Anker’s new pair of headphones are packed with features that may well rival Apple’s AirPods Pro 2.
Called freedom 4 (opens in new tab), the buttons are part of Anker’s Soundcore brand of audio devices. They will house some of the same features as the AirPods Pro 2, including active noise cancellation via HearID ANC and spatial audio. Exclusive to the Liberty 4 is a heart rate monitor nestled in the right earcup, something that should be present in Apple headphones but it was apparently cut off.
As described, you must first activate the heart rate sensor via the Soundcore app (opens in new tab); no other accessories are needed. Soundcore claims that the sensor can measure blood oxygen levels with a small red light on when it is doing so. The company admits that the feature is intended for general health and fitness use rather than being a suitable medical device, so it may not be the most accurate.
Expanding on the other features, Liberty 4’s spatial audio should make users feel completely surrounded by music. The feature is further aided by built-in gyros for dynamic head tracking. That way, no matter how you turn your head, the sound quality remains consistent.
HearID ANC (opens in new tab) (Adaptive Noise Canceling) differs from typical noise canceling features in that it adjusts to the surrounding environment, according to Soundcore. HearID ANC will be more prominent in noisy environments, such as public transport, and less prominent in quiet locations. And thanks to HearID, you can create custom equalizer profiles via the official app for specific types of audio. Music and Movie Modes are also present, which, as the names suggest, are specific audio settings for their respective contents.
Playtime is estimated at nine hours on a single charge, with a maximum of 28 hours when used with the wireless charging case. However, battery life will decrease depending on which feature you have enabled. According to Soundcore, turning on HeadID ANC cuts the playback time to seven hours, and if you add spatial audio it cuts it 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 the speakers. What is known is that each knob houses “two dynamic drivers” that Soundcore claims can produce “clear sound” with “deep bass”. And looking at the product page, there is a certification for LDAC, an audio codec created by Sony (opens in new tab) that ensures high-quality sound power over a wireless connection.
But the most glaring omission is the IPX rating to denote water resistance. While headphones aren’t explicitly fitness devices, it’s not hard to imagine people putting them on before running. It would be great to know how the Liberty 4 headphones stand up to sweat and rain. We will update this story if Soundcore returns our question.
All that said, you can buy a pair of Liberty 4 headphones from the Soundcore website (opens in new tab) for $149.99 ($100 cheaper than the AirPod Pro 2). The only color available is Midnight Black, with the Cloud White version releasing before October 20th.
If the Liberty 4 headphones piqued your interest, check it out The best headphones of 2022. We’ve put together a list that includes the best performing models and the most affordable options.