I’ve tried a fair few Bluetooth earbuds in the last 2 years, trying to find the best pair, that unicorn of comfort, sound quality, Battery and price, and when Anker asked if I wanted to review the Liberty Lites, I jumped at the chance, because on the surface, they seemed like they might be it.
- Sound good
- Impressive battery
- Great connection
- wont fit everyone's ears as well
- Audio could be better
Disclosure: Anker sent these to me free of charge for the purpose of a review. No one at Anker will review this content before it goes live and no money has exchanged hands. The Liberty Lites where used over a month long period on a BlackBerry KEY2, KEY2 LE, Honor 8X, P20 Pro and Nokia 7.1.
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Graphene-coated Dynamic drivers
- 3.5 hours continuous battery life
- 12 hours with the included charger
- MicroUSB Charger
- IPX5 Water resistance
Hardware is pretty important when it comes to headphones, they can’t be flimsy, they also can’t be too large, and honestly, the Liberty Lites do a pretty great job here. The buds themselves are decently small and light, and they are not bidirectional, there is a specific bud for left and right, as well as specific places for left and right in the case.
If you look at one of the buds head on, the front of the bud has a hidden button beneath the “Soundcore” branding. In to the right of the branding is the status LED and to the left is the microphone. Flipping the bud around, we obviously see the sound canal that gets inserted into your ear, with removable tips, as well as the 2 pogo pins that are used to charge the buds. It’s important to note that there is another cool feature, interchangeable wing tips, the problem with these is the same problem with most, it is that the buds don’t fit properly in the case with the tips on, so you end up removing them everytime you put the buds in the case.
Next up is the case, something that looks monstrously large in photos is actually a lot more manageable in real life. It’s not as pocketable as the AirPods from Apple or the Be Free8’s from Optoma, but it’s far from the monstrosity that is the BeeBuds from Jabees, and most other inexpensive wireless earbuds. Having a charging case that is pocketable seems to be an afterthought for most companies, they’d rather shove a huge battery in there and have that marketed, but most people I’ve spoken to would rather have the case be easier to put in pockets.
Opening the case up we have the two places for the buds, as I said before they are only going to go in one way so it’s pretty obvious when it isn’t right. One awesome feature? Like the BeeBuds they are magnetically latched into the case and when you remove them from the case they wake up and pair, put them back in and they power off, awesome! I love it. Something I don’t love? The MicroUSB charger. For a while, I tolerated it on peripherals, but it is getting to a point now where even on peripherals, I am getting annoyed. I understand that the USB-C port does cost more, and on inexpensive items like this, every fraction of a penny counts, but I personally think that at this point, someone should be the leader, and would like it to be Anker, seeing as they sell awesome USB-C peripherals.
Well, how do they sound? Actually, way better than I was expecting. They aren’t the loudest earbuds I’ve ever tried, that’s for sure, and they for sure aren’t the most bass heavy, but I really enjoy the sound signature of the Liberty Lites. They offer slightly punchy mids and relatively flat highs. Musical theatre sounds great, but EDM doesn’t get destroyed, and my ears don’t bleed when a bit of metal comes on.
Part of the reason I enjoy the Liberty Lites I think is the fit, these just happen to fit me really well right out of the box. The seal is impressive for a fully passive noise cancelling solution, and the spatial separation of the two makes certain tracks feel trippy as all hell in the best way possible.
Are they the best earbuds I’ve ever tried? No, not by a long shot, but those are a lot more expensive than the Liberty Lites. I’ve tried buds twice as expensive as these that don’t offer an experience or sound as good as these, and that’s impressive. I would prefer if the Liberty Lites had AptX support for better audio, but standard A2DP over BT5.0 was far better than I was expecting, once again for £60.
This is usually where the cheaper buds fall apart, whether the connection between each other or the connection between the buds and your main device, I’m happy to report that 98% of the time, these are flawless.
Setting up the buds was super easy, open the Bluetooth settings on your device and hit search, remove the buds from the case and insert into your ears, they’ll show up in the pairing menu and just connect. That’s it, that simple. I’d prefer if Anker had utilised google’s Fast Pair, but these are as easy as we’re going to get without using a system like that.
Once they’re connected to your device, opening the case and putting the buds in your ears wakes the up connects to your device and you’re ready to go. One of the issues that plagues most earbuds this style (by which I mean the small buds without antennas like the AirPods) is that once you put the device away, your body and clothing basically becomes a Faraday cage, blocking any and all Bluetooth signals from the source device to the buds, and I can happily say, they only time that happened to me when using the Liberty Lites was when I was wearing a rather large (and fetching) Jacket on the London Underground, so a worst-case scenario, though not one that is uncommon, especially as we move into Winter.
The Intrabud connection was actually pretty impressive as well, after a few seconds, they sync up quickly with little to no perceptible lag between them. I still don’t think I’d use them to watch a video as that is, once again a torture test, that even the likes of the AirPods struggle with, in my experience.
I’ve had so little trouble with battery on the Liberty Lites, I’m not even sure what to write here. Fully charged on day one, they’ve only been on the charger twice, that second time is right now. They advertise 3.5 hours of constant use, and whilst I can’t claim to have hit that number, it’s not for lack of trying, the longest journey I went on using them was 2.5 hours, and they worked perfectly without issue, then when I got off of the train, I plopped them in the case, which charged them back up by the time I had to come home.
Then my daily use is a 20-minute walk to the pool and back, once again charging in between as they go back in the case and they worked flawlessly. Usually, with Bluetooth buds, I’m constantly using the new feature in Android to show you the battery percentage of Bluetooth peripherals, but with these, I just don’t care, I don’t need to, they’re pretty much always charged when I need them. Once in a while I’ll check the LEDs on the front of the case by opening and shutting the case, if it has a single LED, then I’ll plop them on charge for a few hours, then forget about charging them for the next few weeks, simple as.
As if it wasn’t obvious, I kinda love the Liberty Lites. Anker’s subbrand Soundcore has managed to make inexpensive Bluetooth buds that sounds pretty good, have a good connection to your phone and to each other and have long enough battery to not make me worry about it.
Is the Anker Soundcore Liberty Lite the Unicorn pair of Bluetooth buds I’ve been looking for? No, I‘d still prefer them to have USB-C, I’d prefer them to use Google Fast Pair and to have AptX HD, but for £60, I can see myself picking up these for presents.