Anker’s new flagship pair of earbuds is jam-packed with features that could very well rival Apple's AirPods Pro 2 – and they offer something that even Apple's top-tier buds can't.
Called Liberty 4 (opens in new tab), the buds are part of Anker’s Soundcore audio devices brand. They'll house some of the same features as the AirPods Pro 2, including active noise canceling via HearID ANC and spatial audio. Unique to the Liberty 4 is a heart-rate monitor nestled in the right earbud, something that was supposed to be present in the Apple earbuds but was, apparently, cut.
Sound familiar? An AirPods Pro-beating temperature sensor was also supposed to feature in the excellent Honor Earbuds 3 Pro but again, the USP was nixed when Honor failed to secure regulatory approval for the feature in key European markets.
But Anker seems to have cracked monitoring your ticker, at least! As it’s described on the new Liberty 4, you must first activate the heart rate sensor via the Soundcore app (opens in new tab); no other accessory is needed. Soundcore claims the sensor can measure blood oxygen levels with a little red light turning on when it's doing this. The company does admit the feature is meant for general health and fitness use rather than being a proper medical device, so it may not be the most accurate.
Expanding on the other features, the Liberty 4’s spatial audio should make users feel like they’re totally surrounded by music. The feature is helped further by built-in gyroscopes for dynamic head tracking. That way, no matter how you turn your head, the sound quality stays consistent.
HearID ANC (opens in new tab) (Adaptive Noise Canceling) differs from typical noise canceling features because it adjusts relative to the surrounding environment, according to Soundcore. HearID ANC will be more prominent in noisy environments like public transportation and less so in quiet places. And, thanks to HearID, you can create customized equalizer profiles via the official app for specific types of audio. Also present are Music and Movie Modes, which as the names suggest, are specific audio configurations for their respective content.
Playtime is estimated at nine hours on a single charge, with a maximum of 28 hours when used with the wireless charging case. However, battery life drops depending on what feature you have activated. According to Soundcore, turning on HeadID ANC drops playtime to seven hours, and if you add spatial audio on top of that, it goes down to five hours.
The Liberty 4 looks pretty good on the surface, but we have some questions.
For starters, there’s not much information regarding the speakers. What's known is that each bud houses “two dynamic drivers” that Soundcore claims can produce “crisp sound" with a “deep bass.” And looking at the product page, there is a certification for LDAC, a Sony-created audio codec (opens in new tab) that ensures a high-quality sound feed over a wireless connection.
But the most glaring omission is the IPX rating to denote water resistance. While the earbuds aren’t explicitly fitness devices, it’s not hard to imagine people putting them on before going on a run. It would be great to know how the Liberty 4 earbuds stand up against sweat and rain. We will update this story if Soundcore returns our inquiry.
All that said, you can purchase a pair of Liberty 4 earbuds from Soundcore’s website (opens in new tab) for $149.99 ($100 cheaper than the AirPod Pro 2). The only available color is Midnight Black with the Cloud White version shipping out sometime before October 20.
If the Liberty 4 earbuds piqued your interest, check out TechRadar’s best earbuds of 2022. We put together a list that includes the top-performing models and the more affordable options.