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 an outrageous 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 provide 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 essential, however, considered that there are numerous copycat earbuds that look the part however fail where it actually counts.

Apple’s AirPods Pro are understood for lots of things, like their exceptional sound canceling and practically wonderful openness mode. In the last year, much of the focus has actually been put on their spatial audio abilities, which utilize a kind 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 include Dolby Labs’ head-tracking tech. Does that matter? Considered that Dolby basically composed the book on spatial audio when it released Dolby Atmos, it definitely ought to matter. Can the vibrant duo that is LG x Dolby beat Apple’s aging knight in white armor? Just one method to learn.

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 ideas, 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 performing in a cordless earbuds box? Do not fret, 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 implies exercises or the periodic splash of water must 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 provide cordless charging, however LG goes even more, with “UVnano,” a distinct ultraviolet light inside the case that gets activated whenever you position 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 T90Q 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. Provided 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 since 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 transfer at the exact 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 a plane?)

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 T90Q are super-comfy. And though they aren’t planned as earbuds for exercising, I discovered them to be rather steady and protected, even at the health club. 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 in shape test developed into the LG Tone Free app, I might inform that although the default medium eartips felt great, I required the plus size for an appropriate seal. I motivate you to do the exact same– convenience does not constantly inform the entire story, and an inappropriate fit will result in even worse sound quality (specifically 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 excellent.

Regular readers of my earbuds evaluations will understand I typically choose physical buttons over touch controls, however the Tone Free T90Q’s touch controls are almost best.

I state almost, due to the fact that 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 properly.

You do, nevertheless, get utilized to it in time. And, fortunately, 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 choice, 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 immediately. Do not care for that function? You can turn it off in the app.

Getting the T90Q 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. As soon as once again, the Tone Free app kicks it up a notch by providing you a gadget pairing control board of a sort– it aesthetically represents all of the gadgets you’ve formerly combined to the earbuds and lets you handle those connections simply by tapping. You can likewise require the earbuds back into pairing mode from the exact same user interface by utilizing the plus indication– so convenient!

In my brief time with these earbuds, they showed to have a rock-solid connection, however with Bluetooth 5.3, there need 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 an innovative set of cordless earbuds implies 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 think about any that are missing– however it likewise lays those choices 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 T90Q. That’s both excellent, 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– particularly 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 almost whatever else too) is huge and vibrant. 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 health club, 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 increase up the high frequencies, sometimes to the point of cruelty. Real to its name, it feels comprehensive. 3D Sound Stage tones things down a bit and presses out the borders of area even further. They’re both extremely amusing as impacts, 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 an issue– a neutral EQ is tough to discover.

The closest thing Meridian’s presets use is something called Natural, which is method less processed for sure, however still significantly 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 searching for pure, untainted stereo noise recreation.

Now let’s speak about Dolby Atmos head-tracking. It’s trippy. It works likewise to the variation that Apple utilizes 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 produces 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, offering you a brand-new forward to work from. It’s most likely not the very best option for the fitness center, 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 readily available 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 specific type 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 2 aspects, 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 T90Q assistance SBC, AAC, and aptX Adaptive, for approximately 24-bit/96kHz 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 exceptional workaround.

Simply moving the switch links the case to the earbuds, providing you the capability to hear analog or digital music sources by means of 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 T90Q do an exceptional task of ANC, dealing really efficiently with all however the greatest sound frequencies. Whether it’s the holler of traffic or building and construction, or the continuous droning of a fan, you’ll discover whatever’s a lot quieter with ANC mode switched on.

Between the AirPods Pro and the T90Q, it’s tough to state which one does a much better task– they’re really 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 appropriate 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 pick 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 T90Q do an exceptional task of protecting your voice, with a complete, resonant noise that feels more realistic, and less like you’re talking through a metal pipeline. That sound quality is at its finest when you’re inside and things are reasonably peaceful, however 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 declares 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 more expensive, and do not have as lots of functions, and they do not play perfectly with Android, however if you’re an iPhone user, they’re outstanding and have an enjoyable and appealing (if rather restricted content-wise) head-tracking spatial audio choice.

The 2nd option is the $129 Sudio E2, a really budget friendly set of cordless earbuds that use spatial audio processing for an experience that can’t rather match the T90 Q’s Dolby Atmos head-tracking, however that however use a much 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 ought to 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 shut off to do so.

Should you purchase them?

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

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