I was originally chosen to be a Zolo Tuner but never got the chance to actually participate in the testing process. So I wanted to share my impressions since I'm on my third day of testing the Liberty+. Here are my first impressions.
First off the sound quality. These ear buds sound great. They are definitely high quality sounding buds. I was previously using the Bose Qc20 and I can definitly confirm that these sound as good and in certain conditions even better. Base is rich and full, highs are clear although lack a bit of sharpness for my taste. Trebles are present enough and detailed.
The fit is good but not perfect. You can't just put them on and start running. The silicone needs to warm up a bit before the buds stick well in the ear. Also I use the largest tips and grip fit jacket although I don't think that I have overly big ears. So some people with big ears might have difficulty to get a proper fit. Also I believe the tips would fit better if the shape was oval rather that round. I don't believe ear canals are round but more of a oval shape. Bose and Apple both have oval shape earplugs and I think that is the right way to go. That beeing said they fit comfortably and once properly inserted and warmed up the don't give the impression that they will fall. However not falling is insuficient because running loosens the seal in the ear and when that happens sound quality degrades rapidly. So from time to time it is necessary to push the buds back in place. I don't think this is uncommon from in ear bud type earphones but what an edge you would have if you had a fix for this (stickier silicone? Better shape?) But for casual walking or other low intensity activities they fit very well.
Bluetooth connexion is excellent. I use a Galaxy S8 which has Bluetooth 5.0 but does not support AAC code. Never had a drop in signal while close to the phone and could move away at least 10 meters before loosing signal. The pairing process is easy enough although I don't understand what Z-up is for and couldn't connect to it. Once paired I had some difficulty to reconnect. I don't know if there is a sequence to follow but what seems to work best is to remove the right bud from the case and wait for it to connect and then the left. If I removed both simultaneously I had issued with the ear buds not connecting. I have to test this more. Any advice? Does taking them out of the case put them in paring mode automatically? Can we pair them to another phone if they were already once paired?
I'm sad to say that Latency while watching video is horrible. I think that the announced latency was around 250ms. So while this was expected I really believe that the actual latency is much more. I don't have any way at the present to test latency but I believe that it's more in the range of 500 to 800 ms. Is it because of the S8 not supporting AAC? I have yet to try it with an IPhone which does. Hopefully a firmware update might help in this matter. At the moment this is the biggest flaw of the Liberty+ product. I understand that it is aimed at a more active lifestyle and watching videos and movies are not at the forefront of the use cases but I feel it really needs to be better in that aspect to be able to say "zero compromise".
I love the charging case. Well built, sleek and compact enough considering there is 48h worth of batteries in there. Only aspect I would like to be better is the balance when the lid is open. When open, the case doesn't hold up right on a table it always tilts backwards. It would be a good thing to balance it so that it stays flat without falling. The magnetic action that secures the buds in place is amazing. I love that feature, the fact that you know that the buds are inserted securely and start charging immediately is amazing. Although with dry hands it's a bid hard sometimes to get the buds out of the case as they become slippery and the magnets are pretty strong. But I'd rather have that than having the buds fall out of the case.
About the three lights on the case I think they are perfect.. subtle and give just the needed information. I love that when you shake the case the lights turn on for a few seconds to show the charge level. Great detail!
About the lights on the earbuds it is not always clear what they mean. When turned on in the case it means charging... When turned off in the case it would mean full charge.. Out of the case I'm not sure..connecting? connected? Bluetooth pairing? As I said dont quite understand yet.
Battery life seems ok but I think there is a software glitch with the amount the charge percentage displays. Either that or the buds don't fully charge. Often when just taken out of the case after more than 2 hours charging the displayed amount on the app is never 100%. I have yet to use them long enough to test the advertised full 3h30 autonomy but the way the percentage drops I believe we would be closer to 2h30...I'll have to test more to get better data. But definitely something is of on the announced percentage or the batteries are performing less than expected.
While we are discussing the Zolo life APP I find that it is well presented. The equalizer is useful but I would have preferred custom settings to tweak the sound to my licking rather than preset music modes.
Finally transparency mode is interesting but I don't know how much I'll use it. It does not only let outside sound in it amplifies it. This is on for speach but it also amplifies ambiant sound life my offices ventilation system or the fan on the coffee machine. If their was a way to filter these sound out than that would be quite amazing. As it is I don't think I'll be using it much. It's just easier and quicker to remove one earbud.
Phone calls work great and I was hearing other people very well and they told me they didn't notice I was not talking through my phone. Very good job there.
So these are my first impressions...I give those freely in the hopes that what can be corrected by a software upgrade will be adressed and that what is related to hardware will make it's way on the next product. All in all I congratulate all the team on an excellent job and look forward to future products from Zolo. It will be my pleasure to test those out for you if you need it.