Anker’s lightweight, completely wireless Bluetooth in-ears, the Soundcore Liberty Air, tick plenty of boxes. There’s comfortable to wear with a secure fit, water-repellent, functional with user-friendly controls, and compatible with iOS and Android devices. With all that to look forward to, let’s hope the manufacturer hasn’t neglected a convincing sound quality in favour of more frivolous features.
Despite the touch-sensitive sensors, these in-ears are easy to put on, with the adjustable aspect of them ensuring plenty of wearing comfort and an easy fit to your individual head size and shape. A low weight of just 5.5 grams at each side means things feel completely balanced and relaxed, with the headphones barely noticeable once they’ve been on for a while. That being said, the more prominent housing of these when compared to competitor models means they’re not a model made for wearing with caps and headgear. Practicality runs throughout these in-ears, with water-resistant properties providing ample protection against chance downpours, sweat-drenched workouts and rigorous cleaning. However, the preference for plastic in the construction of these headphones hasn’t resulted in a design that’s all that attractive.
On the energy consumption side of things, these in-ears provide a runtime of around five hours after a full charge with volume set at half of its potential. The higher the volume, the quicker your battery will run flat. When the battery runs empty, headphones can then be recharged three times in the transport case, which also doubles up as a charging dock station. A respectable reserve like this slick case is a great accessory to have to hand, with its lightweight design of just 46 grams only making it even more convenient. It can easily be carried in a jacket pocket, small bag or even by hand. Another perk is the LED selection that conveys clear updates on charging status and battery capacity.
The Soundcore Liberty Air supports Bluetooth 5.0 and, according to the manufacturer, should offer stable ranges of up to 10 metres. This was confirmed in our practical tests, carried out with a range of Android and iOS devices. As the in-ears are optimised for use with mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, computers may find these rather limited in their control capability. In combination with a MacBook Air, for example, there was a tendency for left-hand side dropouts to occur regularly. Wireless connection with iPads and iPhones delivered reliable and constant pairing success, however. Pairing occurs automatically when the headphones are removed from their case by switching them on. Pairing mode is then instantly triggered, while returning it to the charging dock switches the device off.
With an existing Bluetooth connection having been established, a double tap on the upper side of the housing of the right-hand side will start and stop playback, as well as handle telephony applications. On the left-hand side, you can also use similar touch gestures to bring your voice assistant to the fore, or skip tracks in your playlist library. The approach to device control is relatively simple and intuitive, with most users likely to have no trouble quickly getting to grips with things. At the same time, the odd command is triggered when a minor, unplanned gesture, interferes with a touch-sensitive region of the headphone housing. However, this isn’t a crippling issue. Another plus point is the integrated microphone technology of these headphones, with active noise cancellation properties dampening the intrusion of external sound and maximising speech intelligibly for clearer communications.
These in-ears produce a very clear sound, with plenty of brightness to it. There’s balanced highs and no tendency for sharpness to overpower at the higher levels. The mids are also reproduced pleasingly, with liveliness that never feels too pacey or overpowering. The same qualities enrich the upper bass range. Lower frequencies, however, suffer from a lack of attention. Fans of bass-heavy music genres like electro or hip hop will find plenty lacking with these in-ears, most likely. Pop and rock productions, as well as soul and jazz tracks, on the other hand, are well reproduced with plenty of detail. There’s a well structured stereo image and staging that conveys spatiality very well indeed. Spoken word productions are also given a great showcase, with plenty of clarity to the human voice, without the commonly encountered downside of overemphasising and hissing sounds spoiling your listening enjoyment.
Soundcore Libery Air by Anker is a product aimed at the type of listener who is looking for wireless headphones for use with their mobile devices, be it smartphone or tablet. They offer the Bluetooth connectivity you’re after, with convenient compatibility with Android and iOS making life easy. A handy transportation case is a welcome plus, while a healthy battery life, low weight and user-friendly controls round things off nicely. Sound quality is also very respectable, with a wide section of the musical spectrum accounted for, with the notable exception of those dependent on very low frequencies and bass-heavy foundations.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
- Impedance16 ohms
- Weight without cable55 g
What's in the box
- 4 pairs of ear tips in different sizes
- USB charging cable
- Charging case
- Available in black or white
- BT version: 5.0
- Playback time: up to 5 hours.
- Charge time: 2 hours.