The new flagship pair of Anker earbuds are packed with features that can compete very well with Apple’s AirPods Pro 2 – and offer something that even top-of-the-range Apple buds can’t.
It is called Freedom 4 (opens in a new tab), buds are part of Anker’s Soundcore’s brand of audio devices. They include some of the same features as the AirPods Pro 2, including HearID ANC active noise reduction and surround sound. Unique to the Liberty 4, a heart rate monitor located in the right earbud, something that was supposed to be present in Apple headphones but apparently it was cut.
Sounds familiar? The AirPods Pro’s temperature sensor was also expected to find its way into the excellent Honor Earbuds 3 Pro headphones, but again the USP was broken when Honor failed to get regulatory approval for the feature in key European markets.
But it looks like Anker has broke at least your ticker monitoring! As described in the new Liberty 4, you must first activate the heart rate sensor with Soundcore app (opens in a new tab); no other accessories are needed. Soundcore says the sensor can measure blood oxygen levels with a tiny red light turned on when it does. The company acknowledges that this feature is intended for general health and fitness use and is not an appropriate medical device, so it may not be the most accurate.
By expanding other features, Liberty 4’s surround sound should make users feel as if they are completely surrounded by music. This feature is further enhanced by the built-in gyroscopes for dynamic head tracking. This way, no matter how you turn your head, the sound quality will remain the same.
HearID ANC (opens in a new tab) (Adaptive Noise Reduction) differs from typical noise reduction functions because it adapts to the surrounding environment, according to Soundcore. HearID ANC will be more visible in noisy environments such as public transport and less in quiet places. And with HearID, you can create personalized equalizer profiles through the official app for specific types of sound. There are also music and movie modes which, as the names suggest, are specific audio setups for their content.
Playback time is estimated at nine hours on a single charge, up to 28 hours when using the wireless charging case. However, the battery life decreases depending on the activated function. According to Soundcore, turning on HeadID ANC cuts playtime to seven hours, and if you add surround sound to it, it cuts down to five hours.
Liberty 4 looks pretty good on the surface, but we have a few questions.
For starters, there isn’t much information about speakers. It is known that there are “two dynamic drivers” in each bud that Soundcore says can produce “sharp sound” with “deep bass”. And by looking at the product page, there is a certification for LDAC, an audio codec developed by Sony (opens in a new tab) which ensures high-quality sound transmission over a wireless connection.
But the most blatant omission is the IPX rating for waterproof. While the earbuds are clearly not exercise equipment, it’s not hard to imagine people wearing them before going for a run. It would be great to know how the Liberty 4 earbuds withstand sweat and rain. We will update this story if Soundcore returns our query.
All that said, you can buy a pair Liberty 4 earphones from Soundcore (opens in a new tab) for $ 149.99 ($ 100 cheaper than the AirPod Pro 2). The only color available is Midnight Black and the Cloud White version will ship before October 20.
If the Liberty 4 earbuds have piqued your interest, check it out Best TechRadar Earbuds of 2022. We have compiled a list that includes the highest performance models and more affordable options.