- Battery life
- Built in speaker
- Comfortable in ear
- Reads your notifications
- Mediocre sound quality
The LG Tone Active+ is one of LG’s latest pair of Bluetooth headphones. If you’re like me you’ve
probably avoided these due mainly to their design. Let’s face it makes you look like you’re wearing a dog collar. They do offer a few benefits though due to their design.
Inside of the package comes the Tone Active+, small, medium, and large ear gels, large ear stabilizers, and manual. The design itself is unique to say the least. The earbuds are on retractable cables which can be pulled out. When pulled on a second time they will retract automatically.
The power button is on the inside of the collar. While on the right side you will find the speaker button, previous/next buttons, and play/pause/stop button. The left side has the charging port, volume up and down, microphone, and call button. The buttons themselves feel nice and clicky.
My problem with them is that you cannot tell them apart by feel alone. Also the layout is so similar on either side, that it makes it even more difficult to tell which button does what. This is a bit of a learning curve. With no way to tell from feel alone. I found myself hitting the wrong button often and choosing to use the controls on my phone instead.
Another annoyance is when changing volume with the buttons, it’s always followed with an audible *beep* that interrupts your music. I find this to be unnecessary and interferes the enjoyment of your music.
One extra the LG Tone Active+ has due to it’s design is speakers built into the top of the collar. This is an important selling point, as most Bluetooth headphones cannot offer this. The speaker has decent volume. You can easily hear it three feet or more away. The sound is about what you’d expect from two tiny speakers. Meaning that it’s not terrific or like a Bluetooth speaker, but it will allow you to share music with friends. Not that you couldn’t do that already do that with your phone.
The ear gels offer a comfortable fit. Generally I have trouble with earbuds staying in my ears without the support of ear wings. However due to there being no weight tugging down on the cord at all. These were easily able to stay in my ears, and were comfortable enough to not show ear fatigue. Even after listening for two hours I felt no discomfort.
While I’m no fan of the collar design here it made it easy to carry around the headphones on your neck. The weight is light enough that you don’t notice it much even when you’re exercising. However you might not enjoy them bouncing up and down on your neck.
The LG Tone Active+ offer apt-x for superior audio quality. However I was not that impressed with the audio quality. They sounded a little muddy and lacked in the high end. Even though it offers three different audio presets none of them sounded that crisp and clear to me. They are slightly worse than my Jaybird Bluebuds X1, and much worse than the LG Force headphones I recently reviewed. They do at least announce which audio preset you are using though unlike the LG Force. Bass is default, then Normal, then Treble.
The LG Tone & Talk app offers some special functions with the LG Tone Active+. Such as reading off your notifications. In the app itself you can choose which apps it will work with. This way you’ll only hear notifications from the apps that are important to you. This is a great feature for when you’re working out. It keeps you from having to keep your phone on you, or constantly pulling it out to check if the message is important or not.
Speaking of exercise, the LG Tone & Talk appears to have a pedometer built in. It requires that you download the LG Health app to take advantage of it. However once I installed the app, it seems that it also has a built in pedometer. Which will track your steps using your phone. Making it a bit redundant to have on the headphones.
When it comes to distance I saw similar results to that of most other Bluetooth audio devices I’ve used. Generally indoors the LG Tone Active+ is good for up to 30ft. and outdoors you see double that. Using the new Bluetooth 4.1 technology it will also allow you to connect to two devices at once. Thanks to this you no longer have to unpair and pair your headphones each time you switch devices.
Upon starting up you’re always greeted with low, medium, or high to indicate your battery level. Here is an area which the LG Tone Active+ excels and that’s due to its collar design. You can expect up to 12 hours of music playback with the headphones, or 6 hours using the speakers. As well as 430 hours in standby. This right here is probably the biggest reason to buy this pair of headphones.
Overall if you’re anything like me you’ll probably avoid the LG Tone Active+ due to the design alone. Also while the sound quality isn’t bad there are better options these days, if sound quality is what is most important to you. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any reasons to buy them though. If you like the collar design then it’s definitely comfortable around your neck, lightweight, and offers a comfortable fit in your ears. They also offer fantastic battery life, speakers to share music with your friends, and will read your notifications to you. Thank you to AT&T for lending us this unit for review.