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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.
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.
Before I really get to my assessment, I would like to briefly deal with the technical data of the headphones.
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.
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 they can be charged in 5 minutes so that you have another hour of listening time. Also use USB-C instead Micro-USB I find it very laudable.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He appears as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with problems of a technical nature. In his free time he drives electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with his iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions for current bugs.