Libratone Track Air+ review: better than Apple's AirPods
Real wireless headphones, or so-called true wireless headphones, are perfect for those hot summer days when over-ears can get sweaty. Libratone presents us with the Track Air+, a pair of earbuds that have what it takes to outdo Apple's AirPods, and not only on paper!
- Very comfortable
- Secure fit
- Good sound
- Effective ANC with dynamic adjustment
- Touch input limited to two functions
- Wearer recognition in need of improvement
Libratone Track Air+ release date and price
Some people love them, others hate them. But anyone who's on the road in summer in temperatures above 30 degrees will certainly want to wear large, sweaty over-ear headphones or earbuds with cables and in general, true wireless headphones are a better option. For users of Apple's iPhones the choice is easy, because there is no way around the AirPods or the Beats Powerbeats Pro. Android users can be more flexible and have access to a wide variety of true wireless headphones. You should definitely take a look at the Libratone Track Air+ for $219 because they really do have it all.
Good looks and a comfortable fit
Wireless headphones are all about comfort and sound, not looks. Nevertheless, the Track Air+ can be described as optically chic headphones. Both earbuds are very well made and sit firmly in the ears. The silicone tips in various sizes certainly help, but also the cushion-shaped form of the earbuds, in which the electronics including batteries are hidden. The metal wings of the earbuds not only serve as an optical ornament but also contain the charging contacts, touch fields and microphones for active noise suppression.
At 5.6 grams per earbud, the Libratone Track Air+ are very lightweight, so you can wear them comfortably for longer. The Track Air+ can even be used for strenuous sports, as they are IPX4 sweat and splash-proof, but it's only with a perfect fit, excellent workmanship and a discreet appearance that you win the hearts of potential buyers these days. The sound is sometimes almost secondary.
Noise cancellation, the smart way
In the case of in-ear headphones, active noise cancellation is not mandatory, because the earphones protruding into the ear canal already block ambient noise to a certain degree. For this reason, there are currently relatively few true wireless headphones with active noise reduction. But those who travel a lot and spend a lot of time on a plane or train know this type of persistent noise can only be fought effectively with the help of ANC. Here the Libratone Air Track+ can score double. On the one hand, the ANC is effective and can also be used when you don't feel like listening to music and simply want to fade out your surroundings while traveling. At the same time, the ANC's microphones can also be used to bypass passive noise reduction. A double-tap on the touch-field and your music disappears discreetly and you can perceive your surroundings again. If you double-tap again, the music will fade in again quite nicely.
The universal Libratone app, which can also be used for all other products from the Danish manufacturer, lets you choose between manual ANC and smart noise reduction. If you choose the latter, the app dynamically adjusts the suppression according to the volume and ambient noise. The system has a small disadvantage because the two microphones sit in the tips of the metal wings and are susceptible to wind noise. But the other manufacturers of ANC headphones, whether in-ear, over-ear or on-ear, are also struggling with this problem.
In addition to this setting option, you can also switch between three sound profiles via the app. Extra bass, amplified treble or neutral. That's up to you. Most of the regular readers already know my preference for a neutral and unadulterated sound. But I was astonished about the sound quality of the small earbuds from Libratone. The mids and highs are balanced and detailed, even at high volumes. Due to the compact design of in-ear headphones, the bass is normally always an Achilles' heel - but not here! The bass is powerful and the sound is well balanced. The Libratone Track Air+ support AAC and aptX.
Practical features for everyday use
Libratone hides a small touch-field in the company logo. As already mentioned, you can perform a double-tap action on each earbud. At first sight, this is a strange and very limited, but after some time the Libratone's implementation seems to me quite meaningful. The limitation to one double-tap prevents frequent operating errors or even unwanted actions.
But when it comes to carrier recognition, I have to complain a little. Actually, the feature is meant to pause the audio playback after removing the earbuds. It works, but if you accidentally put your finger on the inside sensor or put the earphones sensor-down on a table, the music starts again. It is therefore recommended to put the earbuds directly back into the small carrying and charging case when you remove them.
Mono or stereo? You have the choice
Also very interesting is that you can use the Track Air+ as mono headsets. This may sound antiquated now, but especially if you are traveling by bike, car or with an E-scooter, the use in mono mode could prove to be useful. So you can still perceive the environment through your free ear and remain reachable for incoming calls.
Endurance runners with flexible charging possibilities
In terms of battery life, Libratone promises a full six hours from the Track Air+. The battery in the charging case should provide an additional 18 hours, so that a total of 24 hours should be available. The Danish manufacturer didn't exaggerate, because in my test I was able to achieve almost six hours of running time with one charge.
Talking of the charging case, the magnets that hold the earbuds in place are relatively strong. A small additional magnet ensures that the lid does not suddenly open during transport. Libratone provides two ways to charge the battery of the charging case. Either via USB-C or wireless, via a Qi charging technology, or via reverse charging on an appropriately equipped smartphone such as the Samsung Galaxy S10 or the Huawei P30 Pro.
Conclusion: the perfect AirPods Alternative
I haven't been a friend of true-wireless headphones before. This was mostly due to the lack of wearing comfort and insecure fit of the individual earbuds. One or two earbuds fell out of my ear when I chewed a piece of chewing gum. With the Libratone Track Air+ the headphones sat securely right away and stayed seated no matter what kind of jaw dislocations I did.
The wearing comfort is enhanced by good sound, call quality, long battery life, and a solid and intelligent ANC. The price of $219 might deter you at first, but in comparison to the $199 for the Apple AirPods including the wireless charging case the Librone Track Air+ are competitive and Apple charges $250 for the ANC-enabled AirPods Pro version. If you don't value ANC, but are already flirting with the Libratone Track Air+, keep your eyes open for the Track Air without the Plus. The variant will offer longer battery life, as no ANC system draws energy from the battery. The regular Track Air are priced at around $150.