We took a closer look at AirPods lookalike, the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 92. What can you get for $40? Can it beat Apple’s most popular truly wireless earbuds? Let’s find out.
These are a good pick if you’re looking for something to upgrade your earbuds that came included with your mobile phone.
They’re small and very comfortable. However, the fit is questionable, since they only rest in your ears. That is why we can’t recommend them for runners, because they might fall out during rapid movements.
You can expect a fairly neutral sound signature with a decent low-end presence, and a fair amount of details in the midrange.
The battery of 5 hours per charge is pretty good for wireless earbuds of this design (classic earphones), with another 20 hours worth of playtime stored inside the charging case.
- Comfortable and lightweight
- The fairly neutral sound signature
- Responsive touch controls
- 5-hour battery life on a single charge
- Good build quality
- IPX8 water-resistance
- Loose fit
- Poor noise isolation
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What’s in the Box?
- TaoTronics Soundliberty 92
- Charging case
- USB-C cable
- User Manual
Comfort & Fit
Ergonomic, lightweight design with smooth edges makes them super comfortable, even after a few hours of use. Fit, however, is a different story.
Earbuds are incredibly lightweight, and after a while, you almost forget you’re wearing them. They sit gently in your ears, making them ideal for long listening sessions.
The housing of the earbuds is quite small, with no sharp edges that could poke the ear’s insides. There is a noticeable dip where the stem connects to the speaker unit. This dip grabs on the side of your inner ear, providing slightly better stability.
Speaking of that, you shouldn’t expect these to stay in your ears during rapid head movements. These are good enough for a light workout, but we don’t recommend them for running.
However, it depends on the user to the user. Some prefer the classic earphone design, and they can use it even for jogging. In our case, the earbuds felt too loose, and they fall out after a little bit of head shaking.
Noise isolation was never a classic earphone’s strength, and the Soundliberty 92 is no exception. They’re fine for home use and walking in nature, whereas commuting shows all the weaknesses of this design.
As expected, these earphones don’t isolate that well. They sit on the edge of the inner ear, with no foam cover or rubber ring, which would let you push them slightly closer to the ear canal, preventing the outside noise from coming in.
That is why you can distinctly hear everything around you. The latter can be a good thing if you don’t want to isolate yourself from the environment. Being aware is essential, primarily if you use them near a busy road.
But taking them on public transport quickly shows the lack of proper isolation, making you crank up the volume to hear the music better, which is not particularly healthy.
Despite the impressive range claims, they started to distort sooner than most of the Bluetooth 5.0 headphones out there.
TaoTronics Soundliberty 92 offer Bluetooth 5.0, which, in theory, provides a range of 15 meters. However, our test showed that these earbuds start to distort as soon as we passed the first brick wall. At first, we begin to experience stutters, but making two steps further, and the connection completely cut off.
That is less than a majority of other Bluetooth 5.0 headphones, who can pass the second wall, before starting to distort. Therefore, it’s probably a better idea to have your transmitting device somewhere near at all times.
The pairing process is pretty straight forward when it comes to true wireless earbuds. You simply take both earbuds out from the charging case, and they’ll appear in your Bluetooth menu. Once connected, they reconnect every time you place them out from the case.
Is There a Delay when Watching Video?
There is no noticeable delay when watching YouTube videos on both Android and iOS. Maybe if you focus on the lips, you might find some lag, but for casual use, it’s practically non-existing.
The battery holds up very well, with up to 5 hours of playtime on a single charge. Sadly, there is no way of knowing the exact percentage. Neither on the connected device or on the earbuds themselves.
As mentioned, you can listen to these for around 5 hours pre-charge, with an additional 20 hours of battery life from the charging case.
There is a single LED light on the case that blinks when being charged and remains solid when the earbuds get charged fully.
There is no indication of how much battery is still in the case, nor the earbuds. Even when connected to a phone, there is no information about the battery hiding in the notification bar.
Thankfully the case holds up at least 3 additional charges, which is more than enough for a few days of use.
TaoTronics has equipped these with some impressive specs, one of which is the IPX8 water-resistance, the highest rating in wireless earbuds.
Housing is made of glossy plastic, which might give you the impression that these can break quite easily. Despite trying to mimic the AirPods iconic design, these surely won’t turn many heads.
After a few minutes of handling, the plastic appears very strong, giving you confidence that these can survive a drop or two. Since they only rest in your ears, the latter might happen more often than you might want.
What is even more impressive is the IPX8 rating, making these submersible up to 1 meter or more. That might be overkill since you can’t use them in the pool (Bluetooth doesn’t work underwater).
However, if they ever fall into deeper water, they probably won’t get damaged. The best waterproof Bluetooth headphones can survive underwater for quite some time.
The charging case appears quite solid, with a lid that you can easily open with one hand. However, the hinge is a bit floppy, producing a rattling noise when the case gets shaken.
You are getting an 18-month warranty if you register them on their main website.
These aren’t very feature-rich, but they do provide a decent amount of commands when using touch controls on the top of the stem.
You can’t expect much can from a pair of $40 worth of wireless earbuds. And because of the design itself, active noise-cancelling is out of the question.
However, you do get very responsive touch controls with a bunch of commands, which lets you keep the phone in your pocket.
If you want to save on your battery, you can use each earbud separately, using only one at the time, while another one is charging up inside the case.
There is no way to tweak the sound since there is no mobile app that supports these earbuds.
When speaking in a quiet environment, 92’s do a very good job, making your voice sound a bit fuller compared to SoundLiberty 88.
Surprisingly, the background noise hurts overall voice quality a lot. We don’t recommend these for frequent phone calls, especially if you want to use them near a busy road.
TaoTronics SoundLiberty 92 controls:
- Play/pause – double press on either side
- Accept – one press on either side
- End call – tap and hold on either side
- Reject call – tap and hold on either side for 2 seconds
- Next song – triple press the button on the right side
- Restart/previous song – triple press the button on the left side
- Volume up – one press on the right side
- Volume down – one press on the left side
- Voice assistant– tap and hold on either side
These are very inoffensive to listen to, with a fairly neutral sound signature. There is a little bit of everything, with smooth highs to prevent harshness.
Bass is presented with a good kick, that is reasonably controlled. As expected, it doesn’t go very low into sub-bass regions. However, it does have a good enough presence to make the overall sound slightly warm.
You can hear a decent amount of details in the midrange, with a dynamic presentation. Instruments sound natural, while the vocals appear a bit thin.
The same thing goes to treble, which is smoothened to prevent sibilance. You can’t expect much airiness, but this are still very easy to listen to classic earbuds.
Despite being on a neutral side, these are still somewhat fun to listen to. Because they play it safe with the sound quality, you can use them for hours with no fatigue.
While the soundstage remains small (common thing among earbuds), imaging is pretty good.
Why Buy TaoTronics SoundLiberty 92?
It comes down to preference: do you like earbuds with silicone tips that go in your ear, or do you like classic earphone design, where earbuds are just hanging on the edge of your ear?
Both styles have their advantages, with the classic one being more comfortable, while also providing better environmental awareness.
In the case of the 92’s, you’re also getting touch controls with many useful commands. They’re very responsive and are not annoying to use.
These are a noticeable upgrade over whatever you get included when purchasing mobile phones. So if you’re looking for a modest update that won’t break a bank, for $40, these are a good choice.
TaoTronics SoundLiberty 92 Alternatives
TaoTronics SoundLiberty 88 (review): These two share many similarities in their design, but in the end, they serve different purposes. We find 92′ to be better geared toward music listening, whereas 88’s are more suitable to make lots of phone calls. 92 also holds to your ears more securely, although the difference is minimal.
|Drivers:||13mm PU + protein membrane drivers|
|Weight:||12g both earbuds|
|Mic & Controls:||Yes|
|Battery life:||5h + 20h in case|
|Charging time:||2h + quick charge – USB-C|
|Active noise cancelling:||No|
|Bluetooth codecs:||SBC, AAC|
|Wireless range:||50ft (15m)|
|Microphone:||1 external microphone, built-in|