Here's a first look at the new LG TONE FREE wireless earbuds for 2019.
This is a second-generation product from LG, following in the footsteps of the original model which first launched back in 2017.
Generally speaking, the new gadget adopts the same overall design of the original model thanks to the flatter and more rectangular-like look. However, the earbuds certainly have been revised this time around, with the sides now more curved than before and the button the user interacts with appearing more indented. The assumption here is LG has moved away from buttons you actually press to more of a touch-sensitive design.
However, arguably the biggest change is the actual charger. The previous model was compatible with an optional (you had to buy separately) pencil-shaped carry case that could also provide an additional charge. In contrast, the new charger adopts a circular-shaped charger. That in itself is not much more than a cosmetic change, but this year's charger also features a new sanitizing feature.
From the information available to Android Headlines, this is a "UV LED charger" that is able to clean and sterilize the earbuds in as little as five minutes. This is leading LG to market these earbuds as a germ free (sic) option. One where the user can rest assured that each time the earbuds are stored in the new case, they will have been cleaned and sterilized before each use.
The 'germ free' aspect direct plays into the overall "free yourself" marketing the company is employing in general.
Self-cleaning aside, it looks like the new model also features a boost in the battery compartment. While the original model only offered three hours of usage on a single charge, the new one doubles that autonomy, coming in at six hours.
In total, the new TONE FREE wireless earbuds are understood to offer up to 24 hours of battery life when the new on-the-go carry case/charger is also factored into the equation.
Although consumers had to buy the charging/carry case separately, the original model did come with a neckband attachment. The earbuds were then able to be inserted into the attachment and worn as if they were actually neckband headphones. This accessory also provided the earbuds with a small extra charge when needed.
Right now, there's no indication a neckband is being included with the new model, with LG instead opting to focus more on the true wireless nature of the earbuds and the main self-cleaning selling point. In other words, LG is going with more of a "minimal" design ethos this time around. Based on the images provided, and the change in the design of the earbuds, it does not look like the new version will be compatible with the older neckband either.
Some of the other features worth mentioning are the partnership with Meridian for a richer audio experience and the inclusion of Google Assistant for hands-free voice assistant functionality.
In spite of understanding the design and feature changes with this new model, Android Headlines is unable to provide any details on their availability or pricing at this time. For reference, the original LG TONE FREE wireless earbuds were first unveiled in January 2017 (during CES) and became available for purchase in March of the same year.
The original model arrived with a $199.99 price tag attached, although due to the minimal approach in use this time around, it should probably be expected the newer model will arrive at a more affordable price point.