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Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds review

Cancel all noise with the exceptionally bassy Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds

Best running headphones: Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds in their charging case
(Image: © Sam Hopes)

Live Science Verdict

The Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds elevate your audio experience using gentle sensory touchpad controls and 3D surround sound to heighten your senses. Each pair comes with four ergonomic earbuds and wing sizes. Tailoring to any ear canal, these true-wireless noise-canceling earbuds offer unparalleled sound, intense bass, and crystal clear audio clarity. Some users might prefer the more secure wraparound design of other models.

Pros

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    Four earbud and wing options to pick from

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    Noise cancellation HearID technology

  • +

    Brilliant sound quality

Cons

  • -

    Less secure than wraparound models

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    Chunky design sticks out of your ear

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    Battery life drains quicker with ANC on

There’s a good reason why the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds have been recommended by 20 Grammy-winning audio producers. These audio pocket rockets are ergonomically designed to sit snugly in your ears, delivering a tailored and powerful 3D surround sound performance controlled by your touch. 

With punchy bass and crystal clear high-resolution audio, these wireless noise-canceling earbuds demand you to be present. 

We’re fickle with earbuds, preferring wraparound headphones that will eliminate any chance of cuffing them across the room during strenuous strength exercise (opens in new tab) or home workouts. However, these buds come with four wing and earbud sizes, allowing you to tailor them to your ear canal for a comfier fit.  

Specs

Smart enabled/compatibility: Yes

Waterproof: IPX4 waterproof

Battery life: 8 hours of playtime (up to 32 hours with charging case) and 15-minute charge time

Bluetooth: Yes, up to 2 devices

Noise-canceling: Yes 

We found them a little unstable during high-intensity sprints and had to readjust a few times to find the correct placement, but the sound quality quickly outweighed any grumbles we could have with sizing. While these earbuds are a little chunkier than we’d normally wear, they (mostly) held firm during testing and shot straight into our guide for the best running headphones (opens in new tab) on the market. 

The Liberty 3 Pro model is an upgrade from its predecessors – the Liberty Air 2 Pro and Liberty 2 Pro – with the addition of 3D surround sound, HearID noise-cancellation ANC technology, and multipoint connection (allowing you to connect to two devices at once). 

If you’re tired of trying to cancel out the huffing and puffing of your weight-wielding peers, these earbuds are a true savior. Find the best fitness trackers (opens in new tab) to pair with your earbuds, or read on for our full review and why this model can easily slot into your ears (and life).  

Price and release date

 The Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds retail at $169.99/ £139.99, released in October 2021 as the new addition to the existing Liberty Pro range. Most notable is the HearID ANC design; it tailors noise cancellation based on your ear canal pressure and outdoor ambient noise to auto-adjust for your environment. 

These earbuds are also available via Amazon and third-party retailers at discounted prices.

Set-up and design

Best running headphones: Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds in their box with four earbud and earwing options

(Image credit: Sam Hopes)

The Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds come in a sleek and compact sliding pod with an ultra-fast USB charging port. They connect seamlessly via Bluetooth and support LDAC mode – Sony technology that allows you to stream high-res audio over Bluetooth. 

You can connect the 3 Pros to two Bluetooth devices at once, allowing you to switch between them so you can make calls and listen to music on the go. Six microphones and AI-noise reduction help to enhance your voice quality while filtering background noise. 

We were blown away by just how customizable these earbuds are. As mentioned, four earbud and wing options are available in the box, allowing you to tailor your fit and ensure a proper seal for your ear. Soundcore provides a quickstart guide on how to fit your earbuds for optimal performance.

Just as your phone can map your fingerprint to set up Touch ID, these earbuds do the same for your ears using a HearID ANC test in the Soundcore app. Uniquely mapping each ear using a range of sounds at different frequencies and decibels, they create a custom earprint for the left and right. The ear canal test gauges surrounding noise, creating a unique noise reduction experience that adjusts with your environment.

From the app, you can choose between HearID ANC (noise cancellation), ‘normal’, and transparency mode (this means you can hear external noise), as well as opting for wind noise reduction. You can even choose from sound effects like surround sound and professional mode. If that’s not enough, you can further customize depending on the genre you’re listening to – like classical, dance, or podcast – or move into a custom mode to modify sound manually.

It’s a bit of a minefield at first, but if you’re deadly serious about your music, this is your time to play. What’s more, the buds are designed with in-built ear pressure relief, so you’re unlikely to experience annoyingly achy ears after a few hours of listening time.

Controls

Best running headphones: Close up image of Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds on their own with wings fitted

(Image credit: Sam Hopes)

Completely undetectable, each earbud uses touch control which allows you to adjust and control volume, music settings, voice assistant, and phone calls at your fingertips. You can select from the tap and hold, single, double, or triple tap options and attribute settings to them – all via the app. 

These earbuds are very sensitive, and Soundcore advises keeping the IR sensors (the small black circles on the earbuds) clean, as they detect whether your earbuds are fitted properly, affecting your audio experience. 

Learning your control settings is key and takes a little while to adjust to – we found ourselves skipping songs instead of increasing volume on a number of occasions. We recommend keeping it simple, like setting your left bud on double tap for song skipping and dedicating the right bud double tap to play/pause. A single tap on either earbud is useful for quickly increasing or decreasing volume. Removing one earbud will automatically pause music while replacing it will resume play.

The only downside of having touch control is that we found ourselves unnecessarily activating it when adjusting our earbuds, but we cover this below.

Fit

To hit the ground running with new headphones, you need a reliable and secure fit. You have four bud and wing options to choose from with the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds, and you can perform an in-app fit test to ensure they’re properly sealed; the IR sensors will detect if any adjustments are necessary. 

Soundcore hammers home the importance of fitting your earbuds correctly, supplying a diagram on the app and in the box alongside the app test. The twist and lock technique (in theory) should keep them in place, but even after testing all four of the size options, we couldn’t quite nail the fit.  

We’ve developed a bad relationship with in-ear earbuds over the years and often find our ears rejecting them, sending us scrabbling around for rogue buds mid-workout. During slower-paced weight training (opens in new tab), we didn’t experience any issues wearing these. However, our gripe comes during more impactful sprint-interval testing and between relentless burpees, where we had to readjust several times to stop them from wobbling or falling out. 

The earbuds feel chunky and tend to stick out, which could be why they feel insecure. This also means careful navigation is necessary if you’re planning to whip off any clothing while you train – potentially problematic if you head outdoors in the colder months. Another fit issue meant we kept inadvertently activating touch controls while readjusting the buds, resulting in skipped songs and accidental pauses.

Admittedly, we have an ongoing battle with earbuds, and other users might find a better fit than we did. 

Sound quality

The sound quality of the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds is incredible. The ability to be truly present with your music and drown out the rest is a gift often reserved for gigs, but customizing the music experience to your liking packs a powerful punch. We found ourselves hearing our music in a different light. 

The coaxial dual driver technology (version ACAA 2.0) enhances the quality of the bass, mids, and treble delivered through your earphones, creating – in the words of Soundcore – ‘an ultra-wide and immersive soundstage.’ 

Not only can you hit noise-reduction mode, but you can manually adjust sound effects to your mood or music genre. This is far from a gimmick – you can instantly hear the difference, and there’s even an option to select custom EQ in professional mode, designed by Grammy-winning producers. 

Without sounding twee, it makes music meaningful again, rather than plugging in as a past-time while you sit on the subway between work and home. We’re still recovering from just how sonorous the bass is through these buds. We recommend transferring to transparency mode when out running or cycling though, as the noise-cancellation is alarmingly effective. 

Value for money

With a price tag of $169.99/ £139.99, we understand those on a budget might not be rushing out to buy the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds. However, we believe they’re one of the best headphones currently on the market, and you can find them discounted on other sites. 

If you’re looking for the ultimate music experience through your earphones, these ones offer effective noise-cancellation, pulsing bass, and a seriously high-quality sound with the power to make you fall back in love with long-lost playlists.

Verdict

The Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds are perfect for avid music fans, day-to-day wear, and lower-impact exercise – like when trying to perfect your home weights training (opens in new tab). We hoped we’d crack the fit, but they just missed the security we needed for high-intensity workouts and running. However, there are four size options to choose from, and if you generally get on with earbuds, you might find a size to suit all sports and fitness settings. 

Brilliant sound quality, touch control, and multi-Bluetooth connectivity still skyrocket these earphones up the charts for us, and your ears won’t tire of wearing them either. 

Alternatives

Best running headphones: JBL REFLECT FLOW - True Wireless Earbuds

(Image credit: Amazon)

JBL Reflect Flow Pro

If a snug fit during high-intensity exercise is a must, then the JBL Reflect Flow Pro could be your go-to headphones for all forms of exercise. Many features are similar to Soundcore’s, including touch control, noise-cancellation ANC technology, and voice assistant. However, you can’t control volume via the earbuds, and our user found the secure fit caused some achy ears after a while.  

 Beats Power Beats Pro

If you prefer a wraparound design, then the Beats Powerbeats Pro offer a high-quality sound system with a hook to secure them to your ears. They’re also sweatproof and waterproof, ideal for runners and anyone engaging in high-intensity exercise. These Beats aren’t equipped with noise cancellation, and users have commented on the lack of an adjoining app.  

Sam Hopes
Staff writer

Sam Hopes is a level III fitness trainer, level II reiki practitioner, and resident fitness writer at Future PLC. Having trained to work with both the mind and body, Sam is a big advocate of using mindfulness techniques in sport and aims to bring mental wellbeing to the forefront of fitness. She’s also passionate about the fundamentals of training and how we can build more sustainable training methods. You’ll find her writing about the importance of habit-building, nutrition, sleep, recovery, and workouts.