 water resistance rating, further enhancing their durability. I have been using the buds for my running sessions and so far I haven't faced any issues. I can quantify how much I sweat, but its enough to test the buds out. Definitely a reliable product.
I used them with the default ear tips, and the experience was quite satisfying. The buds remained securely in place while I was seated or in motion. They are indeed a suitable option for workouts, where maintaining a firm grip is a top priority. The swivel feature is also a welcome addition, enhancing their overall usability.
Pairing and Connectivity:
The TF7 is equipped with Bluetooth 5.3, and it generally performs admirably with only a few minor hiccups. In my testing, I initially paired them with an Android device, the OnePlus 11R, and the process was swift, requiring just a couple of taps. Notably, with Google Fast Pair enabled, the case automatically detected the FP9 when my device's Bluetooth visibility was turned on.
Connecting my Android smartphone to the buds was a breeze, and this efficiency was highly impressive. However, the situation took a turn when I attempted to pair them with my iPhone. I found myself refreshing the Bluetooth list multiple times before they finally appeared. The same struggle persisted when I tried connecting them to another Apple device, the iPhone 11. Yet, when reconnecting them to an Android smartphone, the process was as swift as the initial setup. It's worth noting that I've encountered this issue before with Tone buds FP9.
One consistent factor in both scenarios was the buds' ability to maintain robust connectivity once paired. Over a month of usage, the buds exhibited no sudden disconnections or connectivity issues.
An additional noteworthy feature is multi-device pairing, which proves especially convenient for those who work from home. Switching between my laptop and smartphone was effortless, as I didn't need to manually disconnect and reconnect the buds.
AdvertisementI'd like to emphasise the importance of multi-device pairing when purchasing TWS buds or any Bluetooth audio product. It greatly enhances the overall user experience, providing seamless transitions between devices.
The TF7 features touch-sensitive controls with a preset of gestures that come in handy. As previously mentioned, the buds' ideal size makes interaction with them effortless. To enhance convenience, LG has included a dedicated touchpoint where you can tap to engage with the buds.
The execution of these touch controls is commendable for two key reasons. Firstly, it accurately responds to your gestures without missing a beat. Secondly, it's straightforward to remember how to use them.
These touch-sensitive buds offer a range of functions. A single tap on either bud allows you to play or pause your media. A double tap on the right bud increases the volume, while the same action on the left bud decreases it. A triple tap assists in moving forward or backward in your playlist. These gestures are intuitive and uncluttered. For activating Active Noise Cancellation, a long press on either bud does the trick.
Furthermore, you have the option to customise these settings through the TONE Free application. However, it's worth noting that altering these settings may lead to issues when connecting the buds to different devices, so I wouldn't recommend frequent adjustments unless necessary.
Tone Free Application
It's common to find a dedicated application for high-end TWS earbuds, and in this case, LG offers the LG Tone Free app. This app is available for both Android and iOS devices and provides several options to tailor the performance of the TF7 to your preferences. You can use the app to control ambient sound and ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) settings. Additionally, there are three preset sound modes available to cater to different needs.
With the app, you can easily toggle noise cancellation on or off and choose the ambient sound mode, which lets you hear conversations while limiting ambient noise. The app also allows you to fine-tune the equaliser settings for the buds, offering options like Immersive, Natural, Bass Boost, Treble Boost, and 3D Sound Stage. You can even create up to two custom sound profiles based on your preferences, which I'll discuss further in the performance section.
However, it's important to note that while the app provides a plethora of options, it could benefit from improved stability. During my month of usage, the app frequently crashed and froze when attempting to create a custom sound profile. This issue persisted on both Android and iPhone platforms.
AdvertisementNow, let's dive into the audio performance, where the TF7 truly shines, almost without a doubt. Despite having relatively modest 6mm drivers on paper, the finely tuned hardware delivers crystal-clear audio quality.
To provide some context, I tested the buds with two iconic Bollywood classics. The first was the bass-heavy track "Zinda Banda" from the movie "Jawan 2023." Right from the first note, the TF7 showcased its ability to reproduce distinct sounds from the source. This high-energy track, featuring guitar, drums, and electronic elements, created an electrifying party in my ears. The music output was impressively bass-heavy, rivalling the best I've experienced, even compared to the WF-1000XM4.
The next song in my playlist was the title track of "Kal Ho Na Ho," sung by Sonu Nigam. This soothing number has subtle low mids and an unforgettable melody. With the TF7, I could fully appreciate the low mids while discerning every instrument in the song.
While the bud's smaller drivers might lead you to expect lower volume output, this issue is effectively balanced when you activate ANC.
Speaking of noise cancellation, the TF7 excels in this department. When set to the "ANC ON" preset, these earbuds efficiently blocked out a significant amount of surrounding noise, creating a noticeable sense of isolation. For instance, ambient noise from an AC or fan in a room remained virtually imperceptible, and even when someone used their phone on speaker nearby, only a minimal amount of sound reached my ears. At the gym, where loud music blared around me, I could barely hear a faint murmur from the outside world, drowning out the entire playlist effectively.
AdvertisementHowever, I would advise against using the buds with ANC turned on at the highest-quality setting, as it can be risky when you're outdoors.
For outdoor use, I would recommend opting for the ambient sound mode. This not only allows you to engage in conversations but also significantly reduces the risk when walking outside. While the audio performance might feel slightly underwhelming compared to the full-fledged ANC mode, it remains more than satisfactory.
It's worth noting that while the ANC performance of the buds is impressive, it's important to remember that dedicated headphones often outperform earbuds in terms of noise cancellation. So, if you're primarily seeking an audio device for music, it's something to keep in mind.
Now, let's delve into the audio settings. I found the "Bass Boost" mode particularly enjoyable during workouts, especially when combined with ANC set to a lower frequency.
For outdoor use, I favoured the "Immersive" preset as it struck a harmonious balance between bass and volume. It allowed me to maintain a comfortable 60% volume while enjoying my music and remaining aware of my surroundings.
AdvertisementHowever, it was the "3D Spatial Sound" feature that left me somewhat disappointed. Marketed to create a surround sound experience, I attempted to watch a movie with this preset. Contrary to expectations, it resulted in a noticeable echo. While it's possible that this issue can be rectified by tinkering with settings in the TONE Free app, who has the time for such adjustments? LG should consider providing a more refined spatial sound preset.
In terms of call quality, the TF7 performed decently. I experienced no call drops or interruptions during my testing. Call reception was satisfactory, and the person on the other end could hear me clearly. Additionally, I used the buds for Google Meet calls on my laptop, and the connection remained stable in that context as well.
It’s time to highlight the battery life of the TF7. LG claims the entire package offers 30 hours of battery backup. Individually that translates to 10 hours on the buds and 20 hours on the case.
The real-time mileage is considerably lower than what is claimed. On average, I was getting 7 hours of battery life on the buds, while the case did deliver two more charges on its best day. So that brings us to a total of 15 hours. This is not bad especially considering I had the ANC turned on throughout the day.
The LG TONE Free Fit TF7 can be considered a premium TWS earbud, primarily tailored for fitness enthusiasts due to its design and intended use. However, if you approach its purchase with versatility in mind, you won't be disappointed. These earbuds excel in terms of battery life compared to their competitors, and they offer a distinctive design complemented by a thoughtfully crafted mobile application.
Nevertheless, if you're an iPhone user, it's worth exploring Apple's AirPods more extensively, considering the benefits that come with the Apple ecosystem.
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