Anker Soundcore Liberty Air is the Budget Friendly AirPods Competitor
The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air was released in the Summer of 2018 as a cheaper alternative to Anker’s direct AirPod competitors, the Zolo Liberty earbuds. The Liberty Air earbuds feature tap based voice assistant integration: able to activate the voice assistant on your phone with two taps to the left earbud. The Soundcore Liberty Air buds are connected to a user’s phone via Bluetooth, meaning they are able to work with voice assistants Siri, Google Assistant, Bixby, and Alexa depending on which one a user has available on their phone.
Other tap commands also allow users to control music playback and answer/end/reject calls. Since its initial release last summer, the earbuds have been well reviewed, and are often called the budget-friendly AirPods competitor, as they have also been frequently reviewed to offer comparable sound quality to AirPods and AirPods competitors like Klipsch, Bang & Olufson, Jabra, and Sennheiser, at half the price. Currently, the Liberty Air buds are being sold for $79.99 on Amazon and have 3.8 out of 5 average star rating from 106 user reviews.
Liberty Air vs Other True Wireless Earbuds: The Specs
The consensus most outlets have arrived at is that while the Liberty Air earbuds may not offer superior sound quality when compared to others, like the AirPods, they offer good sound quality, but most importantly represent a quality product at a low price. For example, ReviewGeek scored the Liberty Air earbuds with an 8/10, saying,
You’re paying 50% of the cost of a pair of AirPods and getting 75% of the value. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth paying 50% more to get the whole AirPod experience.
AirPods sell for $159.99, Sennheiser’s True Wireless premium earbuds are $299.95, RHA TrueConnect runs for $204.48, the Jabra Elite 65t is $149.99, and the Optoma NuForce BE Free5 is $144 on Amazon. Additionally, while wireless, not all offer access to voice assistants, again pointing to the value the Liberty Air true wireless earbuds offer.
Some consumers complain that wireless earbuds are prone to falling out of their ears, and Liberty Air has even addressed that aspect. The earbuds come with three different sizes of rubber ear tips, making the product compatible with ears of all shapes and sizes. The rubber ear tips also allow for the creation of a tight seal, meaning users experience noise-isolation with the Liberty Air earbuds. As David Kemp noted in his hearables-themed column for Voicebot, AirPods have the advantage in ‘ear share’ due to their early lead. One of his most pressing questions: “How will Google, Amazon, and the other smart assistant providers look to compete with Apple’s AirPods?” Good quality earbuds with compatibility for multiple mobile brands and voice assistants at a low price may be the answer.
A Focus on Making Voice Assistants Easily Accessible
The compatibility with multiple voice assistants, the ability to use touch controls to easily activate voice assistants, and the comparatively low price of the earbuds all speak to Anker’s focus on making voice assistants easily accessible. There is no requirement to use a single voice assistant, allowing the product to be more applicable to users of all kinds, not just those loyal to one tech company. Even Apple users can access Siri with the Liberty Air earbuds. The inclusion of touch controls means users can activate a voice assistant with relative ease.
Competitive pricing also indicates Soundcore’s focus, as it allows users who are generally cut off from participating in tech trends due to high prices to participate in the growing hearables market. Something else to note is that if Soundcore is able to produce true wireless earphones with voice assistant compatibility at such a low price, it is likely we will see other companies following suit very quickly. AirPods 2 have been rumored to be arriving in 2019, and less expensive, more advanced Bluetooth chips are becoming available, like Qualcomm’s QCC5100 which is designed to power AirPod’s competitors. This all points to hearables becoming a bigger focus for consumer electronics manufacturers in 2019.