The Search for the Ultimate Single Earbud Headphone Set


Last October I bought the Anker Soundcore Liberty Lite Headphones (replaced by the Liberty Neo) to wear while biking to work and motorcycling.

I wanted headphones that could operate in single earbud mode under my helmet while commuting: I like to be able to wear just one earbud to listen to music and podcasts and the occasional Google Maps instruction, while keeping the other ear open and available to listen to all the excitement of the road.


These headphones come with four different sizes of silicone “EarTips” (the soft bit that fits into the ear canal) and four different sizes of “WingTips” (little “wings” that secure the earbud rotationally in the ear). I found that just using the medium-sized EarTip without any of the WingTips fit my ears perfectly.

The headphone stayed in my ear while running and didn’t interfere with my bicycle helmet. They were also low-enough profile that they seamlessly fit under my Shoei RF1200 Motorcycle Helmet. Although both could fit under my motorcycle helmet, I only ever wore the right earbud while also wearing the helmet.


They sounded better than I expected, and they certainly beat the wind noise on the highway. The silicone EarTips seal well in my ears and this works great for attenuating a fair amount of noise.


The earbuds had one button on each ear. Right earbud button functionality:

  • Short press to play/pause
  • Medium press to skip forward a track
  • Long press to power off
  • Extremely long press to enter pairing mode

Left earbud button did the same, except it skipped backward a track because English and other PIE languages and cultures conceptualizes time as flowing from left to right.

Volume was controlled by the phone, in my case a Google Pixel 3 worked great.

The microphone worked quite well for phone conversations, despite the fact that the microphone was in my ear. This was a pleasant surprise when I accidentally answered a call with the earbud headphones on.

I almost never power them off, as it was kind of clumsy compared to just returning them to the charging case which automatically powered them down.


Unfortunately, I lost them at the airport.

Enter Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo

I was quite sad to discover they hadn’t survived my trip and immediately looked to replace them. Anker Soundcore replaced them with the Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo earbud headphones. These are pretty much indistinguishable from my previous version, except for the charging case (Why is it glossy now?! It always looks smudged.) and the “secure fit EarWings” have little rubber blanks installed, which have also fallen off.

But, they work just as well. Maybe even better, but not noticeably different to me.

In a Nutshell

If you want to listen to music, podcasts, or directions with a single earbud that doesn’t interfere with a bicycle or motorcycle helmet get the Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo headphones.