TaoTronics SoundLiberty 53: Best Bargain-Priced Truly Wireless Earbuds

Rating: 8/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $45
TaoTronics SoundLiberty set, with one earbud out of case and blue light showing.
Josh Hendrickson

TaoTronic’s previous truly wireless earbuds were already better than you can expect for $45. The company’s new SoundLiberty 53 earbuds sound better, last longer, and fit more comfortably—all for the same low price.

Here's What We Like

  • Less than $50
  • Small case
  • Decent battery life

And What We Don't

  • Tap controls aren't great
  • Pairing is still too difficult

TaoTronic’s older, TT-BH052 truly wireless earbuds use Bluetooth 5.0 for long-range. They work in either dual- or single-bud mode and come with a case that charges your phone or other devices. And anyone can get behind a case that charges your earbuds 40 times.

They aren’t flawless, though. The sound is acceptable, at best, the case is bulky, and the fit isn’t perfect. Even with a tight seal, they occasionally fall out of my ears.

The newer SoundLiberty earbud set solves all of that. They sound better, last longer, fit more comfortably, and come with a slimmer case. But there are still a couple of sacrifices.

Decent Sound

Earbuds are only as good as they sound. Other features don’t matter if you can’t stand to listen with them.

The SoundLiberty earbuds sound pretty good. Of course, they aren’t as amazing as my wired headphones or my $500 Nuheara wireless earbuds. However, if anything that costs $45 is as good as something that costs $500, someone is charging the wrong price.

The thing you miss most with this earbud set is bass; it’s there, but it’s not (in any way) a thumping good time. However, there’s a noticeable improvement over the previous TaoTronics set—they sound much better, and that’s at least partly because there’s more bass.

If you typically purchase the cheapest earbud set and are happy with how those sound, you’ll be satisfied with this set, too. If you prefer something incredibly accurate and thumping, these will leave you wanting. But again, that’s to be expected given the price.

Five Hours of Music

The other big question when it comes to truly wireless earbuds is how long they last—and that’s another significant improvement in this new set. While the old TaoTronics TT-BH052 earbuds quit after just two or three hours, the new set lasts five to six. I usually want to hear what’s going on around me while I work, so I use them in single earbud mode. When one dies, I switch to the other, so they usually make it through my work shift. They recharge in less than two and a half hours.

The old TaoTronics earbud case next to the new one.
The new TaoTronics case is noticeably smaller than the old one. Josh Hendrickson

I appreciate that TaoTronics continues to choose Bluetooth 5.0—the range on these earbuds is impressive. I can leave my iPad in the kitchen and walk two or three rooms away—or even downstairs—and I won’t lose the stream. My Nuheara earbuds don’t make it more than one room away before they cut out.

Unfortunately, pairing these earbuds is still a lesson in frustration at times. They are supposed to detect each other and automatically sync up when you have both of them in your ears. So, you pair one earbud to your device and put it away, and then pair the other. Then, you can use it in single-bud mode and pull out the second to switch to dual-bud mode.

Sometimes, this doesn’t happen, and the whole system gets messed up. It’s telling that the company includes a “what to do when pairing doesn’t work” video on its Amazon page, which basically walks you through a factory reset. Once you get everything paired, though, they work great.

Of course, other truly wireless earbuds—like Nuheara’s IQbuds Boost, Apple’s Airpods, and Samsung’s Galaxy Buds—all work in single-bud mode without pairing issues, but they’re also all significantly more expensive.

Better Comfort, Longer Listening

TaoTronics completely redesigned this new set. The look is obviously inspired by Apple Airpods, but that’s a good thing. They fit better than the older model, so they don’t fall out of my ears.

A TaoTronics SoundLiberty 53 earbud in a man's ear.
They’re comfortable, but they’ll likely brush up against earrings, so put the stem at an angle. TaoTronics

Also like Airpods, the SoundLiberty earbuds have a stem that pokes out of your ear. Overall, I like this because it makes taking them out easier—you don’t have to dig into your ear. If you wear dangling earrings, though, you’ll want to keep the stem at an angle, so it doesn’t get caught in your jewelry.

One complaint I have about the new design is the tap controls don’t work as well as they did on the older set. It usually takes two or three taps to pause. This is unfortunate, but not uncommon on truly wireless earbuds—especially budget-priced models.

Tiny, Portable Case

One of the coolest things about the older TaoTronics set is you get 40 charges and a USB-out port. You can charge your phone in a pinch, and the case lasts forever before it needs a recharge. The downside is the case is mostly plastic and just feels cheap (the button to open it eventually broke on mine). It also has a confusing light indicator system and is kind of bulky.

The TaoTronics case, earbuds, and a quarter.
The new case is small (quarter shown for scale). Josh Hendrickson

The new case is significantly slimmer and oval-shaped. Its curves fit better in my hand and pocket. And, thankfully, it has four indicator lights for the charge level instead of three like the old case. The lid doesn’t feel like it will break, either.

I also appreciate the magnets that suck the earbuds into their charging cavities. Alas, what you give up for all this convenience is battery life. While the older TaoTronics case recharges the earbuds an astounding 40 times, the new one holds only about eight charges. That’s offset some by the longer earbud battery life, but it’s still something to keep in mind. You also lose the USB-out port to charge other devices.

The two TaoTronics earbuds tucked into their case.
The key to the small case is the tight fit. Josh Hendrickson

Overall, for $45, it’s tough to complain about these wireless earbuds. They’re not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. Of course, you can find earbuds that sound better, last longer, and have a more premium feel. But you’ll also spend more—a lot more. Even the Outlier Air wireless earbuds are about double the price of the SoundLiberty set.

If you haven’t tried truly wireless earbuds before, these are an excellent starting point. If you typically use the cheap, wired kind, you might like these better and upgrade to a more premium pair later. And, if you’re particularly generous, they make a fantastic stocking stuffer!

Rating: 8/10
Price: $45

Here’s What We Like

  • Less than $50
  • Small case
  • Decent battery life

And What We Don't

  • Tap controls aren't great
  • Pairing is still too difficult

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smarthome enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »

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