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Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro
August 12, 2021
Original: $169 USD
March 2022: $129 USD
15.1 x 4.7 x 15.1cm (case)
Anker has made waves in the headphone market by packing immense features into its headsets for a fraction of the cost of the competition. The Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro builds off the popularity of the Liberty 2 Pro. This time around, you get extra features such as active noise canceling (ANC) to bring the earbuds up to date with the latest market trends. Unfortunately, the earbuds also bring some of the noteworthy pain points from its predecessor, placing this headset in a tightly crowded market of wireless earbuds.
Do these flagship earbuds have a place among the best, or should Anker just stick to the more affordable headphone market?
Who should buy the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro?
What is it like to use the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro?
The unboxing experience for the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro beats pretty much anything else out there. The magnetic enclosure box holds the charging case and earbuds, the bevy of wing tips and ear tips, and a fit guide alongside a quick start guide and other paperwork. It takes a bit of time to snap on the wing tips and ear tips, but once you find the right fit, the earbuds will stay locked in your ears.
Combining a secure fit with an IPX4 water resistance rating makes these earbuds a good gym companion. Active noise cancelling blocks out distractions, while transparency mode and in-ear detection for auto play/pause make quick conversations effortless.
Learn more: What makes a good set of in-ears?
To the rejoice of fidgeters, the charging slides open and snaps shut with a resounding click. It’s one of the sleekest earbud case designs around, and it’s adorned inside and out with LEDs, so you’ll know when the earbuds or case are charging.
While the wing tips ensure a secure fit, they also contribute to a rather bulky earbud housing. The earbuds protrude from the ears, so you definitely can’t lay on your side with them on. However, the overall package is light enough to forget that you’re wearing them throughout the day.
How to control the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro
Below, we’ve outlined the default controls, though you can adjust them in the Soundcore app. Within the app, you can also enable or disable wearing detection, which automatically pauses your music when you take an earbud out of your ears.
|DOUBLE TAP||HOLD FOR ONE SECOND||HOLD FOR TWO SECONDS|
Next track or answer/end call
|HOLD FOR ONE SECOND|
Mute microphone on call
|HOLD FOR TWO SECONDS|
Play/pause or answer/end call
|HOLD FOR ONE SECOND|
Mute microphone on call
|HOLD FOR TWO SECONDS|
Should you download the Soundcore app?
The Soundcore app is full of features to tailor the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro experience to your liking. Beyond the extensive array of ear tips and ear wings included in the box, Anker includes software functionality so these earbuds truly fit your ears.
HearID sound test analyzes your ability to perceive different frequencies, and builds a custom equalizer accordingly. You can also select from a variety of equalization (EQ) presets, or build your own.
Nearly every aspect of the Liberty 3 Pro is adjustable to your needs and preferences.
Additionally, the HearID ANC test also identifies how much you prefer different background frequencies to be attenuated. Just make sure to take this test in the noisiest environment you typically find yourself in for the best results. If you enable Adaptive Mode, the Liberty 3 Pro will automatically adjust the level of noise cancelling depending on the noise levels in your surroundings.
You can toggle transparency mode on or off from within the app, as well as select between a “Fully Transparent Mode” or “Vocal Mode” which specifically boosts frequencies in the typical vocal range for conversations. Other features within the app include toggling wind noise reduction and wearing detection on or off, a fit test to ensure you’re using the right ear tips and wings, firmware updates, and tap control customization.
See also: The best true wireless earbuds
What Bluetooth codecs does the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro support?
With Bluetooth 5.2 and codec support for LDAC, AAC, SBC, the Liberty 3 Pro delivers high-quality streaming to most devices. However, in search of the highest bit rate, Anker has taken a step back where it matters most—maintaining a stable listening experience. When moving around, the earbuds occasionally lose connection, even when my phone or computer is only a few feet away. If you experience similar issues, try re-installing the Soundcore app and hard-resetting the earbuds, as that seems to help a bit. Fingers crossed Anker releases a firmware update to alleviate the issues entirely soon.
Unlike previous Soundcore Liberty earbud iterations, the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro features Bluetooth multipoint. This means you can connect to your phone and laptop at the same time to get alerts, or quickly switch from listening to music on one device to answering a call on the other.
Read more: Why is Bluetooth so unreliable?
How long does the battery last on the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro?
In our testing, we got 6 hours, 25 minutes of usage from the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro with the constant playback of real music, peaking at 75dB(SPL). Your mileage may vary depending on how loudly you listen to your music, and whether you are listening in ANC, transparency, or regular mode.
It takes two hours to fully charge the earbuds, and three hours to charge the case; however, fast charging provides three hours of playback time from only 15 minutes of charging. You can charge the case via USB-C or using a Qi wireless charging mat.
Learn more: How to increase true wireless earbud lifespan
How well does the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro block out noise?
Noise attenuation performance on the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro is passable, though it doesn’t hold a candle to the best noise cancelling earbuds. If you use the right-sized ear tips and ear wings, passive isolation blocks mid to high-end frequencies so they sound half to one-quarter as loud. Enabling active noise cancelling provides up to an additional 10dB of attenuation in mid to low frequencies below 1kHz.
With ANC set to its highest setting, all environmental noise will sound at least 50% quieter compared to not wearing the earbuds. This is still a significant improvement over earbuds that lack ANC, and enough to block out all distractions once you start playing music as well.
How does the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro sound?
The default sound of the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro leans heavily into the U-shaped frequency curve of many consumer headphones, with significant boosts to the lowest and highest frequencies of the human hearing spectrum. While this sound doesn’t exactly align with our ideal consumer headphone curve, it’s still a frequency response some will enjoy, especially if you listen to high-energy EDM music or want to hear a thumping low end during your workouts. Keep in mind, tweaking the EQ settings within the Soundcore app will easily adjust the sound to your liking.
You can enable 3D surround sound mode from within the Soundcore app, but we wouldn’t recommend it. Anker is attempting to emulate what Apple does with spatial audio, but the implementation is not as refined, often resulting in significantly distorted mixes.
Lows, mids, and highs
Using the default frequency response, bass notes are significantly amplified. At 0:47 of My Universe by Coldplay and BTS, the sub-bass is overpowering, which makes it hard to hear the vocals, melodic synths, and other instruments.
The U-shaped frequency response leaves mid-range frequencies from 300-1000Hz under represented in most mixes. The fundamental frequencies of many vocal notes live in this range, leaving the vocals in tracks such as Blinding Lights by the Weeknd to sound quiet in comparison to the bass and drums.
A boost to high frequencies above 5kHz makes it easier to percieve detail. When I do this, I notice a significant boost to the hi-hats and percussive instruments in the intro of Dandelions by Ruth B.
Most people will likely prefer to reduce the lowest and highest frequency sliders within the custom EQ, and add a slight boost to the 400Hz and 800Hz sliders.
How good is the microphone on the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro?
Microphone quality is perfectly fine for taking calls in most environments. The earbuds feature six microphones with what Anker calls AI-uplink noise reduction, which is an algorithm to detect and limit background noise. As you can hear in our simulated office environment microphone demonstration below, the microphones successfully focus on the voice while attenuating background noise.
Let us know what you think in the poll down below.
Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro microphone demo (Ideal):
Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro microphone demo (Office):
How does this microphone sound to you?
Should you buy the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro?
The Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro is more than serviceable for most people’s needs. While these wireless earbuds don’t knock our socks off, there are enough customization features available that nearly anyone will attain a satisfactory experience. While the ANC isn’t quite as powerful as some of the top competitors, you still attain a secure fit and enjoyable listening experience with the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro with the extensive selection of ear tips and wings.
The bevvy of customization options leaves most satisfied with the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro
Anker consistently delivers feature-packed companion apps for its headphones, and the Liberty 3 Pro is no exception. Full customization over the sound and ANC, as well as extras such as an earbud fit test and wind reduction provide a premium experience.
Anker has priced these earbuds cheaper than the top competition from Sony, Apple, and Bose, though the wireless earbud market is flooded with more affordable options. If you appreciate all the features and customization the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro offers, these earbuds will likely be a good buy for you. Everyone else may want to take a close look at other affordable true wireless earbuds before clicking buy.
How does it compare to the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro?
Now at a significantly discounted price, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro brings most of the features of the Liberty 3 Pro. Overall performance and experience remains the same, aside from a couple of key omissions such as the lack of 3D surround sound, Bluetooth multipoint, and ear wings. If you can find the Liberty Air 2 Pro on sale, go ahead and buy it instead of the Liberty 3 Pro.
What are some alternatives to the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro?
Superior ANC, durability, and sound quality out of the box makes the Jabra Elite 7 Active a great alternative option. If you’re looking for workout earbuds, the Jaybird Vista 2 is also a great option, with its military-grade durability rating.
The Apple AirPods Pro can frequently be found at significant discounts and is the tried-and-true option for those integrated into the Apple ecosystem of devices. On the other hand, Samsung users should consider the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus or Galaxy Buds 2.
See also: The best wireless earbuds under $200
Frequently asked questions about the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro
Firmware updates will hopefully continue to improve the performance of the earbuds over time. To install the latest firmware, open the Soundcore app, scroll down and click “More Settings”, and then “Update Firmware”.