TaoTronics SoundLiberty 80 Review
The model TT-BH080 from Taotronics offers an AptX codec, voice control, and an extravagant design. In addition, TechStage has tested the true wireless earbuds, which are fairly cheap.
Taotronics is known from the past for decent quality and a fair price-performance ratio. This time the eye-catching true wireless model TaoTronics SoundLiberty 80 shows whether it meets these requirements.
- Cool design
- Good call quality
- In-ear detection
- Volume control + Voice assistant
- USB-C port
- The functions of the single LED on the charging case are vague
- Almost no passive noise isolation
- Very short battery life
The test is part of our theme world True wireless headset instead, in which we, for example, the models’ Apple Airpods Pro (review), the Bose Sport Earbuds (review), or the high-end model Momentum True Wireless 2 of Sennheiser (Review) have tested.
The white True Wireless headphones from Taotronics stand out due to the lengthways bars that shimmer in rainbow colors. The two touch sensors for operation are integrated with the shiny metallic surface. The design is extraordinary and polarized. However, the true wireless earbuds are probably out of the shortlist for those not fans of flashy bling-bling. Other design variants are (unfortunately) not available.
The non-padded earplugs, on the other hand, are inconspicuous and could also come from an Airpod (test report) or the OnePlus Buds (test report). The manufacturer has omitted an LED on the headphones, and we think that’s positive. Experience has shown that the LED flashing on the ear is more annoying than helpful. Instead, the current status of the headphones is reported acoustically.
At first glance, the charging cradle of the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 80 hardly differs from competing models. The dimensions of 50 x 58 x 23 mm are pleasantly compact, and so the shell fits comfortably in any trouser pocket without being bulky. The matte, slightly rubberized surface looks chic and has a nice grip. The Taotronics logo and the status LED sit on the front. The USB-C port for charging the battery is on the underside, the reset button on the back. The hinge of the hinged lid is made of metal and leaves a robust impression.
The quality of the headphones and charging cradle is good and does not give rise to any complaints. The gaps are even, and transitions are not noticeable. We would also have liked the pleasant feel of the matte charging cradle with the earplugs. However, these are also sufficiently handy with the high-gloss surface.
The weight of the individual earplugs is 4.6 grams each, and the charging cradle alone weighs 39 grams. Although a short charging cable is included, a power supply unit is not included. Overall, we like the design and quality very much – apart from the extroverted play of colors.
Sound quality of TaoTronics SoundLiberty 80
The sound of the TT-BH080 is surprisingly balanced and harmonious. For example, the Honor Magic Earbuds (test report) sounds a little less bass-heavy and powerful, but the tweeters and midrange speakers come into their own. The maximum volume is sufficiently high for our taste.
Even at maximum volume, the sound is undistorted and reasonably differentiable. AptX HD and AAC audio codecs ensure good sound quality and enable low transmission latency – at least if the playback device also supports the codecs. Gambling or watching films and series and receiving the sound via headphones worked well in the test with smartphones and televisions without any noticeable delay.
Of course, the Taotronics headphones cannot keep up with expensive true wireless models from Sennheiser (test report) or Bose (test report), which was not expected due to less than 100. However, the sound quality of the mid-range model is completely sufficient for everyday use.
The shielding from the outside is less pronounced than with true wireless headphones with rubber or silicone attachments, so outside noises can also be heard at moderate volume. This is a plus point for mobile use in road traffic. Unfortunately, the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 80 does not have active noise cancellation (ANC) on board.
The quality of the voice transmission is very decent, thanks to the background noise suppression of the microphone. As a result, interlocutors hear the voice of the wearer loud and clear. The true wireless earbuds are therefore well suited for phone calls and video chats.
Handling and comfort
After opening the lid, the headphones go directly into pairing mode and also report this acoustically. The subsequent coupling with smartphone and TV worked without any problems in the test and is restored without any problems even after switching off in the meantime and acoustically confirmed with the comment “connected.” Moreover, Android users can conveniently see the battery level of the earplugs on the smartphone display.
Although the author is not a fan of in-ear headphones without padding, the TT-BH080 sits comfortably and firmly enough in the ear. This is mainly due to the positioning and shape of the earplugs. The earplugs are ultimately located in the auricle and not directly in the ear canal. This is more comfortable and avoids uncomfortable pressure in the ear.
Even if the headphones are subjectively less tightly in the ear than, for example, the padded Spirit Dots 2 from Soundcore (test report), they can easily follow jerky and rapid head movements without falling out of the ear. This means that the Taotronics model is also suitable for light sporting activities.
If the headphones are removed from the ear, music playback pauses. After reinserting it, the music continues automatically. If placed in the charging cradle, it takes about 30 seconds before the Bluetooth connection is lost.
Operation using the touch-sensitive back of the earplugs works reliably. In addition to starting/stopping the music and jumping back and forth between songs, you can also control the volume. Instead of a single pressure or double touch, stroking movements are responsible for this. It works intuitively and well.
What is unusual, especially in this price segment, is the ability to control the headphones by voice command when connected to the smartphone. To start them verbally, the words “Hey TT” are enough. A total of eight different English commands are quickly memorized and enable hands-free control of the most important functions. It remains to be seen whether this type of operation is needed – but the verbal control worked very well in the test.
The moderate price has little effect on the handsome features of the headphones. Proximity sensors are integrated to stop playback when the earplugs are removed automatically; this is not a matter of course in this price range. There is also a display of the charging status of the earbuds under Android. The volume, which can be regulated directly on the headphones, is also a plus point.
The audio codecs AptX and AAC, which are not taken for granted in the middle class, and the well-functioning voice control round off the overall pleasantly neat package.
Although there is no active noise suppression (ANC), this is only minimally noticeable in the in-ear headphones tested so far because of the low level of shielding – at least for devices in the low price range. Nevertheless, the IPX8-certified in-ears are adequately protected for use during sports and outdoors.
Battery and range
The fully charged earplugs managed a total runtime of just two hours and 45 minutes in the test at high volume. At a lower level, just under three and a half hours are possible. A relatively bad value. For a better understanding: The Soundcore Liberty Air (test report), for example, lasts almost seven hours with just one battery charge.
In total, the Sound Liberty 80 can be charged three times in the charging cradle before this battery runs out. As a result, the headphones do not achieve the total running time of 20 hours specified by Taotronics, but 11 to 12 hours is sufficient for everyday use. However, the battery life is too short for very intensive continuous use.
If the battery in the headphones is exhausted, you will receive a brief low-battery notification almost ten minutes before the final shutdown. It takes about 45 minutes to charge the in-ears in the test fully. Five minutes of charging time are enough for around 40 minutes of operation. It takes about two and a half hours to charge the charging cradle fully.
We didn’t have any connection problems in the test. Overall, the range is even surprisingly good. For example, a walk into the next room is just as possible as distances of twelve to fifteen meters in open space.
The TaoTronics SoundLiberty 80 surprised positively in the test with a good and very harmonious sound. The eye-catching color scheme is a question of taste, but at least this way, the model stands out clearly from the crowd. The earbuds are well equipped and have a reasonable sound quality at a fair price if you like the design.
On the positive side, the IPX8 certification and the ability to control the volume on the headphones and voice commands are positive. The only real minus point for the model is the relatively short battery life.
If you want inconspicuous headphones, you will probably not be happy with the eye-catching earbuds. An alternative is the similarly expensive True Wireless OnePlus Buds (review). The model is visually much more inconspicuous and also dispenses with a rubber or silicone pad. If headphones with padding are also interesting, the Huawei Freebuds 3i and the Honor Magic Earbuds (test report) would be possible candidates.