Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo Review
Pros: Inexpensive for a truly wireless pair, fairly portable
Cons: Not comfortable for extended wear, insecure when used for athletic endeavors
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Soundcore Liberty Neo is one of the least expensive ways to get truly wireless earbuds, and if all you're looking for is musical accompaniment for walks or while doing chores, they work great. However, the lack of an athletic fit and a relatively short battery life make these buds a bit less versatile than most of their pricier truly wireless competitors.
The Liberty Neo sounded quite good in our testing. We certainly wouldn't call these buds the most mellifluous of the bunch, but our complaints are minor.
Overall, music sounds quite good on the Liberty Neo. While no attribute of its sound is field-leading, the bass, overall clarity, and fullness are all above average. This results in a fairly nuanced and enjoyable soundscape. We enjoyed listening to all genres of music, as well as podcasts, with these buds. If you're looking for particularly rotund bass or exceptional clarity you're going to have to upgrade, but for the most part the Liberty Neo gets the job done with aplomb.
Phone calls sound fine on the Liberty Neo but the microphone picks up so much ambient noise that, unless you're in a silent room, there's a good chance the person you're calling will have trouble understanding you.
In our testing, we felt the Liberty Neo was comfy enough for a half hour stroll, but found ourselves wanting to pry the buds out if they were in our ears for more than an hour. We were able to get a secure fit with the buds, but it took more effort than with many other models.
In order to get these buds to sit securely in your ears, we found that you either have to push them fairly deep into your ears, or use one of the included ear fins. If you push them deep into your ears, it feels a bit like having earplugs in, with a slight feeling of inward pressure on the eardrum. If you can get over that feeling, this orientation blocks out a lot of ambient noise, which is great if that's what you're going for, but can be a bit disconcerting if you're outside and want to be at least somewhat aware of your surroundings.
If you opt for the ear fins instead of pushing the buds deeper into your ears, you essentially trade an inward pressure for an outward pressure, as the fins tend to tug out a bit on your ears. Either way, we generally found ourselves wanting to take these buds out within an hour of putting them in.
Also, no matter how you wear the buds, most of their weight sits away from the ear, so if you move around at all you tend to get an annoying tugging sensation, unless you walk with the grace of a ballet dancer.
After spending some time working out with the Liberty Neo, we would not recommend the buds for most athletic endeavors. If your workout is generally low impact, say riding a stationary bike or maybe using an elliptical, the Neo might be secure enough to stay in your ears. However, of the 7 testers we had use these buds for athletic pursuits, only 1 felt they fit securely enough in their ears to stay put during a light jog, while the rest experienced the buds actually falling out at least once.
In our tests we measured the Neo's battery life at 3.5 hours, which is right in line with the manufacturer's specification. The included charging case also holds about 2 more charges. Of all the buds we tested this is one of the shortest battery lives, making these buds a poor choice for marathon listening sessions.
These earbuds come with a very slim carrying case and weigh just 0.4 ounces. Overall they take up barely more space in a pocket than wired earbuds. However, they missed out on a top score because of the shape of their case. While skinny in one dimension, it is relatively thick in the other, which can make it slightly uncomfortable when shoved into a tight pocket.
The list price of $65 makes the Soundcore Liberty Neo some of the least expensive truly wireless earbuds on the market. And for light use, they present a good value. However, if you want to use them for anything more than an hour long stroll, the extra comfort and more secure fit of some of the pricier truly wireless models will be well worth the extra cost.
The Soundcore Liberty Neo earbuds are quite inexpensive for truly wireless buds, but are only really designed for light use (say, accompanying you on your half hour stroll to work, and the half hour stroll back). If you want something that can be worn for longer or that can stand up to a strenuous workout, you'll either have to shift to a wired pair or spend more on some of the higher-end truly wireless buds.
— Max Mutter and Michelle Powell