Anker’s Soundcore brand of personal audio devices just released the latest of true wireless earbuds in its Liberty line, and the company seems to be throwing everything at them. The $170 Liberty 3 Pro is 30% smaller in size than their predecessor, the Liberty 2 Pro, plus they come equipped with active noise cancellation (ANC) and the high-resolution Bluetooth codec, which the older model’s original version lacked. The Liberty 3 Pro comes in four colors — black, white, gray and purple — and you can buy them on Amazon and other retailers starting today.
We were stunned by how great the Liberty 2 Pro performed. We only noticed a few drawbacks – a bulky design, and some fanciful buttons. Soundcore was clearly paying close attention—the Liberty 3 Pros are remarkably small (though they’ll still be a bit out of your ears), and the tiny physical buttons have been ditched in favor of touch controls. They definitely look more high-end, with a mirror-like finish and chrome accents. Soundcore says they’ll feel more comfortable due to the shape of the redesigned silicone earwings.
Internally, Soundcore has revised its “Astria Coaxial Acoustic Architecture”—a fancy way of saying that the earbuds use a hybrid driver system with a 10.6mm dynamic driver for a Knowles balanced armature. What’s changed? Other than a slightly smaller dynamic driver, it’s hard to tell from the brief press release the company issued, but we’re told they’re the “best-sounding TWS earbuds” Soundcore has ever made, with powerful bass and crisp treble .
The Liberty 2 Pro includes the company’s HereID system for personalized sound EQ, and harkens back to the 3 Pro. But now, HereID is also being used to optimize the ANC function. We’re not entirely sure how it works, but the company is clearly excited by it, saying it’s able to “automatically optimize noise reduction based on outdoor conditions, while in- Ears analyze pressure to create a unique, tailor-made sound profile for the most accurate and comfortable experience.” That’s a lot of hype to live up to.
The Liberty 3 Pro also sports Sony’s LDAC Bluetooth codec in addition to the more standard SBC and AAC codecs. Under optimal conditions (and when connected to a compatible phone), LDAC can transmit up to three times more data than other codecs, allowing for high-quality streaming music such as Apple’s new lossless tracks, or similar content from locations. Should help preserve more detail. Like Amazon Music Unlimited and Tidal. Unfortunately, iPhone owners will have to make do with AAC – Apple has so far refused to implement anything other than SBC or AAC on their mobile devices.
Right now, only two true wireless earbuds we know of can claim to meet the wireless hi-res audio standard: Sony’s $279 WF-1000XM4 and Edifier’s $130 NeoBuds Pro. But the Liberty 3 Pro has the edge over the edifiers — the NeoBuds Pro uses the LHDC wireless hi-res codec, which isn’t as widely supported as LDAC, meaning that at least for US buyers, it’s now two There is a horse race between Soundcore and Sony.
They’ve also got in-ear detection, yet another feature the Liberty 2 Pro lacks. Battery life claims are good, with up to six hours of life in each earbud with ANC and an additional 24 hours in a wireless charging-compatible case. If you turn off the ANC, those numbers increase to eight and 32. Fifteen minutes of fast-charging will give you three hours of standby time. An IPX4 rating for water resistance rounds out the specifications of these earbuds.