LG is a company who always seems to go out on a limb in the name of innovation. You'd be forgiven for thinking they'd taken a departure from the normal design language of their hugely successful Tone series of neckband-style bluetooth earphones. But it seems they've come through with the goods on another update to their Tone Infinim series, with some not-so-standard but quite exciting features.
In January at CES 2017, LG's unveiled two new gambles on their neckband bluetooth earphone line. The LG Tone Free was a completely (well, sort of) wireless version. The earbuds themselves no longer had cables connecting them to the neckband, used to charge the earbuds, following the recent trend of "truly wireless" earbud solutions. While this sounded like an exciting idea, part of the simple beauty of their Tone series lies in having everything you need in the one, simple, portable package, without the chance of losing important parts.
The LG Tone Studio seemed more like a home-theatre centred solution. This bluetooth neckband featured four small speaks (two on the top of the band, two on the bottom) which instantly turned the earphones into a personal boombox. The idea being to create a personal sound "bubble" for audio you could hear clearly yourself without too much disturbance to others. Obviously putting these into speaker mode on a bus or train would cause more than a few disgruntled looks. But having them on at home, while your partner is watching TV for example, allows you to hear your media without a noise that reasonably competes with the TV. It's also a great "hands free" solution for doing the housework, cooking, etc. But in reality, with the sound quality being top-notch through the earbuds, it's unlikely you'd prefer the speakers unless you REALLY needed to hear what else was going on around you.
Finally, without too much of a press release fuss at all, LG has quietly released and more standard continuance to their Tone series. Enter stage left; the LG Tone Infinim HBS-920. LG claims up to 12 hours' battery life with their new model, bluetooth 4.2 and the return of the Harmon Kardon sound signature. The innovation they've managed to sneak in here is the adjustable bass that's now placed right on the earbud, allowing you to tweak the amount of bass instantly. Given that the Tone series already have selectable sound modes (usually normal, treble and bass) by double tapping the play/pause button (or on the Tone Studio by pressing down the volume rocker), it remains to be seen how useful this ends up being.
What do you think? Is this the bluetooth neckband you wanted to see this year from LG? Or have they spread themselves too thin with one too many innovations?
Bonus Tip: If you already own one of the Tone products, installing the Tone & Talk app from LG gives you an easy way to access controls for your device, including selection of the sound mode, viewing the remaining battery and configuring the Tone & Talk features for receiving notifications via audio prompts.