Why it matters: Like smartphones, wireless earbuds can be a breeding ground for bacteria, which is concerning when you consider how many hours they spend inside your ears. For those germaphobes out there, LG has announced a new pair of buds that come with a UVnano charging case.
The Korean tech giant has unveiled Tone Free HBS-FN4 and HBS-FN6 earbuds, the latter of which comes with a case that cleans the buds while they’re being charged.
The case uses ultraviolet light focused on the silicon ear gel tips and the inner mesh to eliminate 99.9 percent of bacteria, including E. coli and S. aureus. It won’t remove chunks of dirt or ear wax, though, so they’ll still need cleaning by hand now and again.
"Several studies have shown that earbuds can harbor more bacteria than a kitchen cutting board," warned LG, adding that this could potentially cause ear infections.
LG says the case provides up to an hour of listening time after a five-minute charge, and both models allow for six hours of usage when fully charged, with the case providing three full charges for a total of 18 hours of listening.
The earbuds feature audio from English A/V component manufacturer Meridian—LG's audio partner for the last two years. They use the company’s Headphone Spatial Processing (HSP) tech that simulates the experience of listening to real speakers while producing crystal clear vocals. Both models also feature customized EQ sound settings developed by Meridian, with each mode offering four unique presets.
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
The new HBS-FN6 Tone Free model arrives in the US and Europe next month. No word yet on price.