Truly wireless earphones are looking like a big part of the future of personal audio, and fortunately they aren't very expensive anymore. Getting onto this bandwagon is an easier choice to make now that prices are reasonable, and it's possible to get a good pair of truly wireless earphones for less than Rs. 10,000 today. However, if you have an even lower budget than that, you'll want to ensure you're getting enough bang for your buck.
One affordable pair of truly wireless earphones that promises a lot is the Anker Soundcore Liberty Lite. This brand is well known for its affordable and capable power accessories, including chargers and power banks. Priced at Rs. 6,999, the Soundcore Liberty Lite earphones are well designed and have an impressive set of specifications, but how do they sound? We find out in our review.
Truly wireless earphones are meant to be small, light, and discreet, and the Anker Soundcore Liberty Light earphones are exactly that. They don't attract too much attention, don't stick out of your ears too much, and fit comfortably and securely. The outer parts of each earphone have a button, and these can be used to control playback and summon the voice assistant on a paired smartphone.
However, you can't control volume from the earphones; this needs to be done on the source device. There is also an indicator light, while the inner sides of both earbuds have contact points for charging.
The sales package includes the two earbuds, the charging case, four pairs of ear tips, four pairs of ear wings, and a Micro-USB cable for charging the case. We found the fit of the earbuds most comfortable when using the non-winged fittings. We were impressed with the level of noise isolation on offer; this can prove to be a bit risky when using these earphones outdoors and in public, because of how effectively the earphones cut you off from ambient sound.
The Anker Soundcore Liberty Lite's pill-shaped charging case is a bit larger than the ones that come with most options in this segment. It's plastic, features a Micro-USB port for charging, and provides three full charges for the two earphones.
The buds themselves ran for about 2.5 hours on a full charge, which means we got an average combined battery life of around ten hours. The right earbud is the primary one which connects to the source device, and can be used independently. The left earbud only works when the right one is active.
While many options in this category support only the SBC Bluetooth codec, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Lite adds support for the AAC codec as well, which can deliver improved sound quality on both Android and iOS devices. The earphones use Bluetooth 5 for connectivity, and are also IPX5-rated for water resistance, making them suitable for use while working out.
The sound quality of truly wireless earphones largely tends to correspond with pricing, but that isn't always true. The Anker Soundcore Liberty Lite is one such exception — sound quality is excellent for the price, largely thanks to the superior AAC Bluetooth codec that improves sound if a compatible source device is used.
We tested the Soundcore Liberty Lite earphones with a OnePlus 7 Pro (Review) and Apple iPad mini (2019), largely relying on the AAC Bluetooth codec. We played music using Spotify, and also some high-resolution audio files for testing.
Starting with Fatal System Error by Notaker, we were immediately taken in by the finesse and subtlety of the sound. The gentle start of the track felt deep, present, and real, showcasing the fantastic soundstage of the Anker Soundcore Liberty Lite earphones. As the track built up to its more exciting bass-driven core, the Soundcore Liberty Lite earphones were able to keep up with no trouble at all. The bass drop was immersive and aggressive in equal measure, without overpowering the mid-range or highs — just the way we like it.
Moving on to Focus by Hocus Pocus, not only was the aggressive low-end evident, but we also found the mid-range and high-end to be equally responsive. This somewhat neutral sonic signature makes for a sound that does as much for detail as for raw excitement, and the result was clean and sharp without losing any of its drive and attack.
Apart from this, there was also a strong sense of direction to the sound, and we were able to hear subtle shifts between the stereo channels with ease. Switching to the SBC codec significantly reduced the level of detail, showcasing the significant difference that the AAC codec makes in delivering detail and sound imaging.
For voice calls, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Lite did an acceptable job in relatively quiet surroundings such as our office. Noisier outdoor environments gave us a bit of trouble, with people reporting issues with our voice quality when we were speaking to them. If conditions are favourable, the strong mid-range response of the earphones makes voices clear and sharp. This also helped when using the Soundcore Liberty Lite earphones while watching videos on our smartphone or tablet.
The sound quality of the Anker Soundcore Liberty Lite earphones while good for the price, is nowhere near as good as what you could get with our current favourite pair of truly wireless earphones, the far more expensive Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless. However, the sound is on par with what you can get from options priced slightly higher than the Soundcore Liberty Lite, such as the Samsung Galaxy Buds and Nokia True Wireless Earbuds.
Pricing is the biggest advantage here, and that along with the excellent noise isolation, makes this pair of earphones worth investing in. For just a thousand rupees more than the Blaupunkt BTW-01 truly wireless earphones, the improvement in sound with the Anker Soundcore Liberty Lite is significant.
However, the average overall battery life and inadequate on-board controls hold the Anker Soundcore Liberty Lite back, and it might be worth spending a bit more on the Samsung Galaxy Buds just for these reasons.
If your main priority is low cost though, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Lite earphones are well worth the investment thanks to their excellent sound quality. Also worth looking at are the much more affordable Leaf Pods, which offer similar sound quality at a much lower price, but the Liberty Lite is a bit more detailed on the whole.
Price: Rs. 6,999
Ratings (out of 5)
Is Samsung Galaxy S10+ the best Android flagship overall? Are Samsung Galaxy Buds the best truly wireless headphones in India? We discussed these things on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.