What just happened? Earbuds are one of those gadgets, like smartphones, that tend to be a magnet for germs and bacteria—and not everyone cleans theirs regularly, or at all. Thankfully, LG has just released a pair of truly wireless buds that can be both charged and disinfected with ultraviolet light at the same time.
LG last month unveiled its Tone Free HBS-FN4 and HBS-FN6 earbuds. In the case of the latter, the buds come with a UVnano case that uses ultraviolet light focused on the silicon ear gel tips and the inner mesh to eliminate almost all potentially harmful bacteria, including E. coli and S. aureus. It won’t remove chunks of ear wax, though.
In addition to lowering your chances of getting an ear infection, the case can provide up to an hour of listening time after a five-minute charge. You get six hours of usage when fully charged, and the case provides three full charges for a total of 18 hours of use.
As for the buds themselves, they feature audio from English A/V component manufacturer Meridian, using the company’s Headphone Spatial Processing (HSP) tech to simulate the experience of listening to real speakers while producing clear vocals. There’s also customized EQ settings and four presets: Natural, Immersive, Bass Boost and Treble Boost.
For those who don’t want a UV-light cleaner/charger, the $129 HBS-FN5W come without the UVNano charger but can still be charged wirelessly. There’s also the HBS-FN4, which have no wireless charging support and cost $99.
LG’s self-cleaning tech first arrived in the Tone+ Free earbuds that were launched in South Korea last year. It introduced the $199 Tone Free true wireless earbuds to the US earlier in 2020, which included a UVnano case.
Earlier this month, we saw Samsung’s ITFIT UV Sterilizer, which can “kill up to 99 percent of bacteria within 10 minutes” and charge any compatible devices.