When it comes to exercising, many bring their own accompaniment to push themselves harder. Some have exercise buddies to encourage them, while others turn to music to make it seem less strenuous. I am the latter, meaning having a pair of earbuds that can function ably for daily use and exercise is of paramount importance to me.
The LG TONE Free TF8 Earbuds is one device that joins the growing list of fitness-aligned wireless earbuds. We were recently given an opportunity to test it out, and I jumped at the chance to do so.
Features and Performance
LG’s TONE Free TF8 earbuds continue using MERIDIAN technology for the TONE Free lineup, promising more vibrant and rich-sounding audio and vocals, similar to listening to actual loudspeakers.
The sound quality is pretty good but falls short of more premium options. Vocals-wise, it sounds clear and crisp, with songs such as Move by Taemin sounding great in-ear. However, the bass sometimes feels a little flat, meaning that your EDM music wouldn’t be quite as punchy as it could be.
As with most other applications dedicated to earbuds, the TONE Free app allows for more in-depth customisation towards your listening experience. For example, you can change the equaliser as you please in the app, or select from a few presets, such as Bass Boost, which definitely helps out the bass issue.
The TONE Free Fit TF8 also comes with Hybrid ANC that can be adjusted with the LG TONE Free app, letting users choose between three different modes – Default, ANC, and Ambient Mode. This grants more versatility for the listening experience, with users able to choose accordingly depending on the situation that they are in.
The Ambient Mode has two options, one for listening and another for conversations. In my experience though, there is little difference between the two in terms of hearing outside noise, but the conversation mode does help in hearing yourself better.
ANC-wise, the performance is decent. It manages to block out a majority of unnecessary noise, working perfectly in public places, ensuring that I didn’t have to bother myself with the daily hustle and bustle of public commute, as well as the throngs of people that usually have a run around the park.
Touch controls are used on the earbuds, and their functions can be changed inside the app. For example, I have set the earbuds to play the next song when I tap the right earbud twice, while a double tap of the left earbud increases the volume.
While touch controls might seem more convenient and fuss-free, it proves to be the LG TONE Free Fit TF8’s greatest drawback – they are too sensitive.
For instance, when trying to take off the earbuds, it mistakes the action as a tap and usually skips the current song. The frequency of it happening makes it rather annoying, especially since it throws off the rhythm of a good song and has me constantly rewinding back.
That’s how it performs, but how does it feel during use? As a device centred on using it during fitness activities, the earbuds’ fit and comfortability are also important factors for me to consider.
LG states that the TONE Free Fit TF8 uses medical-grade silicone ear gels. So what effect does that bring? Well, it helps reduce the risk of ear irritations in your ear after repeated use, which is great to hear if the earbuds are going to be daily drivers for both every day and exercise use. Furthermore, the company’s SwivelGrip Technology is claimed to be able to snugly keep the earbuds in place no matter how intense the activity is, allowing the earbuds to be used even for the more extreme ones.
After using it for two weeks, I’ve found that the overall fit of the earbuds is suitably comfortable; the fins were really snug and didn’t hurt my ears at all, meaning that I was able to wear them for extended periods without any problems.
I also can’t forget to mention that the earbuds come with an IP67 rating, which is resistant to rain, sweat, and dust – aspects that are more prominent when exercising. So that’s one less worry to consider when taking them out for use.
But what uniquely sets the TONE Free lineup apart from other earbuds is their UVnano technology, which helps to reduce 99.9% of bacteria on the ear tips in just 5 minutes. This is done when charging wired or wirelessly, so your earbuds are constantly sanitised whenever you keep them back inside the case.
Admittedly, you can’t see it being sanitised, but it does give me peace of mind knowing that my earbuds were constantly made bacterial-free. But, of course, for the typical gunk, such as earwax, I still had to manually clean them out.
Lastly, to top it all off, the earbuds allow for greater connectivity with its Plug and Wireless feature that allows you to use the LG TONE Free Fit TF8 wirelessly with any device with an audio output, transforming it into a wireless dongle of sorts.
This applies to machines like treadmills, especially the more advanced ones which show media while you are running. Just connect to it using the included USB-C to 3.5mm cable, and now the case wirelessly transmits whatever audio is playing from the machine.
For me, it is a feature that I’ll not be using very often since I exercise outdoors. But I do like the versatility it brings since you can use the earbuds with just about any device with an audio input.
According to the company, the LG TONE Free Fit TF8 boasts a commendable 30 hours of total use (10 hours on the earbuds) on just a single charge with the ANC turned off. Additionally, a quick 5-minute charge allows for a whole hour of use if you are in a rush.
I’ve found that those stats largely hold up; the overall battery life was great. I could use the earbuds for around 5 to 6 hours per day, lasting almost three days straight, with ANC turned on before having to charge it. So considering that, I’d say that they do hold their own.
As a whole, the LG TONE Free Fit TF8 is a decent option. At a price point of S$269 though, you can’t help but feel that there could be better options out there. Still, if you want a pair of earbuds tailored towards those of you with active lifestyles, are comfortable, and sound great, these could be the pair for you!
Photos by Russell Loh of the DANAMIC Team.