In the test: TaoTronics SoundLiberty 80 (TT-BH080) - damn close to the AirPods

Review: TaoTronics TT-BH080

Finally no silicone in-ear plugs! I love my AirPods more than my AirPods Pro - precisely because I don't have to stick anything into my ear canal, I can just hang them in my ear. It works the same way with them TaoTronics SoundLiberty 80that come with the model identifier TT-BH080.

Since the TT-BH080 are so close to the AirPods, I will certainly draw a comparison here and there with the properties of the Apple headphones - even if they are far from each other in terms of price. The SoundLiberty 80 costs around 80 euros while the Apple AirPods (2nd generation with wired charging case) are over the counter for a good 130 euros.

Note: TaoTronics provided me with the headphones for the test free of charge. But you can rest assured that this will not deter me from critical reporting.

The scope of delivery includes the charging case, the earphones, a charging cable and the operating instructions.

The scope of delivery includes the charging case, the earphones, a charging cable and the operating instructions.

15 EUR discount deal from TaoTronics for you

TaoTronics currently offers a 15 Euro discount, which they put on for you at Amazon when I asked. To take advantage of the deal, you have to click on the link "59,99 EUR" (or on this link here) and then you choose the offer that includes the 15 euro discount. This should land you at 45 euros at the checkout instead of the 79,99 euros that are the RRP for the headphones.

The TaoTronics TT-BH080 (SoundLiberty 80) are very similar to the AirPods in terms of their construction. Only the colored surface and the shape of the bars are different (photos: Sir Apfelot).

The TaoTronics TT-BH080 (SoundLiberty 80) are very similar to the AirPods in terms of their construction. Only the colored surface and the shape of the bars are different (photos: Sir Apfelot).

Technical data of the TT-BH080

Before I really get to my assessment, I would like to briefly deal with the technical data of the headphones.

  • Brand: TaoTronics
  • Model: SoundLiberty 80 / TT-BH080
  • Bluetooth 5
  • Audioc codecs: aptX, AAC, SMB
  • IP protection class: IPX8 (permanently immersed to a depth of 1m)
  • Headphone type: in-ear, but without silicone seal
  • Noise reduction when making calls with CVC 8.0 and AI Tech
  • Activation of Siri via "Hey TT"
  • Runtime earphones: 4 h
  • Charging box running time: 16 h
  • Fast charging: 5 min charging = 1 hour running time
  • Charging socket: USB-C
  • Qi charging: no
  • In-ear detection: yes
  • Operation by touch on the "stick"
  • Multipoint Bluetooth pairing: no
  • Battery indicator in the iPhone: yes
  • Battery indicator on charging box: no
  • Price: about 80 euros on Amazon
The TaoTronics SoundLiberty 80 come with a small charging case, which - certainly not by chance - is reminiscent of the form factor of the AirPods (photos: Sir Apfelot).

The TaoTronics SoundLiberty 80 come with a small charging case, which - certainly not by chance - is reminiscent of the form factor of the AirPods (photos: Sir Apfelot).

Optics and processing of the TaoTronics TT-BH080

The case looks like the TaoTronics headphones look very similar to the AirPods charging case, but it's a little bit bigger. The workmanship of the case and the earphones seems very good to me, but luckily I'm already used to that from TaoTronics.

Removing and inserting the in-ears works without fiddling and the fit in the ears is also good - actually like the AirPods.

The look with the colorful, shiny stripes on the “stem” of the earphones is a bit too much decor for me personally, but that's a subjective thing and there are certainly many men and women who like this coloration. I like rather simple elegance and would have liked a solid white.

First pairing and charging of the charging case

Pairing is very easy, because as soon as you open the charging case, you are already in pairing mode and waiting for the connection with a Bluetooth device.

I paired it directly in my iPhone under Settings> Bluetooth and was greeted with a "Connected". Here is my first wish to the product developers: Please turn down the standard volume that the headphones have when they are unpacked, because the loud voice messages are a bit uncomfortable.

Charging the TT-BH080, on the other hand, is pleasant, because with the USB-C cable it can be charged so far in 5 minutes that you have another hour of listening time. I also find the use of USB-C instead of Micro-USB very commendable.

The charging case is charged via USB-C - I don't expect anything else now.

The charging case is charged via USB-C - I don't expect anything else now.

Pairing reset for the TT-BH080

If you want to reset the headphones to the factory settings so that the old Bluetooth connections are deleted, you can do this in the following way:

  1. Place both earphones in the case.
  2. Open the lid.
  3. Hold down the button on the back for approx. 10 seconds.
  4. The LED on the front should now flash 3x white.
  5. The TT-BH080 are now in pairing mode again
On the left the charging case of the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 80 and on the right - my now somewhat worn out - charging case of the AirPods (2nd generation).

On the left the charging case of the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 80 and on the right - my now somewhat worn out - charging case of the AirPods (2nd generation).

“Hey, TT!” Triggers “Hey, Siri!”

Triggering Siri by voice command was - as far as I know - previously reserved for AirPods, as only these listen to your signal word "Hey Siri" all the time. With other headphones, you always had to press some buttons to get Siri to listen.

With the SoundLiberty 80, TaoTronics has built something in here that is basically just as good as “Hey Siri”: The headphones are always listening to see if you are saying “Hey TT”. If this is the case, they trigger Siri on the iPhone so that you have the Apple assistant ready almost as quickly and conveniently as with the AirPods.

Almost as fast, because while the AirPods also say “Hey Siri! If you can say louder ”, you have to wait for the pling with the TaoTronics after“ Hey TT ”, which signals that the voice assistant is listening. Only then can the actual command be issued. A minor thing, but I wanted to mention it.

After activating Siri with "Hey TT", you can send your voice commands as usual and, for example, turn up the music.

After activating Siri with "Hey TT", you can send your voice commands as usual and, for example, turn up the music.

Another thing that the AirPods have ahead of the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 80 is the automatic switching between the Apple devices, which is only possible with the special chip from Apple. However, this is currently only used in the various AirPods models and in Beats headphones.

The metallic-reflective surfaces are touch-sensitive and work reliably even with wet fingers.

The metallic-reflective surfaces are touch-sensitive and work reliably even with wet fingers.

Touch operation that works!

Another positive thing about the TT-BH080 is the operation, which is solved via the colored areas on the headphones. These are touch-sensitive and even allow controls that you won't find in the AirPods: volume louder and quieter, for example.

Here is a brief overview of the possible touch commands:

  • Pause / playback: tap twice on the left or right earphone
  • Volume: swipe up / down on the right earbud
  • Song forwards / backwards: swipe up / down on the left earphone
  • Accepting a call: 1x tap on one of the earphones
  • Hang up / reject a call: tap and hold on one of the earphones for 2 seconds

And the best thing about the controls: They even work reliably with wet, sweaty fingers. One thing that you won't find in all competitors. You often have a touch control, but as soon as it gets a breath of water or sweat, commands are often ignored.

The colored surface of the TT-BH080 is touch-sensitive and allows reliable operation at the touch of a finger.

The colored surface of the TT-BH080 is touch-sensitive and allows reliable operation at the touch of a finger.

In-ear detection also works

Another feature that can now be found on some headphones is in-ear recognition. This realizes that the music will stop playing when you take one of the earphones out of your ear. As soon as you put it back in, the music starts again.

This is not rocket science and it works accordingly well in everyday life when you want to exchange a few words with someone or have a conversation on another phone.

The battery indicator that you have in the control center next to the headphone symbol is practical.

The battery indicator that you have in the control center next to the headphone symbol is practical.

Sound quality of the TaoTronics TT-BH080

I haven't had any TaoTronics headphones yet that sounded worse than "good". I think the company has figured out how to build in-ear headphones and the TT-BH080 sound accordingly.

They have a clean and powerful bass and no clinking highs, which means that the sound is pleasant - if you have them properly seated in your ear.

Why this addition? Quite simply: My ears seem to be a bit “strangely” shaped, because it happens to me more often that I have to adjust the TaoTronics earphones so that they sit correctly. Once that's done, they stay seated. However, if I don't do that, the sound is somehow lacking in the bass range.

The AirPods, on the other hand, always sit the same in my ears and always sound the same. The TT-BH080 sit - although they are very similarly shaped - sometimes well and sometimes not so well, which is probably due to the shape of my ears.

If they fit well, I would even attest they sound better than the AirPods, because they don't sound as "flat" as the Apple headphones (not the AirPods Pro, mind you), but more voluminous and come with a stronger bass.

IPX8 - the headphones for swimming!

The TaoTronics TT-BH080 come with an IP protection class called "IPX8", which means something like "Protected against penetrating water up to a meter depth when permanently submerged". So you don't have to worry about sweat, rain and the shower. In theory, you could even go swimming with it, but I think the sound suffers when you're underwater.

Nevertheless, it is good to know that you can take the TaoTronics SoundLiberty with you for jogging even when it rains. If they sit as firmly in your ears as they do with me, then you can safely use them as sports headphones for other activities.

On the left you can see the AirPods and on the right the SoundLiberty 80, which are a little longer (photos: Sir Apfelot).

On the left you can see the AirPods and on the right the SoundLiberty 80, which are a little longer (photos: Sir Apfelot).

 

Seen from the side, you can see that the charging contacts are not attached to the opening at the bottom (as with the AirPods)

My conclusion on the SoundLiberty 80 TT-BH080

I don't know how many years I've been testing TaoTronics headphones, but there should be quite a few. In all that time, I haven't had a headphone model that I could criticize heavily. Design, sound and workmanship are usually first class and yet the headphones from this manufacturer are within a pleasantly low price range.

The SoundLiberty 80 (TT-BH080) are no outliers here either: decent workmanship, reliable operation, a great feature with "Hey TT" and a good sound. Only the seat in my ears seems to cloud the joy a bit - which is probably due to the shape of my ear.

For this reason, from my point of view, the TT-BH080 are a good choice if you can do something with the colorful look. At just under 80 euros, they are not the cheapest in-ear headphones, but they also offer a lot in terms of technology.

If you are interested in the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 80 (TT-BH080), you will find it here at Amazon. And don't forget to take advantage of the cheap offer with the 15 euro discount.

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7 comments

  1. Raffi says:

    Hi, I have Jabras here to test, where you can only leave the right handset in your ear to hear one-sided. How is it with these?

  2. Norbert Schuler says:

    Hey Jens
    thanks for testing the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 80 (TT-BH080) EarPods. Although I don't know the quality of the Apple original (yet), I am more than satisfied with the sound quality of the TaoTronics counterpart you tested, as well as with the equipment and handling as a whole. The test - and the immediate procurement - was a valuable help to me. Today I already ordered a second pair of these EarPods.

    • Jen Kleinholz says:

      Hello Norbert! Nice that you like them too. I think they are really a good alternative. However, what makes my day better with the AirPods is the fast switching between the Apple devices. This is really a feature that I use a lot.

  3. Norbert Schuler says:

    Without a doubt a very beneficial feature! Even though I've never missed it before, I'm already worrying about it ... ???? - Switching back and forth would of course not only be ideal within the Apple device pool.

    • Jen Kleinholz says:

      Yes, that would be ideal, but the other devices do not have the appropriate electronics built in for it. For this reason, it is only possible within the Apple family.

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