Remember the LG TONE Free FP9 I reviewed exactly a year ago? It’s one of the most feature-packed true wireless earbuds. The new LG TONE Free T90 (Model code: TONE-T90Q) is the new flagship model and introduces even more new innovations. It retails at S$329 in Singapore available at LG official brand stores on KrisShop, Lazada, Shopee, as well as authorised retailers and distributors, including Audio House, Best Denki, ConnectIT, COURTS, Gain City, Goh Joo Hin, Harvey Norman, iStudio, Mega Discount Store, Parisilk, Stereo Electronics, Sprint-Cass and X Gear.
The top charging case is T90, and the bottom is FP9. The T90 supports wireless charging.
The T90 bears close resemblance to the FP9, I couldn’t tell the casing apart unless I look for the gap between the top and bottom case. The T90 has improved battery life to 9+20 hours (compared to 10+14 hours on the FP9) and supports wireless charging. Even the earbuds can fit into each other’s casings, but the charging pins are in different positions, so they won’t charge. FP9 stem has an additional glossy finishing where the touch panels are located, and on the T90 the touch panel is seamlessly integrated into the housing mould. Both models support IPX4 water resistance.
Fast, Multiple Pairing Connectivity
Even after one year from the release of FP9, there aren’t a lot of earbuds that come with half of the features. Yet the new T90 inherits all the FP9 functions and more. Straight from the box, the T90 supports easy pairing with Google Fast Pair and Microsoft Swift Pair, as well as Multipoint Pairing which lets you pair up to 5 devices and connect two devices concurrently.
When there are more than 2 devices paired, you can use the app to select the 2 devices that you want to be actively connected. Whenever one device has an active audio stream, the T90 will switch the connection over automatically to the second device, and the first device will pause playback. If I press play again on the first device, the T90 will switch back to the first device. During my test, the laptop audio stream seems to take precedence over the smartphone, which means the laptop audio will always be played regardless of the second device activity, unless I stop the audio. From the app, I can control all aspects of the earbuds, including the selection of ANC modes, or apply audio effects even if the audio source is from other devices.
Plug & Wireless Now Supports USB Audio
Plug & Wireless is a feature on the FP9 and T90 which allows you to
plug the charging case to any audio output device and then transmits wireless audio to the earbuds. The TONE Free T90 now can even support USB digital audio and the mic can be used for telecommute. After plugging to Windows computer, it will recognise the T90 as an audio device and use to listen to audio as well as for making calls. Meridian Audio and Dolby Atmos Virtual Audio
Most wireless earbuds offer one audio-processing technology, but the TONE Free T90 comes with two. The Meridian audio processor is the same as the FP9 with 5 equalizer presets, and offers similar experience as what I have described in the TONE FP9 review. In a nutshell, the “Natural” mode sounds like the audio source is close in front of you, the “Immersive” mode spreads the sound staging wider, the “Treble Boost” sweetens the treble more in a normal sound stage, the “Bass Boost” pumps the bass more, and the “3D Sound Stage” creates a concert hall surround effect with dry echo.
Voice Alert, Wear Detection
The TONE Free T90 can read out your phone notification messages, so you do not have to keep checking your phone. The app converts the text from the notification to speech so it is not as intuitive as Google Assistant.
ANC and Ambient Sound
Both functions have seen improvement from the FP9. The ANC mode now comes with just one setting, whereas the FP9 has two ANC levels. The noise removal is more effective at the upper frequencies, but is still not as powerful as Sony or even the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3. On the train, the general noise is reduced compared to FP9 but I can still faintly hear the ambient sounds albeit not distinct.
For the Ambient Sound mode, there are two modes just like the FP9. In the “Ambient Mode”, the ambient sound is less open than the FP9, so I cannot hear as clearly. On the flipside, in the “Conversation Mode”, the T90 sounds less sensitive at the higher frequencies. It is probably intentional to tune down the amplification, but personally I prefer to hear the ambient sound more.
The LG TONE Free T90 uses a new 11mm graphene driver that is larger than the FP9 (8mm). I compared the audio quality between these 2 models using flat EQ mode (basically selecting “Custom 1” EQ setting with a flat curve). Under this setting, the FP9 sounds brighter with more treble sparkle while the T90 offers meatier bass. This baseline audio response is evident across all the various sound modes on both models, making the T90 sounds consistently less bright with a fuller bass response. This means that the FP9’s “Treble Boost” mode provides better treble response than the T90’s, and the T90’s “Bass Boost” mode sounds bassier than FP9’s. While the T90 lacks the treble gratification, it allows the listener to enjoy music at higher volume levels.
Verdict: A Better Piece Of Tech Than Other True Wireless Earbuds
The LG TONE Free T90 is a better wireless audio product – in terms of innovation and features – than most true wireless earbuds. That’s not to say the T90 has better ANC or the sound tuning is better. Technologically-speaking, the T90 surpasses most true wireless earbuds yet the price of such an innovation is lower than most flagship models.
LG has always been a company that prioritises practical innovation over technical perfection. The T90 is packed with audio processing technology, wired-to-wireless transmission capability, bacteria-killing feature, and now 3D head-tracking. The T90 does not quite offer quality audio compared to the established audio brands, but it comes with user versatility and comfortable fit that I would be delighted to use for general purposes.
The LG TONE Free T90 is available at a retail price of S$329 in Singapore.
LG TONE Free T90Q
The LG TONE Free T90 has so much audio tech, versatility, comfortable fit, IPX4, 29 hours, UVnano, Dolby Atmos, Plug&Wireless USB Audio.
Unique Plug & Wireless USB Audio capability
Unique Whispering Mode turns the right earbud into a handheld high-sensitive mic
Dolby Atmos Head-Tracking capability
Meridien EQ effects provide good listening experience
Supports Snapdragon Sound
Treble is less bright compared to predecessor TONE Free FP9
Dolby Atmos Virtual Head Tracking works in limited head movement
LG TONE Free T90
LG TONE Free T90