Wireless LG 'neckband' headphones get the Platinum treatment

A new version of LG's horseshoe-shaped earbud wireless headphones are on deck to be unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Spain. Here's what we know so far.

Justin Yu

Justin Yu

Associate Editor / Reviews - Printers and peripherals

Justin Yu covered headphones and peripherals for CNET.

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LG already gave us a peek at its new X Cam and X Screen phones in advance of the Mobile World Congress phone show in Barcelona next week, but now the company is also previewing a new pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones to match.

The LG Tone Platinum is an updated version of the company's around-the-neck design, which -- love 'em or hate 'em -- have proven popular with consumers. While they're not technically considered "wireless earbuds" since you still have to drape the aluminum housing around your neck, their lightweight design and retractable eartips are the next best thing until fully wireless earbuds hit the market. Indeed, LG was the third best-selling headphone brand in the US in 2015 (behind Apple's Beats and Bose) according to research group NPD.

The Tone Platinum gets two new features that set it apart from LG's current headphone lineup. First, the Platinum is treated to a balanced armature driver that is said to generate more detail with less distortion than a typical dynamic driver headphone, so -- according to LG -- you get a sound profile that's tuned for optimum performance across a range of frequencies.

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With no word on how many drivers are actually used in the design, we'll have to wait to hear how the sound quality measures up to the competition. Keep in mind, though, that wireless Bluetooth headphones have a certain plateau on sound quality versus their wired counterparts.

To help address those limitations, the Tone Platinums are also equipped with the aptX HD Audio Codec, which is supposed to improve wireless sound quality when used with source devices that are also so equipped (such as the Samsung Galaxy S6). In our testing of AptX headphones such as the LG Tone Infinim, we generally haven't found AptX to be a game changer, but we'll see.

Finally, like most Bluetooth headphones, the LG Tone Platinum has a integrated microphone for making phone calls while active noise cancellation keeps ambient noise out of your conversation.

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It should be noted, however, that the noise-canceling feature doesn't work with music, just phone calls. If you're into LG's necklace design and you're in the market for a wireless headset with active noise cancellation, the company's older Tone Ultra (HBS-800) NC headset is still selling for around $50 on Amazon.

The LG Tone Platinum HBS-1100 drops in March in the United States, followed by an international release shortly after. There are no pricing details yet, but we expect to get that as early as next week when the headphones are officially unveiled in Barcelona.