These SoundLiberty 80 cable-free earbuds from the Chinese manufacturer TaoTronics support Bluetooth standard 5. 0 as well as high-quality audio codecs using aptX and the AAC format, while Android and iOS devices can be controlled either via the touch-sensitive surfaces or by voice commands.
This compact pairing of earbuds and transport case, which also serves as a charging station, weigh just 49 grams, and the slender case has a pocket-friendly format which can be enclosed in one hand. Five grams per side are allotted to the earphones, which makes for a very comfortable fit as the earbuds are hardly noticeable when worn. Pressure-sensitive people will also benefit from the fact that the SoundLiberty 80 do not sit in the ear canal like classic in-ear systems, but are worn in the auricle, which takes the strain off the ears. Due to their design, shielding from the environment is also significantly lower, so that the outside world is not blocked out even at higher volumes and orientation in your surroundings remains possible. At the same time, there is sufficient stability for everyday use, as the earpieces, despite their striking, eye-catching design, are well embedded and only protrude slightly, which means that they can still be worn under a cap if necessary. Outdoors, these earbuds are also protected against wet weather as they are waterproof to IPX8.
In our battery test, they were rather lightweight with a running time of three hours and fifteen minutes which did not prove to be particularly enduring. While the quick-charge function allows short runs of 40 minutes after five-minutes of power supply, these earbuds are fully recharged after about 45 minutes. However, it is not possible to tell when the charging cycle is complete, as the earbuds do not have a charge status indicator. On the other hand, the battery reserve of the transport case is sufficient to fully charge the earbuds three times and to make use of the quick charge function once, so that the total running time of the system at higher volume is 13 hours and forty minutes. The case can be recharged in under two hours via the USB-C port. A USB-C to USB-A charging cable is supplied with the set for this purpose.
Pairing the earbuds, which offered a stable range of nine meters in combination with various iOS and Android devices, is possible as soon as the case is opened, as the earbuds are switched on and automatically put into pairing mode. Putting the earbuds back into the charger switches the system off, but there is no provision for manually switching the earbuds on and off independently of the transport case, something of a shortcoming. However, single operation of one headphone is supported, and both the left and right side can be used.
If a wireless connection is established, double tapping the touch surface controls playback, and this is possible on both sides. The right side is used to control the volume by swiping up and down, and the left side can be used to select a title by swiping. It takes some getting used to as a downward movement causes a jump forward and the upward movement causes a jump back, but these controls are quickly learned and work very precisely. Furthermore, calls can be answered with clear, clean speech intelligibility by simply tapping on either side and can be ended or rejected by pressing and holding. Holding down also (de)activates the headphone voice control, which can alternatively be switched on by “Hey TT” and has the same range of functions as the touch control. The voice controls are based on eight English voice commands and this is perfectly implemented and reliably recognised. In addition, the earbuds are equipped with an automatic playback function, so that when the headphones are taken off, it is paused until they are put back on. So-called ear recognition can also be used to switch between earbuds and your device when making a call, this is possible in both directions without any delay and without any complications.
SoundLiberty 80’s tuning seems to be appealingly balanced and has a tidy sound image, which is neither dark nor bright, but discreetly rounded. This results in a quite natural sound impression without much gimmickry with a realistic, easily understandable representation of voices, which recommends using these earbuds for spoken content and films. However, bass-oriented club music lacks depth, as the dry bass reproduction is full and powerful, but does not reach the lowest frequencies. But if you don’t need a massive subwoofer, you will have a lot of listening pleasure, as the bass foundation sounds well defined. The trebles also show a presence that is unobtrusive in a positive sense, which apart from a slight drop appears balanced. Even at higher volumes, there is no harshness, nor is there a tendency to peaks or to exaggerate sibilants.
There is nothing to criticize about the SoundLiberty 80 from TaoTronics except that the battery life is quite short. These lightweight, weatherproof wireless headphones are very comfortable to wear, offer good speech intelligibility during phone calls and impressed me with their extensive device control options. Low bass frequencies are not really present, but good sound is not a problem, as these earbuds are characterised by a harmonious, straightforward tuning.
- light, handy case format
- comfortable fit
- precise, functional touch and voice control
- good speech intelligibility when making calls
- USB-C connection
- supports aptX and AAC
- quite short battery life
- headphones without charge indicator
- no manual switch-on and switch-off
- Ear couplingEarBuds
- Transducer principledynamic
- Weight without cable5g each, incl. Case 49 g
What's in the box
- USB-C to USB-A charging cable
- Transport case