Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC – the best TWS headphones for your money?

Anker is well known for its power supplies and charging stations, but along with them, it is developing the Soundcore brand, which has already released several generations of wireless headphones. The Soundcore Liberty 4 NC is one of the manufacturer’s newest models, offering active noise cancellation, Bluetooth 5.3 with Hi-Res audio and LDAC codec, IPX4 water protection, and many other features. I will tell you whether they are worth the UAH 3,999 and how the model behaves in real-world use in this review.

Soundcore Liberty 4 NC specifications

Headphones type in-channel
Connection type True Wireless
Compatibility Android, iOS
Bluetooth version 5.3
Range of action 20 meters
Codec support SBC, AAC, LDAC
Control sensory
Volume control +
Microphones 3 for each earphone, noise cancellation support
Headphones weight 10 grams
Case weight 48.6 grams
Moisture protection IPX4
Battery life up to 10 hours on a single charge, up to 50 hours with a case
Charging connector USB Type-C
Recommended price in Ukraine 3 999 UAH

Package contents

The headphones come in a relatively small box, in which, in addition to them and the charging case, you can find a short USB-C to USB-A charging cable and a set of four pairs of silicone tips. All in all, a standard set for modern TWS headphones.

Design and case

Soundcore Liberty 4 NC is an in-ear headphone with anatomically shaped drivers that flow smoothly into a “leg” with charging connectors and microphones. On the outside of the headphones, there is a small pad that is slightly different from the main color and contains the Soundcore logo and brand name.

As for colors, the Liberty 4 NC is available in five versions: black, white, navy, blue, and pink.

The headphones themselves are made entirely of plastic, so each one weighs only 10 grams. They are quite comfortable for long periods of wear and, thanks to their small size, do not bulge out of your ears.

It’s also nice that they have IPX4 moisture protection, which is enough to work out in the Soundcore Liberty 4 NC at the gym.

The bundled case is larger than you’d expect to see in such compact headphones. The manufacturer could have made it smaller, because most of it is taken up by the flip-up lid.

It also has an automatic opening mechanism with a button. The latter is equipped with an LED that starts glowing when pressed, but it’s not just an aesthetic element. If you press the button harder and hold it for a while, the headphones will switch to the pairing mode and the LED will serve as an indication of this process.

It’s nice that the case has a matte finish, so fingerprints are not visible and it will be harder to leave small scratches. Interestingly, there is a diode light in the middle of the case, just in the place where the silicone earbuds fit. It also flashes in the pairing mode, but in general it makes more aesthetic sense than practical.

With the headphones, the case weighs 68.6 grams, and without them, it’s 20 grams lighter. It’s quite lightweight, but it won’t fit in every pocket.

Connectivity, noise reduction and control

For smartphone connectivity, the headphones use Bluetooth 5.3 with Fast Pair protocol support, which allows them to quickly connect to smartphones running Android 10 and later.

This feature replaces the manufacturers’ home-made protocols and is a universal solution that allows you to see a prompt on your smartphone screen to connect and configure the headphones immediately when you first open the headphone case. Later, it also shows the charge level of the headphones and the case in the notification panel, which is very convenient.

To fine-tune Soundcore Liberty 4 NC, you will need the proprietary Soundcore utility, which is available for both Android and iOS.

In it, the user can change the noise reduction and equalizer settings, set the volume limit, control gestures, codec, and multi-point connection. Let’s look at these options in turn.

Soundcore Liberty 4 NC has a built-in active noise cancellation system that allows you to cut out extraneous noise and listen to music more comfortably. The manufacturer says that it can reduce noise by 98.5%, I can’t say for sure, but the “noise canceler” works very well in the headphones. While using Liberty 4 NC, I managed to travel in them both in public transport and on trains, so I can state that the headphones effectively cut off noise.

The Soundcore app has a number of settings for the noise reduction system, and you can use the adaptive mode, in which the headphones will create more or less noise reduction depending on the volume of the environment. You can control the noise reduction level manually, or switch to one of the “transport” modes, which should better cut off sound in airplanes, trains, buses, and cars.

From the experience of using the headphones in different conditions, I can note that the difference between different modes is not cardinal. It is most noticeable when switching the noise reduction levels manually, so the lowest level will create the least amount of anti-noise, and vice versa. This can be useful for users with sensitive hearing, for whom strong anti-noise creates excessive pressure on the eardrum.

Otherwise, you can opt for the adaptive mode and get a good level of external noise reduction.

The equalizer settings in Soundcore Liberty 4 NC offer several options. The headphones have a fairly wide range of equalizer modes, with two dozen presets to choose from.

By default, the proprietary Soundcore Signature mode is used with a rather pleasant sound and good bass level for a compact model. For those who know what kind of sound they need, there is an option to manually adjust the equalizer. Or you can take a test to determine your hearing characteristics.

The headphones support 3D sound, but this only slightly expands the soundstage, adding volume, and does not track their position in space, as is implemented in more expensive models.

Another option in the Soundcore app is the ability to see the sound level in the headphones in decibels and limit the high volume to avoid damaging the auditory nerve.

For music playback, Soundcore Liberty 4 NC offers SBC, AAC, and LDAC codecs. The latter was developed by Sony and allows you to transmit high-resolution audio over Bluetooth at up to 990 Kbps at 32 bits/96 kHz. For wireless headphones, this is the so-called Hi-Res audio, which, due to the higher bandwidth, allows you to listen to higher quality audio. You shouldn’t expect a radical difference if your sound source is Spotify, but if you have FLAC files saved from a CD, switching to LDAC will allow you to hear a little more detail and expand the imaginary music scene.

However, when using LDAC, you need to be prepared for the fact that with this codec, headphones consume more power and the connection is less stable than with SBC or AAC. In addition, with LDACLiberty 4 active, NCs cannot support simultaneous connection to multiple devices, so you will have to give up fast switching between them. As you can see, the advantages of LDAC in this model are not significant against the background of the disadvantages. Besides, it works only in Android devices.

By pressing the outside of the right or left earbud of the Soundcore Liberty 4 NC once, twice, three times, or by holding it down for a long time, you can control playback, volume, call the voice assistant, or turn on/off noise cancellation and transparency mode.

Overall, the Liberty 4 NC is highly customizable, with the Soundcore app allowing you to adjust the headphones to your needs and music style.

Sound and microphones

The headphones use Anker’s own 11 mm drivers, which provide good sound quality for such a compact model. We can even say that Soundcore Liberty 4 NC exceed expectations, both in terms of scene detail and bass. The latter is not too deep, but it is quite perceptible. For the most part, such sound quality in TWS headphones can be found in more expensive models.

Each earbud also has 3 built-in microphones, which are used for both noise cancellation and calls. Typical for such models, Liberty 4 NC has a slightly muffled voice transmission, but it does a good job of cutting out extraneous noise, so the person on the other end will have no trouble hearing you, even if you’re calling from the subway.

Battery life

With the AAC and SBC codecs, the headphones can play audio for about 10 hours, and the case’s built-in 800 mAh battery provides an additional 50 hours of autonomy. This is a very good indicator. However, if you switch to LDAC, the operating time is significantly reduced, and for the headphones it will be about 4 hours.

Like most similar models, Liberty 4 NC supports fast charging, with 10 minutes in the case providing 4 hours of music playback. The case itself can be charged via USB-C or wireless charging.

Pleasant design; comfortable fit; IPX4 moisture protection; active noise cancellation system; customization options via the Soundcore app; simultaneous connection to two devices and fast switching; good sound quality; high battery life; fast charging; wireless charging;
The case could be more compact; features of using LDAC;
Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC are easy-to-use wireless headphones that provide good sound quality, effective noise cancellation, and extensive customization options. For the money, they can easily compete with more expensive models.
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