LG Keeps Things On The Safe Side
LG is a common household name and has dabbled in most electronic devices. Their headphones have been somewhat lackluster for some years now, but their wireless neckband earphones have been in better shape.
There is quite a large line-up of LG neckbands, but the LG Tone Style SL5 is definitely the best and sits right in the middle of the price range on offer. There is the LG Tone Triumph, their budget variant, and then the premium LG Tone Platinum. Both of these have a myriad of problems compared to the SL5.
So, what makes the LG Tone Style SL5 so special then?
Neckband earphones are a strange sight to behold. It’s like carrying your earphones around on your shoulder. You might ask, “Why? If you’re carrying around the earphones on your neck, why not just use wired earphones?”
The neckband headphones fill a space in the earphones market. The design is perfectly suited for people who want to go wireless, but are scared that true wireless earbuds might get broken or lost too easily.
Factor in a larger design that should be able to house a bigger battery for longer listening times, and you might consider them yourself.
The LG Tone Style SL5 also comes without the waterdrop or curved ear tips you’d find on most wireless earbuds. This is because they don’t need to fit in your ear tightly to stay put. This is a blessing and a curse, but we’ll get there in the sound section.
The ear tips provided aren’t great and only come with three sizes. If you’re used to newer style earbuds, the larger, rounded tips might irritate you or, in some cases, cause discomfort. If this happens, swapping them out for some memory foam tips should fix the issue.
The neckband itself could do with a better rubber material since this does not grip enough. We constantly found it slipping off while walking at a brisk pace. And the neckband is not suited for running at all.
However, the neckband can also fold up for easy storage and portability. They easily slip into any form of backpack or laptop bag.
LG partnered up with Meridian Audio to overhaul the sound on the SL5. Whether this was a good decision depends upon your taste in music.
For any sort of EDM or Trap that requires some extra bass, you’d find more to be desired. The low-end frequencies seem to have taken a backseat to the rest of the mix.
It’s unfortunate that the sound is such a mixed bag, and we expected more.
The vocals sound great and clear in the mix. It’s definitely the area most attention was given too. Most vocals sit in the high-end of the low frequencies and most of the mid-range frequencies. These have been boosted and sound much louder than the rest of the mix. Even the crashing of cymbals is overpowered by the vocals in the mix.
Using an EQ can help to fix a lot of these issues, but it’s frustrating to do, especially when a company like Meridian Audio was involved in crafting the sound of the earphones.
The inclusion of Meridian Audio also had us expecting some sort of high-fidelity music capabilities, but to no avail. You’ll only find SBC support for android. IOS users do get AAC support, which is fine, but no aptX support is disappointing considering Meridian Audio are famous for making high fidelity audio components.
Circling back to our ear tip design problem.
The ear tips do not provide enough isolation, and this can cause some sound leakage and loss of lower frequencies. This adds to the weak sounding bass. It also means that listening to music in noisy environments can be a hassle and that you’d need to increase the volume, which can be harmful to your hearing.
The microphone sounds average for most people. The majority of human voices are within the higher low-end frequencies, which most of the time gets attenuated. This is because a lot of noise also comes from this range of frequencies, the humming of a fan or air conditioner, for example.
Thus, most people’s voices will sound thin or distant. It’s not a dealbreaker and still usable.
The design itself causes another issue with microphones. The loose hanging cables make noise when moving or walking, which can be heard on the other side of the call.
Connection & Battery Life
The neckband connects using Bluetooth version 5. It’s easy to pair with the earphones and even come with a quick pairing option. The earphones also come with multipoint connections meaning you can connect two devices at the same time for some extra convenience.
We had no latency issues, even through two walls at about a 10-meter range. This is standard for most Bluetooth version 5 devices.
The battery life is great and overperforms. LG estimates eight hours of battery life on a full charge. We had 10 hours of playback at 50% volume before the battery ran dry. This is decent for wireless earphones and will give you a full workday’s worth of battery.
The neckband charges using USB-C, which is a great addition to any headphones at this price point. Not only do you future-proof the headset, but you also get fast charging.
You can expect three hours of playback on a ten minute charge.
Who Is The LG Tone Style SL5 For?
The neckband style of earphones is perfect for any consumer who is wary of true wireless earbuds. So, if you’re worried you might lose or break your pair of earbuds, this is the better option.
It’s important to remember this style isn’t well suited for a lot of physical movement and won’t be good for jogging or any use in the gym. Also, it doesn’t come with a waterproof rating at all.
LG Tone Style SL5 Pros & Cons
- Great battery life.
- USB-C charging.
- Multipoint Bluetooth connections.
- Uncomfortable ear tips.
- No aptX support.
- Sound is below expectations.
More Neckband Options
Not sure if the Tone Style SL5 is for you? No worries, check out our reviews of the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Headphones with Microphone, the Best Sony Headphones, the Best Studio Headphones for Home Recording, the Best Headphones under 100 dollars, and the Best Waterproof Bluetooth Headphones currently available.
The LG Tone Style SL5 is a mixed bag. The Meridian Audio partnership had us expecting some great sounding earphones with some sort of hi-fidelity support. None of that is provided hear and almost seems like a marketing ploy.
There are better options available like the Plantronics Backbeat Go410, which retails for the exact same price. It has a waterproof rating, noise cancelling functions, and better sound quality.
Overall, LG provides a lackluster attempt at a mid-range neckband.