Go to Reviews.org US Edition
Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro review: Premium without the price
Long battery life and crisp sound make the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro an excellent choice for those on a budget. Just don't take them to the gym.
If you’re looking for premium earbuds that don’t come with the usual price-tag, then Soundcore is probably the best option you haven’t heard of. Sitting neatly at the top of the budget friendly brand's range of true wireless earbuds, the Liberty 3 Pro earbuds are a solid manifestation of everything that Anker’s audio play tends to get right.
The difference between the noise-cancelling and fitness-suitability found here and in more expensive fare shouldn’t be overlooked, but plentiful battery life and surprisingly crisp sound quality make the Liberty 3 Pro an excellent choice for those seeking good sound on a budget.
Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro price
Owned by charging accessory brand Anker, Soundcore’s range of headphones, speakers and other audio gear aren’t quite bottom of the barrel, but they are budget-friendly in a way that more mainstream fare like the AirPods Pro aren’t. That said, Soundcore isn’t exactly a household name. Even for audio nerds, they’re far from the top of the list and well behind even more lifestyle-focused audio brands like Bose and Beats.
Although the new Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds represent the top end of what Anker are offering, they’re still relatively competitive compared to most of the other true wireless headphones out there. In Australia, you’re looking at a recommended retail price of around $259.99.
Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro sound quality
I don’t want to oversell them too much, but the sound quality of the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds can be summed up in one simple sentence. They sound so good that they made me sign up for Tidal.
The longer version is that, courtesy of a coaxial dual driver setup, the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds sound significantly better than their price-tag might suggest. The bass on songs like Childish Gambino’s “Pop Thieves (Make It Feel Good)” and The Weeknd’s “Dawn FM” had an exceptional richness to them that I just couldn’t replicate when using my AirPods Pro. There’s a real clarity to the sound here, allowing new details on familiar tracks to shine through.
If you go into using these earbuds expecting them to simply solve a problem, you’re probably going to be surprised by how much you like the results. For a set of budget buds, the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds manage to achieve a truly expansive and exceptionally crisp soundscape. These are the kind of earbuds that make you want to find the time, money or whatever else to fit more music into your life.
That being said, the noise-cancelling tech here did leave a little bit to be desired. Even on the highest setting, I still found that plenty of louder ambient sounds made their way into the mix. They weren’t always up to the task of suppressing the sounds of the gym.
While the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds do have a companion app that can be used to tinker with them, I had little success when it came to pumping the noise-cancelling up to the level that I expect from a set of earbuds that promise the feature.
Still, the official Soundcore app does provide a ton of personalisation options, letting you fine tune the noise-cancelling modes, remap the touch controls and even enable a LDAC or 3D Surround Sound mode for a more immersive listening experience. The former mode does chew through the battery at a faster clip than the alternative, but I found it did add a certain liveliness to the soundscape.
Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro design
When it comes to design, the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro wireless earbuds stick to the script.
If you’re familiar with or more accustomed to fashion-forward earbuds like the AirPods, then you’re going to find them lacking in that aesthetic department. They’re more gizmo, and a little less Gucci.
While the Liberty 3 Pro do feature IPX4 water resistance, the reality is that these are not fitness-friendly earbuds. When worn during workouts, the Liberty 3 Pro seemed to be constantly falling out of my ears. Wearing these to the gym was an exercise in futility, so if that's one of the big places you tend to wear earbuds they may not be the right choice.
It's clear that aesthetics and form-factor are not Anker’s strong points. That said, it doesn't take long for it to become apparent that the manufacturer have worked pretty hard to offset this weak link by emphasizing the more practical benefits of their substance-over-style approach to the category.
Sure, they might not stand out from the crowd when it comes to looks, but the material design choices made mean that they’re delightfully lightweight to handle on an everyday basis. The Liberty 3 Pro earbuds were also super comfortable to wear in practice, though the ear-tips themselves did sometimes flip inside-out whenever I took them out of my ears. This wasn't a massive issue or anything, but it was a quirk that I had to learn to live with if I wanted to fit the earbuds back into their charging case.
Speaking of the carry-case, Soundcore have opted for practicality over originality here. The small puck-like carry-case for the Liberty 3 Pro earbuds relies on a somewhat-finicky slide-mechanism to open and uses magnets to hold the earbuds in place during charging.
There’s a single USB Type-C port on the case, plus a button that’s used to toggle the earbuds into pairing mode when needed. The headphones housing unit also features a set of three LED lights that convey charging status at a glance. Though far from entirely original, these details are easy to relish.
The packaging for the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds is similarly accomplished. The Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds come with four ear tips and ear wings in the box, giving you plenty of options when it comes to finding the right fit. The experience of unboxing the earbuds leans into this, playing up the many avenues of customizability that Anker have left open to consumers.
Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro controls
The touch controls on the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro are about as reliable as most haptic controls are, which is to say they’re often a little finicky than I’d like. I wouldn’t say that these earbuds were more or less reliable than other touch-sensitive true wireless options, but they were a timely reminder of the advantages that more tactile control options bring to the table.
Although you can fully-remap the control scheme using the companion app for Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds, the following are in place by default.
|Next song||Double tap (left earbud)|
|Play/pause||Tap and hold for 2 seconds (left earbuds)|
|Toggle ambient mode||Double tap (right earbud)|
|Toggle ambient mode||Tap and hold for 2 seconds (right earbud)|
Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro battery life
While Anker, the company behind the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds, isn’t necessarily known for their fidelity and design, they are known for making solid power banks, chargers and other battery-related accessories. That expertise comes in handy here, with the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro boasting a solid eight hours of playback per charge.
As is the standard for these kinds of true wireless earbuds, the carry-case for the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro doubles as a charger. When you put the earbuds into the case between uses, they’ll automatically charge back up. About 15 minutes of charging time in this case translates to around 3 hours of playback here, meaning that even a bad situation doesn’t take that long to remedy.
All told, the charger-case adds another full three charges to the equation, bringing the total playback to 32 hours. For comparison, the AirPods Pro offers up to 24 hours of total playback while the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro can go for up to 28 hours.
Even if the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds don’t support wireless charging like the AirPods Pro do, this feature is still niche enough that not having it doesn’t feel like a major drawback. Even as someone with multiple wireless charging pads spread throughout my home, the option of using them with a set of earbuds is rarely something that comes in handy. Being able to quickly charge the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds back up via USB Type-C is more than useful enough.
Are they worth it?
Anker’s Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds are a solid refinement on the formula that the company has been bringing to the budget-sensitive earbuds category for a few years now. They’re not as eye-catching when it comes to form-factor or premium features like noise-canceling. However, they provide tons of battery life plus sound quality that’s consistently far better than you expect it would be.