Review

EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro ANC in-ear with hybrid drivers & LDAC codec for $129.99/£93.96/79,76€

With the new EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro, the Chinese manufacturer packs quite a bit of technology into their ANC in-ears. Up to 42 dB noise cancellation, high-resolution Bluetooth codecs LHDC & LDAC and hybrid drivers – competition for Soundcore!

EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro Listener on Table

Technical data

NameEDIFIER NeoBuds ProAnker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro
DriverDynamic driver + BA driver10.6 mm Dynamic Driver + BA Driver
Frequency range20 – 40.000 Hz20 – 40.000 Hz
Impedance24 Ω16 Ω
ConnectivityBluetooth 5
Battery capacity500 mAh in charging box; 40 mAh per handset
Weight46 g charging tray; 4.9 g per handset6 g per listener
Dimensions
IP protection classIP54IPX4
Sensitivity92±3dB ([email protected]105±3dB ([email protected]
Bluetooth-ProfilAVRCP1.6, A2DP1.3, HFP1.7AVRCP1.6, A2DP1.3, HFP1.7
Audio codecSBC, AAC, LDAC, LHDCSBC, AAC, LDAC

Packaging & scope of delivery

I have a thing for packaging and the EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro is a highlight. For such a small headphone, the 25th anniversary box is damn huge.

EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro Listener on Table

When you open the box, the top is covered with foam inside, which reminds you of acoustic foam from the studio. If you look down, you will find the charging cradle including headphones, as well as a total of seven pairs of ear pads.

Below that is another compartment with USB-C charging cable, user manual and a carrying bag. A Very nice presentation, which gives the headphones a high value in my opinion.

Design with minor adjustments

The design of the EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro has been changed only slightly compared to their predecessors. Furthermore, these are wireless in-ears with a rod design.

EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro Listener on Table

This is a bit chunkier than Apple’s AirPods, for example. However, those who like the design will probably get an alternative to the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro, which comes in a classic Bud design.

EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro Listener on Table
The red ambient light with gradient reminds of putty from Knight Rider

While the predecessor used rather bright colors for the headphones, the NeoBuds are now covered in metallic gray and black. However, only minimal changes have been made to the shape. The NeoBuds are a bit rounder in comparison.

In terms of material, the EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro are mostly made of a lightweight matte black and gray plastic. Per earpiece, they weigh 4.9 g, which is an average value. The charging cradle has an average weight of 46 g, but is not unfortunately a bit bulky in the pocket with a thickness of around 30 mm.

EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro Listener on Table

I like the workmanship, and I could not find any production or material defects. However, that should be the standard in this price range. The headphones are also IP54 certified against dust and water.

Sound of the EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro

Like the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro, the EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro are hybrid driver headphones. BA drivers from Knowles are used for this, which also provide different results in our tests so far, depending on the cost point. They cover the high-frequency range and a part of the mid-frequency range.

EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro Headphones Driver

Since the NeoBuds Pro are more in the higher price range, the same Knowles BA drivers should be installed here as in the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro.

For lower midrange and bass frequencies, an additional dynamic driver is installed. In my opinion, this high-quality hybrid driver system can produce a more detailed sound image than with a dynamic single driver, such as the one installed in the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2.

In testing, I liked the sound of the EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro. Thanks to the BA driver, the headphones have a detailed high frequency, similar to the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro.

I also like the sound of the NeoBuds Pro in the midrange, where the BA and dynamic drivers intertwine. I did not notice that frequencies or frequency ranges sound unnatural due to the “switch” between the drivers.

The dynamic driver gives its best in the low frequency range. It provides powerful bass, while this doesn’t affect the performance in the high frequencies.

Sound conclusion

Overall, the EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro are a great in-ear headphone that definitely deserves a top spot in our best list. Thanks to hybrid drivers, the wireless in-ear covers a wide frequency range and offers a very large stage with multi-faceted sound that can only be found in a few in-ears in this price range.

EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro Listener on Table

In terms of sound, they are definitely an alternative to the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro! However, you will need to own high-resolution audio files or subscribe to a HiFi streaming service, such as TIDAL, to get the full potential of the headphones.

EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro vs. Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro

Loyal China Gadgets readers know: I’m a bit of a Soundcore fanboy. Personally, the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro’s sound is extremely appealing to me, and I already know that this wireless in-ear will probably remain my daily driver until its successor is released.

EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro Listener on Table

Of course, hearing is a very subjective thing and not everyone will feel the same way I do.

Less “sharp

What many don’t like about the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro is the sharpness of the high tones. In this regard, some listeners sometimes perceive S, CH or SCH sounds as an unpleasant hiss.

Although I do not perceive it as unpleasant, I understand what is meant by this. Anyway, with the EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro, the hiss is less, to non-existent, which should please some! Personally, I perceive the sound as less precise this way, which is why I prefer the sound of Soundcore at this point.

Marginally weaker bass

Soundcore is known for rich bass, especially in the sub-bass range, the Chinese manufacturer usually delivers more powerful sound than the competition.

In the test, the EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro are a touch less bass-heavy. However, the headphones are not technically capable of producing such a powerful boom as Soundcore’s headphones, for example by adjusting the equalizer.

The EFIFIER NeoBuds Pro are a bit flatter in the bass, which is still more than sufficient and depending on your personal taste in music, this can also contribute to a better listening experience.

Which one sounds better now?

Unfortunately, that can’t really be answered across the board at this point. The differences are so small that it really depends on your personal listening experience and your musical taste.

If you are interested in my personal opinion: I will probably use both in the future, but will probably stick more with the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro. I don’t know if it’s my imagination or not, but to me Soundcore’s headphones sound a bit more precise in the highs and marginally more powerful in the lows.

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However, I can understand why some say that the Soundcore headphones are “too sharp” tuned for vocals. So I would say the Soundcore headphones are the better for instrumental music, the EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro probably appeal better to those who mostly listen to vocal music.

Active noise cancellation up to 42 dB

The NeoBuds Pro are equipped with active noise cancellation, which is said to filter out up to 42 dB of noise.

As is often the case with manufacturer claims, the dB figures for ANC headphones are also difficult to compare, but the predecessor already did a good job. In their new price range, however, they have to step it up a notch as justification.

In testing, the EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro deliver solid ANC that is on par with other headphones in their price range, such as the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro, Libery Air 2 Pro, or even the Huawei Freebuds Pro and Apple AirPods Pro.

As is often the case, the efficiency of the ANC is not only determined by the technical implementation, but also by the general fit of the headphones. In my case, about 30%-50% music volume is enough to ensure that background noise is no longer perceived at all in most cases in combination with the ANC.

So that you don’t have to take out the headphones to hear your surroundings, there is also a transparency mode, in which outside noises are played into your ear via the microphones. This allows you to better hear a train announcement or an approaching car, for example.

The intensity of the transparency mode can also be adjusted in the app (more later). It works well in the test and lets you perceive the surroundings better. However, accompanied by a slight hissing and whispering in the ear, not perfect but the mode does what it should.

Wearing comfort

The EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro are unfortunately a bit clunky, but this cannot be changed for current models due to the built-in technology.

With a weight of around 5 g, the earpieces are at least a bit lighter than the competitors from Soundcore. I liked the wearing comfort in the test. I seem to have good in-ear ears anyway, since these headphones with the matching ear pads actually always sit well with me.

EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro in ear

Compared to the Liberty 3 Pro, the NeoBuds Pro unfortunately do not have ear hooks that provide additional support. Nevertheless, sports with the EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro is no problem in my case. As always, the fit is an individual thing and I can only speak of personal experience here.

Headset

The EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro are equipped with a total of three microphones per earpiece. The inner one and one of the outer ones (lower one) are used for headset telephony.

In testing, the EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro deliver solid voice quality. The headphones suppress background noise reliably, especially when you are not speaking yourself. Thus, the EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro are also suitable for a longer phone call.

Operation via touch sensors

Touch sensors are installed on the back of the in-ears, which can be used to perform a double-tap and triple-tap gesture.

EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro Hoerer Rear page

More touch gestures, such as a simple tap or longer touch, are unfortunately not available. Thus, the operation directly via the earpiece is unfortunately very limited. Most other audio manufacturers provide more functions here, but the touch gestures can be customized via the EDIFIER Connect app.

The options are:

  • Play/Pause
  • Increase/decrease volume
  • Next/previous track
  • Turn game mode on/off
  • Start voice assistant
  • Switch ANC/Ambient mode

I was negatively surprised by the fact that the headphones are not equipped with proximity sensors. So the music is not automatically paused/continued when you take one or both earpieces out of your ears. It’s a shame, I actually already perceive this feature as standard, so I find it all the more annoying in the test with the EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro that the music just keeps playing.

Smartphone app for iOS & Android

EDIFIER, as is now actually standard when selling headphones for + 100€, also has an app called EDIFIER Connect (iOS | Android). While the apps of some audio manufacturers are already similar, EDIFIER is obviously doing their “own thing” with the Connect app, at least as far as the app layout is concerned.

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Functionally, the app is similar to apps from other manufacturers. Thus, the battery status can be viewed in the app:

  • View battery status
  • Change ANC modes
  • Equalizer adjusted
  • Game mode turned on/off
  • Touch sensors customized
  • Factory settings restored
  • firmware updates installed
    installed.

Unusual functions

This is pretty standard stuff that you can do with virtually any audio manufacturer’s app. However, EDIFIER has also implemented some rather unusual features that I haven’t seen before.

The most exciting and, in my opinion, most useful feature is the touch sensor sensitivity adjustment. This can be customized on a scale of 0-30, with 0 being the lowest sensitivity and 30 being the highest.

In the comments of our reviews, I have often read that some users have problems with accidentally executed functions in the cold season, for example, when wearing a hat. Therefore, I find the function quite sensible!

Also unusual is that you can disconnect the Bluetooth connection to the phone via the app and put the headphones in pairing mode. How useful these functions are in the app remains to be seen, but of course it does not bother that it was implemented.

The equalizer is actually not an unusual function. However, it works differently on the EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro than I am used to. There are a total of six sliders here, which can be used to boost or cut certain frequencies by up to 6 dB. What’s special is that you can adjust the exact Hz number for each slider in another slider below.

Second app needed for LDAC update

A bit unnecessary is the fact that under Android with the EDIFIER Magic app, another app is needed to install updates on the headphones.

This is only downloadable from the EDIFIER Connect app, as an .apk. Seems a bit dubious to me, but in the test, the update of the headphones worked smoothly.

Round app, but only in English

Overall, the EDIFIER Connect app is tidy and you can intuitively find your way around quite quickly. Unfortunately, the app is only in English, but I personally did not perceive this as a major hurdle. Most of the menu items are pretty self-explanatory.

What you could criticize EDIFIER for is that they have implemented their own store and website under the menu items “Mall” and “Discover”. After all, most audio apps do without (self-)advertising. However, that is complaining on a high level, since the functionality is not restricted by the menu items, and there are no pop-up ads, so everything is in the green zone.

Bluetooth and range

Besides Bluetooth 5, the NeoBuds Pro even offer two high-resolution Bluetooth codecs. Firstly, there is LDAC, which works on every Android smartphone from Android 8. In addition, there is LHDC, which is supported by many Xiaomi and OPPO smartphones, for example, but OnePlus is also just starting to use it.

Thanks to the high-resolution Bluetooth codec, they are also Hi-Res Wireless certified, although you cannot necessarily measure the quality of the headphones from that either. A game mode, where the latency is 80 ms and thus sound and picture are synchronized, ensures a delay-free transmission of the sound.

The Bluetooth range of the EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro is also very good. Thus, I was able to establish a stable connection of about 17 meters in the test in an open area. Even in closed rooms, the connection within a room remains stable in any case. In our office, which virtually only consists of plasterboard walls, the connection also remains without dropouts across all rooms. It becomes difficult when solid obstacles come in between, such as thick concrete walls.

The EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro wirless in-ears thus meet my requirements in the area of Bluetooth and range in the price range around 100€, very good!

Average runtime

No music without the necessary power. The EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro are equipped with 40 mAh batteries per earpiece, plus a 500 mAh battery in the charging box.

Thus, the in-ears are supposed to last up to 5 hours with ANC turned on and then recharge for another 15 hours in the charging case. In the test, the runtime of about 4-4.5 hours at a volume of 50%-70% was somewhat lower than the manufacturer’s specifications. However, I consider the runtime sufficient in principle.

EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro USB-C Connector

In addition, a quick-charge function is implemented, which is supposed to allow for about one hour of runtime (without ANC) in 10 minutes of charging. A USB-C cable is used to recharge the charging cradle; unfortunately, there is no wireless charging option.

Conclusion – good alternative to the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro

EDIFIER does a lot right with the NeoBuds Pro in my opinion. Visually, the headphones with stick design are quite different than the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro, which I very much welcome. Thus, it is also visually a good alternative.

EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro Listener on Table

EDIFIER cannot be faulted in terms of workmanship and material. In terms of sound, the headphones for around 100€ from China leave almost everything behind and are definitely on the sound level of the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro.

Many critics of the Liberty 3 Pro should like the EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro for the less sharp tuning of the high frequencies, and it is also a bit more balanced because it is less sub-bass-heavy.

I find it a bit of a shame that EDIFIER only gives so few control options via touch sensors, but I like the app with the option to adjust the sensitivity of the touch sensors.

  • Best sound for under 300€
  • Price/performance winner (with Liberty 3 Pro)
  • Material & workmanship
  • App functions
  • Headset microphones
  • LDAC & LDHC codec
  • ANC on competition level
  • Few touch gestures
  • No QI charging
  • No proximity sensors
  • App in English
  • Second app needed for updates

EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro buy?

Personally, I still prefer the Soundcore sound, but we’re really talking nuances here. If you want to break it down as far as possible, I think the EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro are the better headphones for vocal music and the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro are the better for instrumental music. Thus, they currently share the place of the best headphones with Soundcore.

Price-wise, the EDIFIER NeoBuds Pro are slightly lower than the Amazon price of the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro, depending on the offer from China. You can possibly get the better price/performance ratio here, but then with a limited warranty, while Soundcore is very accommodating via Amazon in case of problems.

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Tim

I’m the go-to guy when it comes to taking gadget pictures – And I’m always on the hunt for affordable, premium-quality audio appliances from China.

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