Android Police

Audio Reviews

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The Soundcore Liberty Neo finally bring decent audio to cheap true wireless earbuds

Only two months have passed since we reviewed the Soundcore Liberty Air true wireless earbuds and now we’re taking a look at — or listen to — the Liberty Neo. Neither set is to be confused with the Liberty earbud range from another Anker sub-brand called Zolo. Why Soundcore needs two distinct but similarly priced models is the first question I pondered. The Liberty Neo (MSRP $60/£58) and Liberty Air (MSRP $80/£80) both feature graphene-coated drivers, Bluetooth 5, and IPX5 sweat resistance, but there are also a few key differences to justify the separate SKUs and price variance.

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Moshi's Avanti C hybrid 3.5mm/Type-C headphones are worth the steep asking price

For those of us that prefer wired headphones, or who merely can't tolerate the bugginess of Bluetooth on many Android phones, there aren't a lot of USB Type-C choices out there — especially if you don't want noise canceling. Moshi's new Avanti C checks the right boxes, though. There's no charging, no Bluetooth, and no ANC. What you do get is good audio, nice build quality, and dongle-free wired compatibility with 3.5mm and USB Type-C sources. Moshi thinks that's worth $200, and I agree.

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Samsung's excellent Galaxy Buds hit all the right notes at the right price

True wireless earbuds are big business these days, and they’re especially popular since Apple released its to-be-seen-with AirPods. Samsung's first attempt at this product category in 2016 was a little disappointing, but the updated Gear IconX that came out the following year offered improved battery life, a redesigned case, and better connectivity. The $200 price tag was too high for what you got, but frequent discounts made them a slightly more viable prospect.

Fast-forward to 2019 and Samsung is back with its latest iteration. Galaxy Buds is already a far more appealing and marketable name. They also cost much less than their predecessors at $130, even undercutting the AirPods by a full $30.

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Moshi's combo USB-C audio & power dongle is a must-buy for charging while listening — especially in the car

I will never change my opinion when it comes to the headphone jack: Taking it away was a terrible, consumer-unfriendly decision. Thanks to Google, Essential, OnePlus, and other OEMs, that means I have to work a bit harder to accommodate new devices into my firmly, happily tangled life, and one of the most annoying sacrifices up until now was using my phone in the car. The standalone Android Auto app actually works great just on your phone's screen, but having to choose between charging and audio was a major bummer.

Thanks to Moshi's power/3.5mm splitter dongle, that's not an issue for me anymore.

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Harman Kardon Citation One review: The high-end Google Home you’ve been waiting for

In the Samsung-owned Harman audio empire, consisting of JBL, AKG, and others, Harman Kardon is the original brand and it still has a fairly decent reputation for making products with relative audiophile appeal. The group is no stranger to Google Assistant-equipped devices, but the Citation/Enchant range of speakers, subs, towers, and soundbars really caught our attention when it was announced last summer. This could be the versatile Sonos competitor we've been waiting for.

The range went on sale last month, and I've been able to test the cheapest speaker in the lineup, the Citation One. At $200, it's competing with the Sonos One (I wonder where it got the name from), as well as other Assistant speakers from Sony, LG, JBL, and many more.

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Marshall Stanmore II review: A powerful but pricey Assistant speaker

You are no longer stuck with a few Google-branded speaker options if you want to invite Assistant into your home. There are speakers from JBL, Sony, and many others—including Marshall. The updated Marshall Stanmore II speaker launched recently, and it looks like a feasible alternative to Google's best-in-class Home Max. It combines classic Marshall styling with modern voice assistant features, but it comes with a steep $400 asking price.

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Aukey B60 Bluetooth earbuds review: USB-C charging and best-in-class comfort on the cheap

It's a bummer, but wireless audio gadget manufacturers seem reluctant to adopt the USB-C charging port found on most new phones, tablets, and even laptops. Otherwise exciting earbuds like the Soundcore Liberty Air and Jaybird Tarah Pro are still shipping with increasingly outdated microUSB ports — or worse, proprietary charging solutions. So it's great to see that Aukey's affordable B60 buds — significantly cheaper than both former sets — feature the one port to rule them all, especially since so many other things about them are so darn good.

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Review: Soundcore Liberty Air true wireless earbuds are an incredible value

Like it or not, headphone jacks are getting harder to find on smartphones, and that makes your wireless headphones more crucial than ever. There are some compelling true wireless options out there, but you have to spend big to get features like low-latency, Type-C charging, and long battery life. As the technology improves, we're finally starting to see some compelling budget options in true wireless—for example, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air. For a mere $80, these earbuds offer an experience that's almost a match for products that cost twice as much. If you can make a few small compromises, they're an incredible deal.

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Review: Sony's $350 WH-1000XM3 headphones live up to the hype

In today's $350 wireless, ANC-equipped over-ear headphones space, there are two primary competitors: Bose's QuietComfort 35 II and Sony's WH-1000XM3. Bose has long been championed as the king of the segment by many, but it seems impossible to talk about the QC35 II these days without someone butting in about how the identically-priced 1000XM3 is superior. After some time with the 1000XM3, I understand why everyone has been talking about it.

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RHA TrueConnect true wireless earbuds review: You can do better

Everyone is trying to make true wireless earbuds these days, but most of these products aren't very good. The technology has gotten cheap enough that any white label OEM can throw together a true wireless setup that does the bare minimum. Unless you simply refuse to have wires under any circumstances, these cheap options aren't worth the tradeoffs like sync issues, poor sound quality, and A/V lag. At the high-end, there are true wireless systems that can almost match a nice set of regular Bluetooth earbuds, but there's a lot of variation. The RHA TrueConnect earbuds look like an able competitor, but the USB Type-C port can't make up for the missing features and so-so sound quality.

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