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TaoTronics SoundLiberty 79 Review: Great Sounding, Budget Beating Earbuds

Reviewed for Hypertext by Jasvir Nanackchand. 

When it comes to decent, affordable TWS (true wireless) in-ear headphones, South Africa isn’t exactly awash with a slew of offerings. Consumers seemingly only have a choice between ridiculously priced offerings from big name brands, or really cheap – and cheap sounding – pairs from, to be blunt, cheaper brands.

In the middle of this lacuna is where the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 79’s come in. Packing premium specs and great sound quality, these earphones seem to fit right into the gap that exists between the two ends of the spectrum. Let’s take a look at our review of them. 

 

First impressions

We were pleasantly surprised with the SoundLiberty 79’s presentation. They come packaged in a sleek, premium feeling box, complete with slide out case and separate compartments for the various components, and, overall, the unboxing experience compares well with bigger name brands.

Inside the box we find the earbuds encased in a solid feeling charging case – a definite plus when compared with some of the lightweight cases we’ve seen before – the usual warranty, spec sheets and quick start guides, and to our surprise, a plethora of accessories. With no less than 6 pairs of ear tips and 4 ear hooks, you’re sure to find the perfect fit for these earbuds. 

An added plus is the USB-C charging, which we feel is a must these days, and which is often omitted in favour of micro-USB charging on cheaper TWS earbuds. Overall, the SoundLiberty 79’s left a good impression on us when it came to presentation and unboxing.

 

Design

As we mentioned above, the charging case for these earbuds has some solid heft to it, and it gives off the impression of a much more expensive offering. While somewhat generic in design – after all, there’s only so many ways to build a charging case – we liked the minimal aesthetic, with the discreet TaoTronics brand name atop the case itself. 

The earbuds themselves are equally solid, and they feel substantial in hand, unlike the lightweight, cheap feeling offerings from lower tier brands. Visually and tactilely, the earbuds seem to promise a great listening experience, and we were suitably impressed. 

The SoundLiberty 79’s also boast some other features worthy of a much higher price tag, namely IPX8 waterproofing, and AI noise reduction.

While we didn’t test out the former, with their snug fit, these earbuds do seem more than capable of withstanding a sweaty gym session, and even use in light rain. The AI noise reduction worked great at diminishing ambient noise during phone calls. 

Spec sheet

The SoundLiberty 79’s boast Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, and an astonishing playtime of up to 30 hours – eight hours without the charging case, and another 22 hours when recharged with the case.

Our tests bore this out, and we were never in danger of depleting the battery during our listening sessions. Another significant plus for these earbuds then, and one which even some more expensive offerings can’t beat.

Pairing, which can be a major pain point, was a breeze – simply open the charging case, and the buds automatically turn on and are put into pairing mode. Both our Android and iOS handsets instantly recognised the SoundLiberty 79s, and we had no issues connecting to them. Importantly, we didn’t experience any drop outs during use, which bodes well for long term use.

If we do have a bone to pick however, we’d have to mention the SoundLiberty 79’s lack of aptX connectivity. While not a deal breaker, the aptX codec does offer a superior listening experience – but at this price point, and for most users, the SoundLiberty 79’s SBC/AAC connectivity is more than adequate, and, bar a few picky audiophiles, most users won’t even notice a difference. In particular, the AAC playback on iOS was pretty much flawless. 

 

Usage

Once paired, which as we mentioned, was a painless process – and after selecting the right sized ear tips, which can have a huge impact on sound quality, for any pair of earbuds – you’re good to go, and can slide the buds into your ears ready for some listening pleasure.

We found that the SoundLiberty 79’s fit very well, with a snug feel, and we never felt that they would fall out at any point during use. We can easily see these buds being used in the gym, or for any training or even running sessions.

Like most TWS earbuds nowadays, the SoundLiberty 79’s offer touch controls on the buds themselves. Both left and right earbuds offer touch controls, and when we say touch, we mean touch, and not the irritating taps or physical button presses required on some cheaper earbuds, which are both awkward and uncomfortable. A simple touch/swipe on the right and left earbuds respectively raises and lowers the volume, with additional touches for pausing, playing and skipping tracks.

Handily, two touches answers and hangs up phone calls, and we found this functionality worked well on voice calls, together with the built in mics. Also, both Google Assistant and Siri can be accessed by touch gestures on either earbud, which is a great addition.

Sound quality

Now on to the meat of this review. In a word, the SoundLiberty 79’s sound quality is superb, for the price. They offer levels of clarity and articulation only available on much more expensive TWS earbuds, and to put it mildly, we were blown away by their quality.

They’re miles ahead of lower priced offerings, which can sound tinny and unsubstantial, and as we said, they’re almost on par with much more expensive earbuds. Which is surprising coming from a brand that doesn’t even specialise in audio.

In general, we found the sound put out by these earbuds rich and substantial, with good clarity at each point on the sound spectrum. While earbuds can often lack oomph when it comes to bass and sub-bass, the 79’s put out more than adequate levels of bass where necessary, as in, for example, on the classic New Order track Blue Monday, whose repetitive bass beat can often reveal bass-light headphones for what they are.

Even the XX’s Fantasy, which is essentially one long bass line, sounded good on these phones. While they’re by no means only for bassheads, the SoundLiberty 79’s performed well when it came to reproducing satisfying bass, and they never sounded boomy or muddy, as can often happen. 

The clear mids were also a delight, as evident on any of today’s pop and house tracks. We delighted in the sound quality on Mauve’s By My Side, with clear and snappy reproduction of both the mids and highs on this chilled house track. And, regardless of genre, the upper mids and highs from these earbuds sounded sharp and had great attack. 

Vocals, which are often very revealing of a headphone’s quality, were warm and pleasing, and we couldn’t get enough of Diana Krall’s Essentials playlist on Apple Music. The sound reproduction was gorgeous and ear-melting, and had us longing for more. And London Grammar’s Hannah Reid’s haunting, ethereal vocals sounded similarly rich and well articulated on these earbuds.

While we wouldn’t by any means label these earbuds audiophile grade, as they aren’t completely flat when it comes to sound reproduction, and have a definite warm tone, overall we were amazed at just how good they sound for the money. The clarity and sound staging on offer are great, and in our opinion, they’d satisfy 95 percent of listeners easily.

 

Overall

Needless to say, we were really impressed with TaoTronics’ SoundLiberty 79 TWS earbuds. They come in at a great price point, and offer great sound quality for the price, comparable with much more expensive offerings from bigger name brands.

With some great features like Bluetooth 5.0, IPX8 waterproofing and USB-C charging, all packaged in an attractive design, we’d be hard-pressed to find a better bang for your buck pair of earbuds than these.

We’d heartily recommend them to anyone looking for a great sounding, budget beating pair of TWS earbuds today.

The TaoTronics SoundLiberty 79 TWS earbuds retail from local outlets for R1 119 (RRP).

FULL DISCLOSURE: THE TAOTRONICS SOUNDLIBERTY 79’S WERE SENT TO HYPERTEXT FOR REVIEW AS A SEEDING UNIT. 

Impressed

80% Score

Needless to say, we were really impressed with TaoTronics’ SoundLiberty 79 TWS earbuds. They come in at a great price point, and offer great sound quality for the price, comparable with much more expensive offerings from bigger name brands.

Review Breakdown

  • Combined Score 80%
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