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LG Tone Active+ hands-on: Integrated stereo speakers are perfect for an enhanced VR experience

While the LG Tone Active+ is focused on the active listener, the unique integrated stereo speakers make it the headset you want for your Samsung Gear VR or Google Daydream VR headset.

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Topic: Mobility
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1 of 10 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

LG Tone Active+ with stereo speakers and water/sweat resistance

Wired headsets are inconvenient to use while working out and packing around a bag during long commutes. Thanks to Apple, Lenovo, and others we are moving to a wireless headset world and the LG Tone Active+ is an excellent product to consider.

While the headset is great for working out and commuting, T-Mobile's Des Smith introduced me to using the headset with a VR headset and the LG Tone Active+ may be the absolute best candidate for this functionality. You see, the Tone Active+ headset has integrated stereo speakers and with the flip of a button you can enjoy audio right in line with your ears.

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2 of 10 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

LG's integrated speakers make this a unique offering

When I run at night or in areas where I want to be more aware of my surroundings, I prefer not to have earbuds in my ears. Thus, enabling the speaker mode lets me listen to music on a lower volume while being fully aware of my surroundings.

The LG Tone Active+ is a Bluetooth wireless headset in the form of a neck band with retractable earbuds connected to thin wires. The box comes with small, medium, and large ear gels to fit your ears. The default medium works perfectly well for me. The MSRP is $179.99, but I see the different colors available on Amazon now for $160.

Standard size stabilizer tips are also installed by default and these are the ones that work for me. I have a rather large neck, made bigger by being about 20 pounds over weight, so found the large stabilizers pinched into my neck a bit.

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3 of 10 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Perfect for your VR viewing experience

When a smartphone is placed into a virtual reality headset, the speakers are often blocked in some fashion. You can insert earbuds, but then you have to deal with those cables and the headset straps.

With the LG Tone Active+ you simply connect to your phone via Bluetooth and then flip the switch to listen to great sounding audio out of the speakers, that happen to be positioned just below your ears.

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4 of 10 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Outside view of the left arm

The left arm contains the microUSB charging port, power switch and indicator lamp, volume button, call button, and left speaker. A single press of the call button initiates Google Now/Assistant or Siri. During calls with the speakers enabled, all sound comes out of the right speaker only.

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5 of 10 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Outside view of the right arm

There are a lot of buttons, switches, and ports on the LG Tone Active+ headset. On the right side arm you will find the speaker/earbud switch, previous/next button, play/pause/stop button, and right stereo speaker. I love the ability to simply flip the switch to enable the speakers or switch back to the earbuds.

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6 of 10 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Thin retractable cables for both earbuds

The LG Tone Active+ uses Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX support, has a 120 mAh battery for up to 12 hours of music (half that in speaker mode), charges in about two hours, and weighs in at just 2.1 ounces. It is a very lightweight headset, but also built of high quality plastics. It has an IPx4 water and sweat resistant rating so you can wear the headset when you workout and not worry about damaging it with your sweat or in light rain.

In my experiences, the music never cut out and I could even go a couple rooms away from the audio source to still enjoy music. Call quality was decent, but I was focused on using them for music and podcasts. My 17-18 inch neck is about as big of a neck as can comfortably fit the headset so if you have a bigger neck than this, these may not work too well.

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7 of 10 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

Solid design and good sounding speakers

The headset is made with high quality plastics, while also being very comfortable and light weight.

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8 of 10 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

LG Tone Active+ is a nice upgrade over the Tone Active

For Android smartphone users, there is a LG Tone & Talk app that provides more functionality than the standard headset usage you get with an iPhone. These additional functions include current time alert, voice memo, reading recent messages, find my phone, and using speed dial or favorites to make a call.

The LG Tone Active+ can also be used as a basic activity tracker, but I don't know why you would use it for that functionality given that the phone you have to listen to music also can be used to track your activity. You can use the LG Health app on Android or LG Tone & Health app on iOS to enable activity tracking on the Tone Active+.

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9 of 10 Image: LG

Tone Active+ with retractable cables deployed

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10 of 10 Image: LG

Stylish curved neckband headset

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