Cheap earphones usually come with a number of caveats due to cost saving measures but sadly a lot of the time manufacturers cut corners where it matters – sound quality.

So when Syntech offered to send through a set of the Taotronics SoundLiberty 53 wireless earbuds we were slightly worried about the R899 price tag they carry.

Would the earbuds sound like a garbled mess? Would the build quality make my ears more uncomfortable than Samsung’s beans? Was this just another Airpod clone?

Thankfully we’ve been using the SoundLiberty 53’s for a few weeks and the short answer to all of the above is no, well, mostly.

The technicalities

Inside each of the SoundLiberty 53 buds is a 6mm driver that really earns its keep with its 20 – 20 000Hz frequency response.

While this is quite normal for earphones in 2020 it’s not the sort of frequency response we usually see in affordable earphones.

There is support for Bluetooth 5.0 here and the range is decent though in our benchmark (walking through our office until connectivity is lost) it still struggles once you put a bit of concrete between you and the source. This isn’t Taotronics’ fault as its a limitation of Bluetooth itself but its good to see range is in line with our other Bluetooth 5.0 devices.

The earbuds feature touch controls for play, pause, skip tracks and most importantly, volume control. Tapping the left and right earbuds will decrease and increase volume respectively. A toot on the opposite earbud lets you know when you’ve maxed or

In terms of power the included charging case is equipped with a 650mAh battery. While Taotronics claims playtime of 40 hours we actually managed to squeeze an average of 42 hours from our time with the SoundLiberty 53 with about four and half hours between each charge.

The worst part of the SoundLiberty is its charging time. At two and a half hours to go from empty to full we really would like to see this improved in future iterations.

The listening

For our testing we flattened our equaliser (Equalizer APO is a great tool for this) as we always do with these products so that we can judge these earbuds without any tweaks.

The low-end frequencies here are the real star. Bass absolutely thumps through these earbuds and the “closed back” design helps keep sound directed at your eardrums.

Mid-frequencies are handled well as are higher frequencies.

In short the SoundLiberty 53 is well balanced out of the box and the frequency response means you have a bit of room to play with as far as equalising is concerned.

There is no distortion to speak of even when listening to the heaviest metal we could find or bass testing these earphones.

Quite frankly we’re blown away by these little earbuds, especially at this price.

The microphone is decent enough for Zoom calls and regular calls alike but we would recommend a bespoke microphone for things like streaming and professional recordings.

The materials

So if the sound quality is good, where did Taotronics cut corners?

Simply put – the materials.

The SoundLiberty 53 earbuds are clad in plastic though it is a tough, high-quality plastic that won’t shatter when you drop it from a height of 2m.

The charging case feels very cheap though. The hinge is incredibly flimsy and despite the aforementioned 650mAh battery it’s very lightweight.

We would have liked to see a bit more care taken with the design of the charging case but we are also aware that these earbuds are cheaper than most. As such we’re willing to admit we’d prefer better sound over a nice charging case.

The verdict

Cheap earbuds that are good are rather rare with compromises often ruining the aural experience.

Thankfully the Taotronics SoundLiberty 53 earbuds have a fantastic sound quality and you should find yourself blown away at how great the sound stage is here.

Battery life is fantastic but you will need to charge up mid-way through your day if you plan to use these at work. The good news is that we found an hour long charge gave us enough juice to get us to closing time.

There is very little to fault Taotronics on here.

If you are looking for a decent pair of affordable earbuds, the Taotronics SoundLiberty 53 are a solid option especially at R899.

Cheap earphones usually come with a number of caveats due to cost saving measures but sadly a lot of the time manufacturers cut corners where it matters - sound quality. So when Syntech offered to send through a set of the Taotronics SoundLiberty 53 wireless earbuds we were slightly worried about the R899 price tag they carry. Would the earbuds sound like a garbled mess? Would the build quality make my ears more uncomfortable than Samsung's beans? Was this just another Airpod clone? Thankfully we've been using the SoundLiberty 53's for a few weeks and the short answer to all of the above is no, well, mostly. The technicalities Inside each of the SoundLiberty 53 buds is a 6mm driver that really earns its keep with its 20 - 20 000Hz frequency response. While this is quite normal for earphones in 2020 it's not the sort of frequency response we usually see in affordable earphones. There is support for Bluetooth 5.0 here and the range is decent though in our benchmark (walking through our office until connectivity is lost) it still struggles once you put a bit of concrete between you and the source. This isn't Taotronics' fault as its a limitation of Bluetooth itself but its good to see range is in line with our other Bluetooth 5.0 devices. The earbuds feature touch controls for play, pause, skip tracks and most importantly, volume control. Tapping the left and right earbuds will decrease and increase volume respectively. A toot on the opposite earbud lets you know when you've maxed or In terms of power the included charging case is equipped with a 650mAh battery. While Taotronics claims playtime of 40 hours we actually managed to squeeze an average of 42 hours from our time with the SoundLiberty 53 with about four and half hours between each charge. The worst part of the SoundLiberty is its charging time. At two and a half hours to go from empty to full we really would like to see this improved in future iterations. The listening For our testing we flattened our equaliser (Equalizer APO is a great tool for this) as we always do with these products so that we can judge these earbuds without any tweaks. The low-end frequencies here are the real star. Bass absolutely thumps through these earbuds and the "closed back" design helps keep sound directed at your eardrums. Mid-frequencies are handled well as are higher frequencies. In short the SoundLiberty 53 is well balanced out of the box and the frequency response means you have a bit of room to play with as far as equalising is concerned. There is no distortion to speak of even when listening to the heaviest metal we could find or bass testing these earphones. Quite frankly we're blown away by these little earbuds, especially at this price. The microphone is decent enough for Zoom calls and regular calls alike but we would recommend a bespoke microphone for things like streaming and professional…

TL;DR

Combined Score - 8

8

Liberated

Despite its affordable price tag, the Taotronics SoundLiberty 53 earbuds offer up fantastic sound quality. Bluetooth 5.0 means you have enough range to potter around the house and do your chores while not experiencing any sort of audio lag. While materials are rather cheap feeling functionality such as the ability to control volume from the buds more than makes up for it. These are great earbuds.

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8