LG Tone Free UVnano Earbuds Review: Good earbuds but gimmicks could’ve been left out

There are features that we believe earbuds must have. This includes intuitive controls on the earbuds themselves, a strong battery life and, of course, fantastic sound quality.

Earbuds that lack these core features generally fail to land here in the Hypertext offices because, they are really basic and should be included in every set of earbuds in 2022. Today we have something that at first excited us, but once that wore off, we were rather let down.

That something is the LG Tone Free UVnano earbuds. While these earbuds feature volume controls, a robust charging case and great sound quality, they also sport a UV light that LG claims kills 99.9 percent of bacteria.

The features that interested us, however, were the inclusion of Active Noise Cancellation and the ability to listen to Ambient Sound.

Let’s start off with how these earbuds sound.

Sound quality

To review these earbuds we listened to a variety of genres streamed at high quality from the Spotify mobile app. During each listening session we would activate Active Noise Cancellation and Ambient Sound at regular intervals.

Active Noise Cancellation works but don’t expect the same sort of experience as you would have with over-the-ear headphones with the feature. There is a lot of sound leakage due to the nature of earbuds and the fact that – as we have had to admit in the past – we have weird ears.

The result is Active Noise Cancellation that is more distracting than it would be if it was switched off.

Ambient Sound works as intended unless you are listening to music at full volume at which point the mics feeding you the ambient noise lose the battle. What makes this an awful experience is when a song hits a quiet dip and the ambient noise comes rushing back into your ears. It can be cacophonous and downright awful considering the price of these earbuds.

With those features turned off however, the LG Tone Free UVNano earbuds produce a rather flat sound profile making them perfect for any sort of genre. We listened to Hip-Hop, Pop, Rock, Heavy Metal and Classical music without ever feeling the need to reach for an equaliser.

That having been said the LG Tone Free app provides a number of preset equaliser settings as well as the ability to customise your own. While your experience with the LG Tone Free earbuds will most certainly differ, we think that the flat tone of the buds makes them the perfect platform to build your EQ on and make these earbuds your own.

One rather cool feature we spotted was the ability to connect the charging case to an audio output via a 3.5mm headphone jack. This allows you to effectively turn any speaker or audio output with this jack into a Bluetooth speaker. It’s a great feature and we’re sure some folks will find it useful.

Power chord

The saving grace of these earbuds is that they last a long time. LG claims that one charge full charge in the included case will net 10 hours of battery life. At 75 percent volume, we managed this comfortably and pulled an extra 11 minutes of the hat for good measure.

In total, we managed to listen to content and make calls for 23 hours with two full charges from the carrying case and one charge which gave us three hours of life.

Even charging the LG Tone Free UVNano for just 15 minutes gave us enough battery power to listen to music on a two hour car trip.

About that UV cleaning stuff

Look, we get it. We’re all a bit more conscious about our hygiene and our health since COVID-19 tore through the world, but we have to ask, is this really necessary?

We don’t doubt that UV light can be hell for germs and bacteria, but it’s important to remember that dose and duration of that light are important.

To that end, LG says that its UV light kills 99.9 percent of “Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumonia bacteria on the speaker mesh of the earbuds in 5 minutes while charging”. Testing that claim independently is not something we can do so we’re going to have to trust LG on this matter until we are shown otherwise.

The blue light the case emits when opened is purely for show LG says and the actual UV light is only activated when the charging case is closed. That means you need to leave the earbuds in the case for at least five minutes before they are considered clean, at least on a bacteria and germ level.


At R3 999, the LG Tone Free UVNano earbuds are incredibly pricey and while this makes sense given the ANC, Ambient Sound, UV cleaning and immense battery life. However, this does also make it more difficult to outright recommend these earbuds.

This comes down to the fact that while they are good, they aren’t Apple AirPods which retail for around the same price. In fact, we’d lump these together with Samsung’s Galaxy Buds2 and given you can pick those up for R1 999, the Tone Free’s are batting out of their weight class here.

We’d be able to recommend the LG Tone Free headset if it was half the price it is. For now though, we recommend you check out the 1MORE Stylish True Wireless earbuds, they are still our favourite buds and they can be picked up for as little at R599.


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