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LG Tone Platinum SE review: I don't care if they make me look dorky

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© nextpit by Irina Efremova

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At IFA, LG introduced new in-ear headphones - the LG Tone Platinum SE. These intriguing headphones have a Google Assistant button and want to inspire with Harman Kardon sound. But our experience with them shows that the design poses a very special challenge for many...but it's more social than technical.

LG Tone Platinum SE


  • Google Assistant button
  • Sound


  • People's comments on the appearance
LG Tone Platinum SE: All deals

LG Tone Platinum SE release date and price

The LG Tone Platinum SE headset is listed for $199, making it something of an expensive pleasure.

LG Tone Platinum SE design and build quality

Classic headphones are often bulky and impractical, in-ears are often very sensitive to touch and fall out of the ears easily. LG has been offering in-ear headphones for several years that are classic in-ears on the one hand but have a robust housing that can be worn around the neck and pulls in the cables if necessary.

That sounds practical at first. In everyday life, it is somehow. It's nice that the cables of the plugs don't slip back and forth so easily, and there's no control unit that hangs on one ear. The thin audio cables also don't have to be pulled out completely. After a short while, I don't feel the Tone Platinum SE anymore, but I still have a secure feeling that nothing falls off.

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LG Tone Platinum SE: Practical construction with some disadvantages. / © NextPit

When it comes to workmanship, the headphones also make a good impression. The buttons have a good pressure point.

LG Tone Platinum SE software

One of the highlights is the Google Assistant button. After Bluetooth pairing, this must be set up once in the Google Assistant. That goes fast and the Assistant suggests also still to install the pertinent LG App.


Now the Assistant button has two functions: Press the button once to tell you the time and if there are any notifications that the assistant reads to you. Practical. Pressing and holding allows you to whisper a voice command to the assistant.

This is no witchcraft and works as expected. Unfortunately, the headset itself doesn't listen to "Okay Google", which is a pity - so one always needs to press the button or the smartphone nearby.

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To see here: the Google Assistant button / © NextPit

Another useful feature is the Assistant button in an app like Google Translate. However, this requires some training until a conversation works properly. If one conversation then works, the sound carrier hears the translation in his ear, the other reads the answers on the smartphone, which can also read aloud. 

It also works, as well as Google Translate does, anyway. LG can't add anything to this. In fact, when I tried this, the translations were often quite good, but sometimes wrong or incomplete. It is enough for short and simple questions, complex debates are not possible with it. For a little more orientation in a foreign country, the feature can be used effectively.

LG Tone Platinum SE audio

LG uses Harman Kardon technology for their headphones, which is what you hear. I mainly listen to alternative rock, but I also like to listen to something calmer or a little jazz - in other words, very different styles of music. The sound is nicely clear and detailed , basses could be a bit more powerful. Anyway, the headphones sound very good, better than I expected.

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The headphones sound good and support HD codecs. / © NextPit

Technically, the Tone Platinum SE is at the forefront. It's unclear whether it supports codecs like aptX, for example. But my Pixel 2 XL gives me the option to activate HD audio with the AAC codec - that's enough for me.

Final verdict

The LG Tone Platinum SE headphones are certainly a matter of taste. They sound good and have some practical functions with the Google Assistant button.

I'm a little hesitant about the format. Wearing headphones around your neck takes getting used to. It was very practical in everyday office life, because it gives me a quick overview of notifications and allows me to pull the headphones out quickly. It's a shame that there is no active noise cancelling - indispensable in open-plan offices.

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I guess you have to put up with criticism from other people. / © NextPit

On the way it is for many an unusual sight. So unfamiliar that even witnesses of my appearance spoke directly to me about the Tone Platinum SE. Unfortunately the overall feedback was rather negative, even after I have explained the positive sides of the construction extensively.

My thought is the following: We are used to the sight of in-ears and classic headphones. On the other hand, it seems very nerdy to hang your headphones around your neck. The neck is traditionally more the place for a pretty chain, not for a technical device. It doesn't bother me so much, but many people don't like it. You have to put up with that as a tone-wearer.

Have you tried these intriguing LG headphones? How have the people around you reacted.

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Hans-Georg Kluge

Hans-Georg Kluge

Hans-Georg writes about apps, hardware and other stuff that happens in the Android universe. He is a happy owner of the Galaxy S7 but enjoys time with an iPad as well.

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  • Terry Olay 3
    Terry Olay Jan 3, 2019 Link to comment

    This is a very deficient review. I couldn't find where the phone call quality was reviewed.

    The reviewer didn't get the memo that the reason a lot of people would consider this Bluetooth headset is for making calls, more so than just listening to music.

  • 9
    Cynthia F. Sep 19, 2018 Link to comment

    I have a pair of the older (4 yrs?) LG around-the-neck bluetooth headphones, and I really like them. I see a lot of people in my small community wearing them, so I'm wondering why anyone would be surprised by them???