As a category, true wireless earbuds have only really been a ‘thing’ for a couple of years now, but already it has become a crowded market with a host of brands fighting for the space either side of your head.
Standing out is hard to do, but the Libratone Track Air+ true wireless earbuds do so not with crazy gimmicks, but instead by cramming a bunch of useful features into the product.
From wireless charging to noise-canceling technology, they tick many of the boxes we look for from our wireless buds. Here’s what impressed us most from our preview hands-on session with the Libratone Track Air+ earphones.
Price and availability
The Libratone Track Air+ are in stores now, and cost £179 (about $220 / AU$325). That puts them at the pricier end of the true wireless earbud spectrum, but with a feature-rich spec sheet that sees it justify its price tag.
As for the competition, the Apple AirPods (2019), cost $159 / £159 / AU$249, and are still the best selling true wireless earbuds (though far from being the most impressive). Check out our round up of the best true wireless earbuds to see what the alternatives look like.
If you’ve seen a pair of true wireless earbuds before, you know the drill by this point.
The Libratrone Track Air+ true wireless earbuds keep to the same design principles that you’re now familiar with from the wire-free category. Both earbuds sit in a pillbox-like curved charging case, snapping into the charging contacts magnetically.
When you charge the case, housing its own battery, it’ll also charge the earbuds housed within. Pair the buds once with your audio device, and they’ll connect over Bluetooth as soon as you remove them from the case, and switch back off when placed back inside.
Onto the specifics, then. The Libratone Track Air+ comes in two colors, black or white, each with chrome accents to their design, with the angular design of the earbuds favouring the “with stem” like look of the AirPods rather than the bullet-like style of the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1.
The case charges over USB-C, but can also be charged wireless using a charging pad. Libratone is offering up its own charging pad, to be sold separately, called the Coil, which charges “with high efficiency” at %w, 7.5W or 10W.
You’ll get 6 hours out of the fully charged buds, with an extra 18 in the case for a total of 24 hours playback. Annoyingly, the charging indicator light sits under the lid of the charging case, so you’re going to have to lift it up to get a look at whether or not your buds are fully juiced, rather than glancing from afar at the outside of the case.
24 hours total battery is a respectable figure, but far from the best we’ve seen in the area. But that’s far more palatable here given the fact that a), the case is incredibly compact, and b), the headphones feature active noise cancellation (ANC).
At just 5.6g per bud, noise cancelation is a premium feature in the true wireless earbud market, and the compact size of the earbuds makes its inclusion even more impressive here – providing it works as advertised. Libratone claims its ANC tech can tune out up to 30dB of exterior noise.
The Track Air+ are fully customizable though, from the level of noise cancellation applied, to exactly what the touch-sensitive areas of each earbud do. It might be one of those rare cases where you’ll actually want to install the accompanying app to the headphones, as you can fine tune how intensely you want to block out external noise, along with the playback controls multiple taps activate.
This is handy as, just like other touch-sensitive wireless earbuds, the touch controls can be a bit fiddly, and not always easy to pull off.
Rounding off the feature list is IPX4 splash-proofing, making the earbuds protected against a touch of water (but not a swimming session), as well as Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity and aptX codec support – ideal for keeping your mobile videos in sync with the audio.
We had the briefest of opportunities to hear the Libratone Track Air+ during our hands-on session, so our view of the sound quality of the earbuds remains very limited.
We’ll be expanding on this early look very soon as we receive a review sample, but for now, this is just a snapshot of about 45 seconds worth of half a Coldplay song. The one called ‘Paradise’. The one that no-one should really ever have to endure.
Without being able to attach our preferred ear-tip size it was almost impossible to judge the quality of the Libratone Track Air+ noise cancellation capabilities. But what was easier to discern was how crisp the sound was from the buds.
The 5.3mm driver in each bud was ringing out with clear mids and top end frequencies without being harsh or sibilant. Bass notes seemed tight and punchy too, giving some bottom end kick as required. It’s a pity we didn’t have anything more challenging than the Coldplay clip to go by, but we’ll have a more nuanced test to share soon.
The Libratone Track Air+ seem incredibly promising. The spec sheet alone would be enough to make you sit up and take note, but we’ve high expectations from the audio quality we’ve glimpsed at here, too.
Providing the Libratone Track Air+ can deliver on the noise cancelation front, these could be up there with the best true wireless earbuds.
- Best headphones 2019: Your definitive guide to the latest and greatest audio