With the launch of the Anker Soundcore Liberty 4, the biggest question is if the truly wireless headphones are worth all the hype. With the market already having truly wireless earphones from Apple, Sony, Samsung, Bose, and more, it is good to check if it is worth buying these new earphones.
What you will see?
Anker Soundcore Liberty 4
The Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 gives you dynamic, programmable sound, and good noise cancellation in this price range. The app offers you features like a variety of EQ and control configuration options in addition to LDAC compatibility. These earbuds are lightweight, sturdy, and comfortable to wear. You can easily carry it in your bag or purse due to its compact size. However, despite having an adaptable ANC system, they have trouble muffling the low rumble of bus engines. They offer a continuous power life of over six hours, and the charging case has two more charges. The Liberty 4 is a great alternative for AirPods Pro 2 on a budget because of its stronger sound, smarter ANC, and unexpected features.
- IPX4 for water resistance
- LDAC support
- Adjustable EQ in the app
- Good sound quality
- Noise Cancellation
- Bad passive soundstage
- Don't fit securely in ears
- Mic quality
With the Soundcore Liberty 4, Anker gives you excellent audio and Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) using two dynamic drivers in each earpiece. The fourth-generation model improves upon series mainstays like flexible audio, individualized active noise cancellation (ANC), and dependable connectivity. Noise cancellation, transparency mode, wireless charging, Bluetooth multipoint, a high-res Bluetooth codec (LDAC), good battery life, and a companion app with a multitude of customization choices are just a few of the features that Soundcore has included. Anker’s Spatial Audio feature helps to create a more immersive music experience and includes a built-in heart-rate sensor, speaker modeling, and head tracking. Its increased IPX5 rating will protect the buds from water and sweat better than prior Liberty models.
Despite the fact that they lack stabilizing fins, they will remain in place throughout moderate activities after you’ve got a proper fit. The Soundcore app provides a tonne of customization possibilities, including the capability to give each of the six motions any purpose you like. When you take out your headphones, a set of wearable sensors allow you to instantly halt your music. They still cost $100 less than Apple’s top-of-the-line headphones and $130 less than Sony’s. The Liberty 4 is therefore an unbeatable value in terms of features alone.
Design and Size
Anker chose a long-stem design over a flat oval-shaped design for functional reasons. The buds themselves are substantially smaller than their predecessors. TPU and wool are used to make the woofer, and PEN is used to make the tweeter. They come with a charging case with a top that slides open and are offered in black or white. You can choose from midnight black and cloud white color options for the Anker Soundcore Liberty 4. The logo and Soundcore branding are printed on the front with a few more details. The debossed Soundcore logo and thin LED strip to indicate pairing and battery level statuses give it a stylish look. Also, they have a slightly glossy appearance, however, the whole design is quite simple. They don’t have a deep in-ear fit and are lightweight. Unfortunately, if you’re chewing or talking, they could pop out of your ears.
The gel ear tips are thicker than those of other earbuds in the market. The Liberty 4 offers a hybrid fit, relying on the ear tip cushions to conform to your ear canals and the stems to hang on your ears. However, they come with a selection of ear tips in various sizes to assist you to find the right fit. After you’ve achieved a secure fit with the included ear tips, they shouldn’t come loose during a light workout. The in-ear headphones are fairly portable and readily fit into most purses or pockets. These come with four sets of semi-transparent silicone ear tips in small, medium (two), and large sizes and fit well. The Liberty 4 earbuds are surprisingly small and stylish for having two drivers.
The Soundcore app has a “fit test” feature that lets you test your ears with sound to make sure you’ve chosen the right tips. Each earpiece has internal 9.2mm and 6.0mm dynamic drivers that work together to produce sound with an impedance of 16 ohms and a frequency range of 20Hz to 40KHz. The AAC, LDAC, and SBC codecs are supported by the Bluetooth 5.3-compatible pair, however, AptX is not. The Liberty 4 has been further reduced by Soundcore’s Astria Coaxial Acoustic Architecture v3.0. As a result, the design is significantly more compact.
Even if the case is smaller, the cool slider on top is still present. The earphones turn on and begin pairing with your phone as soon as you slide open the case. They are probably already connected to your phone by the moment you insert them into your ears. Two white LEDs are located inside the case and illuminate the ear tips. This makes it simpler to grab the earbuds at night.
Even though the Liberty 4 earbuds lack tracking functionality, the case is constructed to ensure that you never lose your earbud. The charging case slides outward, resembling the design of vintage slide phones, as opposed to flipping up from the top. The top cover’s elastic-like feedback holds the case closed and the earbuds from dispersing upon impact. Considering how long the sliding case’s battery lasts, its compactness is equally impressive.
The controls on these headphones are present on the stem. Both stems have a user-friendly touch-sensitive surface. The Liberty 4 have touch controls and a stem squeeze function to switch between ANC and ambient mode, similar to most wireless earbuds. The Liberty 4 demands a firmer touch input and wouldn’t interrupt your calls due to hypersensitivity. This is one feature of the Soundcore that sets them apart from other earbuds. When switching between the ANC, normal, and transparency settings, you will hear chimes to alert you. Moreover, there are tones for tap feedback, but you must enable this function in the app. The controls include:
- Left ear Triple tap: Skips to the next track.
- Right ear Triple tap: Skips to the previous track.
- Single tap: Plays and pauses audio.
- Double tap: Switches between ANC, normal, and transparency mode. Also, answers or ends calls.
- Triple tap: Declines a call.
Via the app, you may change the basic layout, add voice assistant controls, and adjust the volume. This is accessible on both iOS and Android. Moreover, Anker offers five different levels of sensor sensitivity: softest, gentle, moderate, firm, and firmest. The softest is the least responsive to pressure. The sensors are receptive to input in either case. In the Soundcore app, you can map these to single-, double-, or triple-press actions. The ability to start auto-pause/play when removing or wearing the earbuds is known as wear detection. The digital assistant function works reasonably well. Android devices handle voice instructions better. With Google Assistant and Bixby, Anker’s mic array displayed great speech recognition, and both AI bots reply promptly to requests and don’t lag as Siri did.
Heart Rate Monitor
The Soundcore Liberty 4’s integrated heart-rate sensor is a selling point for Anker. The app tracks your heart rate whenever you have the proper earbud in your ear. Although there are no integrations with Apple HealthKit or other third-party services, it solely functions with the Soundcore app. You can simply record your heart rate for the duration of your choosing. The app allows you to log your workouts and offers a number of guided regimens as well as the option to design and save your own. You may choose whether or not to receive audio feedback while your activity is being tracked. As an alternative, you can decide to have the app track your stress levels even while you’re not working out. Your stress level can be shown on the Soundcore app based on Heart Rate Variability (HRV).
The wellness area of the app has everything very clearly laid out. It’s difficult to determine which is more accurate without a professional heartbeat monitor, although some studies have indicated that the ear is a more accurate place than the wrist. However, no one will wear earphones all the time, and most people who are serious about tracking their health will do so with a smartwatch.
The IPX4 rating on these headphones is more or less standard for noise-canceling models. The Anker earbuds can survive mild sprays or splashes from any angle, but avoid immersing them in water or washing them under a tap. Also, because the rating doesn’t cover the charging case, be sure to completely dry the earpieces before docking them.
To make it easier for you to know when the case is on, it has a light on the front. When the buds are charging, the two lights inside the case—one for each bud—light up and blink. A pairing button is also located on the rear of the casing. It has good built quality, primarily composed of inexpensive plastic, and the cover of the carrying case feels a little fragile. Cool features include a lid that swings back to show the earbuds. It activates the LEDs to illuminate the semi-transparent silicone ear tips. A status LED strip is located on the easy-to-grip case’s front edge, and a USB-C port on the back allows charging using the USB-C to USB-A charging connection that is included. Moreover, it supports Qi-based wireless charging.
These wireless earbuds from Anker sound the most cutting-edge they have ever. The twin dynamic speaker system produces rich, well-balanced audio, and the pre-set Soundcore Signature EQ gives the bass end more power. They contain more treble than bass, which intensifies the music rather than the singers and instruments. This works nicely with bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop. Sibilants are also sharp and piercing, which over time can make listening difficult. Fortunately, you can actually customize their sound to your tastes with the visual EQ and presets in the app. This includes numerous pre-built EQ customizations, the option to build your own Custom EQ, Soundcore’s individualized HearID feature, and the 360° Immersive Spatial Audio. The program also offers a huge selection of EQ settings. Although there are more than a dozen additional choices, including Acoustic, Bass Booster, Classical, Podcast, Hip-hop, Rock, and Latin.
The Liberty 4 earbuds have a brand-new ACAA 3.0 coaxial acoustic technology that amplifies the mids and highs while pushing the bass even harder. Because they are in-ear, these headphones have a poor passive soundstage, but that is to be anticipated. Your outer ear is not utilized by them, and this means that you won’t experience a broad, three-dimensional auditory experience that feels like the sounds are coming from all around you. The earbuds give a potent low-frequency response on tracks with heavy sub-bass content. At maximum volume, the bass does not distort, and at lower volumes, the lows still sound powerful. The lower-frequency driver somewhat increases the bass while the high-frequency driver of each earpiece picks up some treble-range frequencies and pushes them forward in the mix.
Yet because the drivers don’t go quite so low, the sub-bass range isn’t taken into account. The sound is extremely good, especially when you combine the Liberty 4 with an LDAC-capable phone and a 24-bit, lossless audio source like Apple Music or
The HearID test available in the Soundcore app enables you to test your hearing. The app plays back music with a few different profiles based on your test results. This is after it has played a series of beeps at various frequencies and you have determined which ones you can hear. When you tell the app which ones you favor, it creates a sound profile that is intended to make up for whatever hearing loss you may have. For aged ears, this feature is fantastic. Moreover, HearID supports the settings for active noise cancellation. Using the HearID Sound function, which measures your hearing sensitivity to generate a sound profile, you can enhance the low and midrange frequencies.
The software generates a unique ANC profile once you conduct a test in a noisy area. Afterward, you can use it in adaptive mode, which automatically adjusts according to background noise. Or else, you can use manual mode to customize the ANC to your preferences. Moreover, you can disable ANC or utilize it in Transparency Mode. You may adjust transparency in the app to either voice mode or Completely Transparent. The first enhances conversation and the latter allows you to hear other background noises like traffic. If none of those work for you, you can create your own profile and save it for later use using the Custom EQ window.
The latest feature introduced is spatial audio with head-tracking. The Soundcore Liberty 4 can produce simulated dimensional audio using in-app processing. It is compatible with the spatial audio formats broadcast from providers like Apple Music and Tidal. The app for the Soundcore Liberty 4 features a Spatial Audio mode. There are settings for both music and movies, and there are fixed or head-tracking spatial audio options. You can select between head tracking and fixed speaker modeling. Also, you may select between “Music Mode” and “Movie Mode,” which might enhance the audio experience. However, the sound quality might not just be as great. Music Mode creates bloated bass that ruins most contemporary tracks. Movie Mode is more immersive and suitable for watching action movies. If the head-tracking feature is disabled, all that remains is a reverb and delay trick.
If you enjoy the way it sounds, utilizing it is harmless, but you won’t experience more accurate audio. Certainly, spatial audio is a little goofy, but it might one day contribute to the development of immersive audio for VR and gaming headsets. However, while it is entertaining, it is still primarily a gimmick. It essentially widens and deepens the soundstage and then repositions some of the instruments to benefit from that wider virtual stage. It supports any audio, not only Dolby Atmos or 5.1. In fact, everything is handled the same manner regardless of whether you are listening to these formats or not.
Active Noise Cancellation
Anker keeps improving its ANC technology by now providing HearID ANC, which offers adaptive noise cancellation. The adaptive ANC feature in these headphones automatically modifies their performance to better fit the ambient noise. But, if the skin sensor isn’t engaged, the ANC may turn off. If you travel frequently, you may find it aggravating because the adaptive ANC does not effectively filter out all the low surrounding sounds. But, when it comes to mid-range sounds, they are more effective. Yet, compared to the ANC, they are better equipped to passively isolate high-pitched noises. These headphones also include manual ANC controls with three different modes: ‘Weak’, ‘Moderate’, and ‘Strong’. Compared to manual ANC set to “Strong,” adaptive ANC gives a little superior overall noise isolation performance. The most well-balanced noise-canceling setting is called Normal, and it is accessible.
The Soundcore Liberty 4 earbuds automatically set the Active Noise Cancellation to “high,” which effectively reduces the majority of the noise. In comparison to earlier Anker models, wind resistance has increased and significantly lessens the severe whisking effects that are created in windy conditions. For their price, the earbuds provide good noise cancellation. Just don’t expect performance on par with the higher-end earbuds like AirPods. Moreover, they can’t block as much noise as larger headphones that cover the full ear. The Soundcore Liberty 4 earbuds offer HearID ANC, which only amps up Active Noise Cancellation when it’s necessary for noisy areas.
Transparency Mode, another feature of the Soundcore Liberty 4, enables you to hear sounds around you without taking off your headphones. There are two options: “full transparency” and “vocal,” which give precedence to human speech frequencies to enhance audibility in noisy environments. Moreover, with multipoint technology, it is possible to pair the earbuds with two devices at once. You can check the Dual Connections feature in the app. You can move between two connected devices easily with this feature.
However, remember that turning on the LDAC codec also turns off Multipoint. The connection won’t change until you answer the call. So, if you’re playing music on your computer and your phone rings, the incoming call ring won’t be audible. This is a function that is becoming more and more crucial for people who make a lot of calls.
The length of the battery depends on how you use the earbuds. These earbuds have good battery life. They last up to seven hours when using the ANC continually. You get two more charges in the case. You can use one bud while the other charges and they feature an auto-off timer that you can configure with the accompanying app. Remember that a high volume can cut them down by roughly 45 minutes. For instance, when ANC is enabled, the earbuds’ and the case’s battery life are reduced to seven and twenty-four hours, respectively. After 15 minutes of charging, you will get three hours of playback time. Up to 28 hours of non-ANC playback are possible with the charging case. You can use either a USB-C cable or a wireless Qi charger to recharge the charging case.
The Anker Soundcore app has a remarkable number of features. You can change the transparency mode, and ANC controls, and choose between manual and adaptive ANC. Also, you may select between SBC and LDAC codec sound modes, use an 8-band graphic EQ and presets, and access the spatial audio mode. Moreover, you can update the firmware and modify the prompt tones as well as the auto-off timer. The app also offers some wellness-related features. This includes guided workouts, which is a unique feature. The heart-rate monitor in the earbuds allows the app to also measure your stress levels.
The main screen displays an image of the product along with battery readouts for each earpiece and the casing. You can choose between the Noise Cancellation, Normal, and Transparent Mode settings in the Ambient area below this. The HearID ANC feature, which can measure your ears and generate a custom ANC profile, can be enabled if you select the Noise Cancellation option. You can select from Completely Transparent or Vocal Modes if you choose the Transparency Mode. The HeardID sound test, a Default toggle (which lets you choose from more than 20 EQ preset options), and a Custom EQ button are all included in the Sound Effects section. Using this final option, you can configure your settings and alter eight frequency-fixed bands between 100Hz and 12.9KHz.
You can customize the on-ear control experience using the Controls module. With single-, double-, or triple-press gestures, nearly every function is available. You can also configure each earphone with its own set of controls. The Soundcore Wellness area is further down and duplicates some of the basic health functions on your phone’s default health app. You can use the earbuds to track how long you spend exercising and assess your heart rate. In-ear fit checks, in-ear detection, auto-power-off choices (from 10 minutes to an hour, to never off), installing firmware updates, and disabling control prompt tones are present in the Settings menu.
The Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 have great Bluetooth connectivity. The Liberty 4 earphones connect to both your computer and your phone and switch between the two with ease. They support LDAC codec, which is Sony’s proprietary codec for Hi-Res audio. However, if you’re using LDAC, you won’t be able to connect to more than one device simultaneously. When you’re using LDAC, they have high latency on the PC. Thus, this codec isn’t ideal for streaming. It’s lower on Android devices though. If you’re using SBC, they have high latency on PC and Android devices, though it falls within acceptable levels on iOS.
The Liberty 4 is a compelling purchase for those looking for reliable budget-friendly earbuds because it boasts stronger sound, smarter ANC, and unexpected features. At the price of $150, the Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 earbuds give you dynamic adaptable sound. Spatial audio, Anker’s unique active noise suppression, support for Sony’s LDAC codec, programmable EQ settings, and a number of new health-tracking functions are all included with the Soundcore Liberty 4. The default Soundcore Signature settings provide an excellent listening experience, so you don’t need to go through all the options. According to the company, the batteries last nine hours with two full charges in the case. However, that is only when everything is running smoothly at 50% volume and without the usage of any ANC, transparency, LDAC, spatial audio, or heart rate tracking. Also, a quick charge in 15 minutes will give you an additional three hours.
Although, Spatial audio and a handful of the controls are two areas where Anker needs to improve. But, with this much acoustic variety, competent noise-cancellers are difficult to ignore. The Liberty 4 earbuds capture your attention with simple connectivity, a cozy design, and heart rate monitoring. The Liberty 4 earbuds from Soundcore deliver on the brand’s promise of premium sound at a reasonable cost.
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