Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro review: Top sound from a value bud

The Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro delivers flagship sound in a gorgeous package and has plenty of extra features

The Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro on display against a backdrop of a coastal street with palm trees
(Image: © Regan Coule/Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro undercuts the competition with dynamic, customizable sound and several advanced listening features.

Pros

  • +

    High-quality sound

  • +

    Attractive craftmanship

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    Excellent connectivity

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    Powerful spec sheet

  • +

    Satisfactory ANC

Cons

  • -

    Disappointing transparency mode

  • -

    Inaccurate Fit Test

  • -

    Motion detection and Google Assistant need work

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Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro specs

Price: $170 

Colors: purple; grey; white; black

Battery life (rated): 6 hours (ANC on); 8 hours (ANC off); 28 hours (with charging case and ANC on); 32 hours (with charging case and ANC off)

Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2

Processor: Not stated

Size: 0.7 x 1.1 x 1.1 inches (per bud); 2.8 x 2.2 x 1.1 inches (charging case)

Weight: 0.2 ounces (earbud); 1.6 ounces (charging case)

The Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro is the company’s newest flagship model and one of the best wireless earbuds based on audio performance alone. An upgraded spec sheet with advanced codec support (hello, LDAC), new listening modes, Anker's version of spatial audio, and refined hardware attest to this. Other notables such as customizable active noise cancellation, Bluetooth 5.2, and a refreshed design show that Anker is pulling out all the stops in an attempt to overtake the true wireless throne. The best wireless earbuds overall.

Mission accomplished? Not quite. There’s no denying the professional sound and special features these buds boast, nor their premium construction. However, the Liberty 3 Pro has a few chinks in its striking armor, specifically an unimpressive transparency mode and a few unreliable smart features. Read our full Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 review to see why it’s still considered a noteworthy three-quel.

Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro review: Price and availability

The Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro was announced at $170, but it has been marked down to $130 at Amazon (opens in new tab) and Best Buy (opens in new tab) for a limited time, or directly from Anker (opens in new tab)

These earbuds are sold in four colors: Dusk Purple, Fog Grey, Frost White, and Midnight Black. Bundled with the purchase are a wireless charging case, USB-C charging cable, four sets of different sized ear tips, four sets of different sized ear wings, and a quick start guide.

By comparison, the Liberty 3 Pro has a higher launch price than mid-tier ANC rivals like the Beats Studio Buds ($150) and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 ($149). It’s also less expensive than category leaders such as the AirPods Pro ($249) and Sony WF-1000XM4 ($279). If the MSRP seems too high, we advise looking at two other Anker wireless noise-cancelling models: the Life P3 ($80) and Liberty 2 Pro, which is on sale for $99.99 (opens in new tab) on Anker's website.

For all of the latest wireless earbuds sales, bookmark our best headphones deals page.

Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro review: Design and comfort

Let me start by saying these are some sexy-looking wireless earbuds. Anker isn’t known for their design pedigree, but some of their recent releases have shown the brand is stepping up their game. The Liberty 3 Pro is by far their most aesthetically pleasing model to date.

The Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro resting on a concrete surface

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Anker managed to downscale this version, making it 30% smaller than its predecessor. The glossy exterior, which kind of resembles glass, produces a nice shine that accentuates the Soundcore logo on the front. Durability is strong with hard plastic making up most of its construction. IPX4 water resistance also means these buds can survive sweat, rain, and light splashing, much like the AirPods Pro.

The pebbled-shaped charging case with slide-up lid returns in all its awesomeness. It is lighter and smaller than the previous case and easily slides into any pocket. Detailing is kept the same, from the embossed logo to the LEDs to the pairing button located in the rear. Build quality feels great and the lid glides open to easily pull out or charge the buds.

The Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro held in hand

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The Liberty 3 Pro earbuds have what Anker calls Fusion Comfort Fit. Translation: the buds have “a triple-point ergonomic shape and built-in ear pressure relief for all-day comfort.” I’ve never found elongated wireless earbuds comfortable, but the Liberty 3 Pro was a pleasant wear for the most part. The extended cavity rests nicely on the concha, though listeners with low pain thresholds may feel some soreness when using the buds for several hours straight.

Comfort being tested on the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Having the flexible ear wings helped establish optimal fit. They easily fold into the upper part of the ear (aka the cymba) and feel gentle against the skin. The sound port seamlessly inserts into the canal, while the silicone ear tips create a decent seal to maintain stability when moving around.

A Fit Test is available to inform listeners of the best tips for their ears, but the results are questionable at the best. According to two different tests, the tips I installed provided a “good seal” on both ears. This was surprising to read since I had both buds practically dangling off my ears during the first test.

Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro review: Controls and digital assistant

Anker confuses me sometimes, mainly because of its control scheme decisions. On one end, they do fantastic stuff like program the Liberty 3 Pro with a full suite of media controls. These include playback, call management, volume, digital assistance, and listening mode activation. On the other end, they do something as nonsensical as disable some of the input methods right out of the box. I kid you not, they make you go into the Soundcore app to turn on the single- and triple-tap gestures; the double-tap and tap-and-hold gestures are on by default.

Thankfully, these controls are responsive when performed on the touch sensors and provide accurate results most of the time. The same can’t be said about on-ear detection. Music would automatically pause half the time when removing the buds from my ears.

The touch sensor on the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The Liberty 3 Pro is compatible with Google Assistant, Siri, and Bixby, and demonstrates great speech recognition with the mics picking up every syllable spoken. Google Assistant was the only one of the three that acted up at times, either taking too long to execute voice commands or not recognizing them at all. Apple and Samsung’s AI bots operated flawlessly. 

Note: Any changes made to the controls won’t work until after you download the latest software update, which fixes several bugs.

Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro review: Sound quality

Underneath the hood is a 10.6mm driver that’s paired with coaxial-aligned acoustic architecture and a Knowles balanced armature driver. This combination of internals creates dynamic and spacious sound, which leans more towards the warm end of the audio spectrum, but also doesn’t cheat you on frequency range. 

Give a listen to the iconic intro on David Bowie & Queen’s "Under Pressure" to hear what I’m saying. That opening bass riff is tight and the amalgamation of sounds that follow is reproduced exceptionally well, from the percussive elements (e.g., cymbals, clapping hands, snapping fingers) to the electric guitar chimes. The amazing vocal clarity also does the melodies and Freddie Mercury’s four-octave range justice. 

The Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro playing Queen & David Bowie's "Under Pressure"

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The bouncy grooves on Common’s “The Light” are highlighted by a snappy and infectious drum sample that the Liberty 3 Pro’s low end handles with ease. Meanwhile, the high end shines on Jazz classics like Yusef Lateef’s “Love Theme From Spartacus,” where the cymbals and flutes blend beautifully over the smooth double bass.

Let’s talk about the several options to personalize sound on these buds. Listening with ANC on does give lows a minor boost, should you desire more bass. You can delve deep into the Sound Effects section via Soundcore app and pick from 22 different music presets engineered for specific content and music genres. The default is set to Soundcore Signature, which is the most balanced of the group, but there are other gems worth checking out such as Acoustic, Hip Hop, Jazz, and Spoken Word. There’s even the option to create your own sound profile by manually adjusting the frequency levels to your hearing.

The several EQs available for the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The Liberty 3 Pro is one of the few models to come with LDAC support. For those unfamiliar with the Bluetooth codec, it lets you stream lossless music at the highest transfer speed possible. You’ll need a device that supports Android Oreo 8.0 or above to enable it, and those who do will find both streaming speed and sound quality to be on point. 

Sound personalization doesn’t stop there. HearID returns to create your own sound profile by mapping and analyzing your hearing sensitivity at multiple levels. It was a 5-minute process that I felt didn’t do much to enhance sound; my results showed a flat sound signature.

LDAC functionality on the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Then there is Anker’s version of spatial audio: 3D Surround Sound EQ. This mode brings an immersive feel to music and movies, especially when watching action sequences, though I still prefer the AirPods Pro’s three-dimensional surround sound.

Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro review: Active noise cancellation

Anker’s ANC circuitry doesn’t reduce ambient noise at the level that Apple, Bose, and Sony’s technologies do, but it can handle enough to make for peaceful listens in specific environments. Indoors, I enjoyed long stretches of quiet time with the buds muting common household distractions, including kitchen appliances, loud TVs, and talkative relatives. Rumbling sounds from the washing machine and the humming from our AC unit went unheard as well. 

Our reviewer testing ANC on the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

High-frequency noises were a struggle for the Liberty 3 Pro. My crying infant boy was audible from one room over, and even my mother-in-law’s iPhone ringer caught my attention several times. Wind is another variable that affects noise neutralization. In regular mode, the whisking effect caused by gusty conditions and speeding cars sounded unpleasant. Turning on the Wind Noise Reduction setting made it less harsh.

I recommend using the HearID ANC feature and let Anker’s software create a tailored profile that optimizes ANC based on your hearing preferences. It opens the door to two more ANC modes: Adaptive and Manual. The former will automatically adjust ANC levels based on your environment, which it does decently, and the latter gives you a wheel to manually adjust levels between Week (yes, Anker misspelled “weak”), Moderate, and Strong. Many will find that Strong is best for all situations.

The HearID feature being tested on the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Transparency Mode also comes with two modes – Fully Transparent and Vocal – each one self-explanatory. Unfortunately, neither performs as well as the Liberty 3 Pro’s other audio features. I had Fully Transparent enabled the entire time at Publix and couldn’t make out any noises. The cashier sounded completely muffled and switching to Vocal didn’t clear things up.

Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro review: App and special features

The amount of personalization options in the Soundcore app is insane. Several of the app’s big features have already been accounted for, including the EQ with presets, control customization, Fit Test, HearID, LDAC, and 3D Surround Sound.

There are a handful of other useful functions worth checking out. The first thing you’ll see on the home page is the product displayed handsomely at the top with battery level indicators for both earbuds and the charging case. Below it are toggle controls for the listening modes and menus for other sound settings. Scroll to the bottom and there is a More Settings option to enable on-ear detection, prompt tones, auto power-off, and firmware updates. The quick start guide setting also comes in handy when you need a crash course on functionality without grabbing the user manual from the box.

The Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro running the Anker Soundcore app

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Something else most people forget is that Soundcore partnered with the LÜM music service, giving listeners access to a wide variety of independent music and playlists for free. This is useful if you’re tired of the mainstream selections pushed by Apple Music and Spotify.

Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro review: Battery life and charging case

Playtimes on the Liberty 3 Pro are satisfactory. A full charge equates to 6 hours with ANC on and 8 hours with ANC off. High volume and other features like LDAC chew up battery life and decrease playtimes by about 1 to 2 hours. This is still sufficient for 3 days of moderate use (2 hours daily) before recharging. More importantly, you’re getting more listening time than the AirPods Pro (4.5 to 5 hours). Those who want a model that will last longer will want to invest in pricier models like the Sony WH-1000XM4 (8 hours) and Master & Dynamic MW08 (10 hours).

The Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro charging case on a wireless charging pad

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The charging case holds between 28 to 32 hours, depending on how you use the buds. For all the math wizards out there, this is about 4 additional charges. A quick charge can earn you 3 hours of use in just 15 minutes. Wireless charging comes part of the package.

Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro review: Call quality and connectivity

I would place call quality right up there with the Liberty Air 2, which was surprisingly good. Every call I made in the house sounded loud and clear, while outdoor conversations produced similar results when wind wasn’t around. My wife could tell during voice calls that I was walking in gusty conditions or that there were cars speeding past me. Despite these noises, we could still make out each other’s words.

A video call being made on the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

One area where Anker never disappoints is connectivity. The Liberty 3 Pro runs on Bluetooth 5.2 and establishes a lengthy range to give you up to 50 feet of wireless listening before stuttering. Pairing and auto-connect are instant. Another bonus is multipoint technology to pair the Liberty 3 Pro to two devices simultaneously, which makes switching between your smartphone and laptop (or vice versa) much simpler.

Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro review: Verdict

The Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro is a sonic beast that offers more in sound quality than it has the right to. I’m not saying it can beat audio savants like the Bowers & Wilkins PI7 or Sony WF-1000XM4, but music sounds better on these buds than the AirPods Pro, which is what matters to most consumers. The updated design, robust connectivity, and vast functionality through the Soundcore app only make this product even more enticing.

With so many features, there were bound to be a handful that didn’t work according to plan, like the Fit Test, Transparency Mode, and motion controls. Even with these foibles, the Liberty 3 Pro stands proudly with overall performance that undercuts many of the market’s high-end models.

A lifestyle journalist with an affinity for consumer products, Alex has over a decade of experience and has worked with popular publications such as Complex, Thrillist, Men’s Health, Gear Patrol, AskMen, and Hoop Magazine. He currently focuses on audio, reviewing the most coveted headphones in the market for both Tom’s Guide and Laptop Magazine.