Recommended: Soundcore Liberty 4 NC review

Soundcore Liberty 4 NC by Anker - reviewed by resident earphone addict Kyle.

from Soundcore by Anker
RRP  £79.99
Soundcore Liberty 4 NC review

by Kyle Purves |
Updated on

Soundcore has a variety of high-quality headphones and earbuds, and the Liberty 4 NC is a great demonstration of that. Aside from sounding great, the priority of these earbuds is noise cancellation. On its own webpage, it's even claimed to reduce noise by up to 98.5 per cent.

That's a pretty big claim to make, so naturally, we're curious to see if it can live up to those high expectations. After all, you usually get the best noise cancellation from over-ear headphones. We're here to see if the Liberty 4 NC is worth your time and money.

To reach the bottom of this, resident tech writer Kyle Purves has been testing the Liberty 4 NC extensively. They've been looking for every strength and weakness, factoring in aspects like battery life, audio quality, waterproofing and more. They've also been keen to test the upper limits of the noise cancellation. Read on to check out the full, detailed review.

Soundcore Liberty 4 NC
Price: $99.99
Alternative retailers
Walmart$99.99View offer

Pros

  • Incredible noise cancellation features
  • Ideal size
  • The companion app allows you to adjust the EQ
  • Charging case provides great protection
  • Battery life is fantastic

Cons

  • Often need to readjust them in your ear
  • Can agitate ears if worn for hours at a time

Performance

Let's get right into the core feature of the Liberty 4 NC straight away; noise cancellation. I can't pull up data and figures here and point out whether the "98.5 per cent" claim is fully accurate or not. What I can say, however, is that it certainly feels like that boast is justified.

Before you even turn them on, you'll find that indoor-speaking voices are effectively muffled. You could almost think of them as earplugs. Of course, the noise cancellation effect truly takes place once you start listening to audio. The cancellation is adaptive, meaning it alters its effect based on your surroundings. Whenever I started talking while wearing these, I could feel the cancelling effect lift a little, allowing me to hear what I was saying without issue. Best of all, the reverse situation also works. Noisy environments get an extra layer of dampening, so even when I was exercising with equipment at a very busy gym, nothing was distracting me from my playlist. Suffice it to say, these are now my go-to pick for long train rides.

In terms of audio quality, the Liberty 4 NC is superb. I like to listen to music or podcasts wherever I go, but I rarely have an ideal listening environment. The crisp and clear sound produced through these earbuds more than makes up for that. For clarity, I often carry a pair of very basic wired earphones around with me (they get the job done), but I haven't felt the same using them since trying this pair out. The bass is very notable, and enhanced by the noise reduction. When on a train I used to struggle to make out sentences on podcasts unless I was willing to go louder than recommended for the volume, but now with this set, I can hear it all clearly without being anywhere near close to max. As for music, I'm able to pick out extra details that I would never have normally before. The Liberty 4 NC is far from being an expensive set of earbuds, yet the sound quality rivals something well beyond its price.

Much like with the Soundcore Motion X600 speaker, you can use the Soundcore companion app to adjust and customise the EQ to your liking. There are a handful of preset options to choose from, or you can freely manipulate aspects individually. While I think the presets are more than enough for most casual listeners, if you really want to boost the bass up to the max possible, you have the freedom to do so.

Speaking of freedom, the battery life further expresses that. 10 hours for the earbuds alone isn't anything mindblowing, you can find similarly priced options that can reach up to 12. It's the case that brings this all together. With the case being able to top the earbuds up while on the go, you can easily get over 50 hours of playtime uninterrupted, and that's seriously impressive. Across multiple weeks of testing, I was never caught out with low battery. If I was ever concerned for the earbuds, a quick nap in their case and they'd be ready to go soon again. Once home or near a charging port, I could then top up the case. At no point was the battery life aspect of these wireless earbuds holding them back. As if the noise cancellation wasn't reason enough for a frequent traveller to love these, then the battery life is another score on the board.

Soundcore Earbuds 2

Build

Certain shapes are more comfortable for our ears than others, and ultimately it comes down to personal preference. That said, I find the Liberty 4 NC to be very comfortable. Wearing in-ear headphones and earbuds for long sets of time often agitates my ears and becomes uncomfortable, but that rarely became an issue with this pair. It would only be after wearing them for four or more hours that it would be uncomfortable, and I would expect that from even over-ear designs.

Part of what makes them so comfortable is their size. Unlike many other earbuds, these are not tiny orbs that you can easily lose. They're not massive, but they're large enough to easily pick up, adjust, and remove whenever you need. I appreciate that it feels like I'm wearing earphones and not just sticking plastic in my ears.

For a quick note on durability, let's talk about waterproofing. At a rating of IPX4, these match the standard you would expect for the price. They are capable of shrugging off rain without bother. Most importantly, sweat never becomes a threat.

The Liberty 4 NC is available in five colours - velvet black, clear white, navy blue, light blue, and pastel pink. As you can see from the pictures taken for this article, I had a clear white model. I find these to be a pretty solid range of popular colours to choose from, but I would have liked to see one of the blues replaced with a green for added variety.

One of the most unsung yet important aspects of earbuds is the case they come in, and I'm pleased to say that Liberty 4 NC has a brilliant one. It provides plenty of protection and is durable enough on its own, so I never felt concerned about dropping it and the contents being damaged. The grooves fit their respective earbuds well, and the whole thing clicks open with a very satisfying noise. What really makes the case brilliant is its charging capabilities. As I mentioned in the performance section above, the case provides an incredible boost to potential playtime.

For a last point on the build, I want to acknowledge the touch controls. By simply tapping either of the buds when they were in my ear, I could pause and unpause what I was listening to. This was especially useful when I needed to listen to someone and didn't want the noise cancellation getting in the way, especially since I would otherwise be fumbling about trying to take the earbuds out.

Soundcore Earbuds 1

Downsides

If I were to have any notable complaints about the Liberty 4 NC, it would be regarding the shape. While I do adore the size and appreciate how easily they fit in my ears, I can't ignore how often I found myself readjusting them. It may have just been an issue for me alone, and I never felt like I was at risk of them falling out, but I could never find that perfect angle for them to stay at.

This caused a bit of an issue when combined with the touch controls. I cannot tell you how often I would go to readjust how the pair were sitting in my ears, only to accidentally pause whatever I was listening to. It's quite annoying to be pulled out of a song so suddenly. If possible, I think the sensitivity of the touch controls should be dialled down in a future model, or replaced with a more traditional button.

Verdict

If it's not clear already, I really like the Soundcore Liberty 4 NC. Despite my issues with needing to readjust it so often and the touch sensitivity, I don't find them to be dealbreakers in the slightest. I'm more than happy with the comfort overall; my ears tend to get easily agitated by earbuds after a few hours, but these feel like a pair I can wear without much concern.

The noise cancellation very much impressed me. I find that I actually enjoy travelling via train now, mainly because I can block out the drones of the carriage and the ruckus of other passengers, with me being able to peacefully listen to a podcast without straining to focus on it.

At a price tag of £79.99, I would hesitate to call the Liberty 4 NC a budget pick, but it is absolutely worthwhile and of excellent value. You could spend much more and still not be able to find a pair that sounds this good. These earbuds get my confident recommendation.

Score: 5/5

Soundcore Liberty 4 NC
Price: $99.99
Alternative retailers
Walmart$99.99View offer

Pros

  • Incredible noise cancellation features
  • Ideal size
  • Companion app allows you to adjust the EQ
  • Charging case provides great protection
  • Battery life is fantastic

Cons

  • Often need to readjust them in your ear
  • Can agitate ears if worn for hours at a time

What else to consider?

Best value alternative

Sony WF-C500
Price: $99.99

If you want a reliable pair of earbuds that won't disappoint, you can count on the Sony WF-C500. The 20 hours of battery life is plenty for most uses, providing you with more than enough charge to last a day trip or two. Of course, eventually, all things with a battery life start to feel like the charge disappears quicker and quicker, but the WF-C500 has some seriously impressive retention and consistency. Plus, it's nice that it's so quick to charge them.

Sadly, these earbuds do not come with any noise cancellations features, making them less ideal for noisy environments like a gym.

Read the full review of the Sony WF-C500 here.

Pros

  • Great charge retention
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • No noise cancellation

Most comfortable alternative

Sony LinkBuds S
Price: $185.21

If comfort is your priority, we suggest the Sony LinkBuds S. They fit into ears perfectly, and while they aren't something that you'll forget are there, the lightweight build keeps them from being obtrusive. They're small and compact even when in their case, something you can fit easily in your pocket.

The 14-hour battery life is respectable, but far from the best option you could get at this price.

Read our full review of the Sony LinkBuds S here.

Pros

  • Comfortable even when worn for hours
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Better options exist for battery life

Best durable alternative

EarFun Air Pro 3
Price: $79.99

The EarFun Air Pro 3 are a pair of earbuds you can trust to last. The build and casing are both very durable, but where it really shines is in its waterproofing. Most earbuds of this size are around an IPX4, meaning they can handle a brief time under a shower jet. The EarFun Air Pro 3, however, is an IPX5, so it can handle harsher watery environments. Whether it's a torrent of rain or just sweat from exercise, these will keep working away.

The drivers are not the best around, with them definitely feeling somewhat outclassed, but it should sound decent to anyone who isn't an audiophile.

Read our full review of the EarFun Air Pro 3 here.

Pros

  • Quite good waterproofing
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Audio quality is outclassed

Who tested it?

Kyle Purves is one of our commercial content writers. They often describe themself as the last defender of wired earphones, always listening to some kind of video or music at any given time. Seeing as they spend so much time with earphones in, comfort and audio quality are factors they always keep an eye out for.

How we tested it?

I tested the Soundcore Liberty 4 NC earbuds over the course of several weeks. They accompanied me to the gym, out on walks, and even on public transport, all to get the best handle on the noise-cancelling feature. I experimented with several types of audio, from bassy music to soft-spoken videos and podcasts, which gave me a clear idea of the potential and overall performance.

I also ensured to wear the earbuds for varying lengths of time, testing the upper limits of how long they stay comfortable and how well they stay in place during exercise.

Kyle Purves is a Commercial Content Writer for What’s The Best, with an avid interest in all things gaming and tech.

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