(Last Updated On: January 7, 2021)

Taotronics advertised SoundLiberty 88 as a pair of true wireless earbuds that are great for phone calls – is it true that it can handle your calls without much effort?

Taotronics SoundLiberty 88
Taotronics SoundLiberty 88
General Usage57.4 See Score Breakdown
Audiophile47.7

Pros:

  • »Pocket friendly case
  • »ANC implementation with affordable pricing
  • »Comfortable and secure fitting
  • »Sub-bass rumble
  • »Non-fatiguing sound
  • »Decent control symmetry on both earbuds

Cons:

  • »ANC amplifies wind noise, instead of cancelling
  • »Microphone incapable in differentiating voice from the user and noise
  • »Frequent drop-off due to interference of signal
  • »Exact location of touch sensor panel is unknown

Score Breakdown

Rating (out of 100) 57.4
72.4

Where To Buy

The Taotronics SoundLiberty 88 is available on:

Introduction

TaoTronics is a brand under the Sunvalley Group. Taotronics aims to benefit consumers by enhancing their daily lives through releasing smart products, such as heaters, humidifiers as well as audio related products. Taotronics has been striving to design, create and produce user-friendly products with the latest technologies.

SoundLiberty 88 is one of the models released by Taotronics in their SoundLiberty true wireless earbuds series. This model is mainly designed for users who need crystal clear calls (both audio output and pickup).

In this article, we will have a look at this model and validate whether it is able to fulfill the criteria advertised on their official website!

Taotronics SoundLiberty 88
Taotronics SoundLiberty 88

Case

Battery

  • Battery Life: 20 hours
  • Connector: USB Type-C
  • Wireless Charging: No
  • Battery Capacity: 420 mAh

The charging case of the SoundLiberty 88 is able to offer users an additional 20 hours of playback time, which is equivalent to 4 charges to the earbuds. In modern days, everyone has more than one device that’s required to be charged everyday. I am glad that SoundLiberty 88 is not adding the burden to the users by having longer battery life on the charging case.

With my normal/typical daily routine, I only need to charge it once or twice at most per week. The USB Type-C charging port is located at the back of the charging case. It’s great to see USB Type-C charging ports being utilized because it is more commonly found in the majority of the smart devices in the market, except for the iPhone.

USB Type-C charing port
USB Type-C charing port

UX

  • Can be open easily with one hand: Needs some effort
  • Pass the shake test: Yes
  • Light Indicators: Display battery level and charging status

It is possible to open the case with just one hand but users might need some effort. This is due to the bigger lid on SoundLiberty 88’s charging case. The lid is held by a magnet to prevent it from opening accidentally when stored in a bag. The earbuds are secured firmly in the case by a magnet, too.

There are four LED light indicators on the case; when the case is opened, it will display the battery level of the case. When the case is closed with earbuds in the case, it will display the charging status for the earbuds.

When the earbuds is out of the case, the LED indicators show the battery level of the charging case.
When the earbuds is out of the case, the LED indicators show the battery level of the charging case.
When the earbuds are in the case, the two LED indicators show the charging status of the earbuds.
When the earbuds are in the case, the two LED indicators show the charging status of the earbuds.

Design

  • Shape of the case: Squarish
  • Material: Plastics
  • Build Quality: Average

The charging case is squarish. The Taotronics logo is printed on the lid. This logo is helpful for the user to recognise where the opening of the case. If there is no logo on the lid, all four sides of this squarish case could be confused as the opening of the case. The KZ Z1 is having this same issue.

The charging case for Taotronics SoundLiberty 88
The charging case for Taotronics SoundLiberty 88

The build quality is average. I have concerns about the lid of the charging case. I found it is too thin and I might break it anytime if I over-extended it while opening the case. Other than that, the build of SoundLiberty 88’s charging case is acceptable.

The lid of the charging case is thin and it looks fragile
The lid of the charging case is thin and it looks fragile

Portability

  • Weight: 52.5g (With earbuds inside, 4.5g each side)
  • Volume: 5.74 x 5.74 x 2.85 = 93.9cm cu (~5.73 in cu)
  • Portability: Good

The squarish charging case is pocket-friendly. It’s sufficiently thin enough for me to put this in my pocket and does not create awkward protrusions from my pants when it’s in my pocket. This could be one of the most pocket-friendly charging cases for true wireless earbuds that I reviewed so far.

The charging case of SoundLiberty 88
The charging case of SoundLiberty 88

Earbuds

Battery

  • Battery Life: 5 hours
  • Charge Time (15mins): 60 mins playback time

SoundLiberty 88 earbuds can last you for 5 hours of continuous playback. This is definitely not the longest in the market but I think it is sufficient for daily commuting usage. I don’t normally use true wireless earbuds for such a long period of time.

If the battery is flat while you are using it, you can place it back in the case for 15 minutes. After that, the earbuds can continue to serve you for another hour.

Taotronics SoundLiberty 88
Taotronics SoundLiberty 88

UX

  • Control Mechanism: Touch
  • Touch Accuracy: Bad (can barely register touch)
  • Control Symmetry on both earbud: Yes
  • Mono Use: Yes for both side
  • Volume control can barely be used (earbuds unable to register the gesture)

This could be the most frustrating part of this earbuds. The touch accuracy of the control sensor is bad. I hardly register by gesture. Until today, I am still unable to control the volume through the touch control on the earbuds. I found that the touch sensor area is extremely small. Even for pause and play, I have to try a few times to get the sensor to register the gesture. This is definitely a deal breaker for me.

Despite having some frustrations from the controls, there are some other strengths from SoundLiberty 88 to counter the weaknesses. Personally, I use it quite often under the mono usage mode – mainly for video watching when I am having my meal. I feel uncomfortable and insecure having both earbuds on when I am eating, especially when I am at public. SoundLiberty 88 helps me a lot with this.

The touch sensor is located at the logo side of the earbuds, which is extremely small.
The touch sensor is located at the logo side of the earbuds, which is extremely small.

Design

  • Profile: Low
  • Material: Plastic
  • Comfort: Good
  • Fit: Average

Another true wireless earbuds with Apple AirPods design found!

I still remember the scene when everyone laughed at Apple when they launched their AirPods – “These are EarPods without the cable?!” Now, everyone is “inspired” by their design and follows in their footstep, including those who laughed.

SoundLiberty 88 has a high level of resemblances to Apple Airpods. It’s made of plastic. The surface is matte and this aids to increase the friction when it is in your ears. The overall wearing comfort is good. Because of its “ear-tip-less” design, it does not accumulate the pressure in your ear canals and hence it enhances the listening experience. However, the fitting is definitely compromised by having this design.

Taotronics SoundLiberty 88
Taotronics SoundLiberty 88

Mic

  • Noise Cancellation: Good
  • Voice Pick-up: Good

Now, let’s validate whether the “crystal clear calls” feature advertised by Taotronics is true! I am glad to say that, yes, it is. This could be one of the best that you can find in the market, along with EarFun Air. It’s able to cancel the noise efficiently and pick up the voice accurately.

However, I found there is a flaw in the design. The microphones for voice pick-up are on the right. So, you can only use the right side under mono mode if you are making calls with it. If you are using the left side, there will be no voice pick-up at all.

Mic Demo

Sound

  • Driver: 10mm dynamic driver
  • Sound Signature: Balanced
  • Sub-bass: Bad
  • Bass: Average
  • Mids: Average
  • Treble: Average
  • Sound Detail: Average

Overall Sound Quality

The overall sound signature of SoundLiberty 88 can be classified as neutral. It has a good balance between the entire frequency spectrum – without any biases. Due to the “ear-tips-less” design, air from surrounding is able to enter the ear canals during playback. This enhances the soundstage of SoundLiberty 88.

For those who have experience with open-back headphones, the mechanism here is exactly the same.

The presentation is neither overly forward nor recessed. It’s at a sweet spot which is comfortable to listen to. The clarity is good while the detail retrieval capability is average, due to some coloration and smoothening effect to create the comfortable and lush ambient.

Taotronics SoundLiberty 88
Taotronics SoundLiberty 88

Lows

It has been awhile since I last used on-ear earbuds. The main difference between on-ear earbuds and IEMs is definitely the bass portion. Great isolation and seal is definitely advantageous in creating a bombastic, punchy and rumble-full bass. Hence, it’s not surprising for SoundLiberty 88 to be slightly weaker in the bass portion.

The bass is fast – as fast as tap and go. For those basshead audiophiles, SoundLiberty 88, as well as other true wireless earbuds with similar design are definitely a no-no. The bass is highly compromised for the comfort, as well as clarity.

Taotronics SoundLiberty 88
Taotronics SoundLiberty 88

Mids

Due to the weaker bass performance, the mids is enhanced with better clarity. The mids of SoundLiberty 88 are transparent and clear. It’s great for pop tracks, as well as picking up phone calls from your friends or a loved one. It can present their vocals in the most accurate and clear manner to the users.

The mids is positioned slightly forward compared to the bass. This helps to improve the engagement between the audiences and the vocalists from tracks. This is one of the criterias for a pair of earbuds to be enjoyable to listen to.

Taotronics SoundLiberty 88
Taotronics SoundLiberty 88

Highs

The highs are well-extended, thanks to the on-ear earbuds design. Air is flowing smoothly into the ear canals and integrated with the highs delivered from SoundLiberty 88. Despites having the compromised bass, the natural and silky smooth highs can tickle your earbuds and allow you to enjoy in the sea of musicality.

For those who are looking for a great earbuds with good treble performance, SoundLiberty 88 and other earbuds with similar design could be a great choice!

Taotronics SoundLiberty 88
Taotronics SoundLiberty 88

Connectivity

  • Audio Codec: SBC and AAC
  • Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth V5.0
  • Auto-connect when: Case cover is opened
  • Average drop-outs in an hour: 0-3 times
  • Multi-point connection: No

The SoundLiberty 88 supports both SBC and AAC codecs. SoundLiberty 88 has good connection stability. Under an hour of continuous playback with AAC codec, there is almost zero signal drop-off due to interference.

SoundLiberty 88 will automatically connect to the last connected device when you open the case. There is no multi-point connection available on SoundLiberty 88. However, as I mentioned in my review on EarFun Air, at the price point, I didn’t expect this feature.

Taotronics SoundLiberty 88
Taotronics SoundLiberty 88

Waterproof

  • IP Rating: IPX8

SoundLiberty 88 has an IP rating of IPX8. This could be one of the highest IP ratings that you can find from true wireless earbuds in the market for waterproof. This is more than sufficient for normal sport usage.

Despite having such a high IP rating, please do not use it for water sports such as swimming.