With the Libratone AIR Color, the Danish tech company with the nightingale logo wants to put lightweight and unobtrusive in-ears in our ears that are not only well-tuned and deliver a powerful level, but are also dust-, sweat- and splash-proof thanks to IP54 certification.
Available in pastel white, blue and pink, these in-ears come in a chic, fully biodegradable outer packaging made from plant fibres. In addition, the set comes with a charging case, three pairs of silicone ear tips, a USB-A to USB-C charging cable (approx. 50 cm) and all the usual paperwork.
The similarity with the Libratone Air+ 2 is unmistakable: the same design, the same drivers, the same sound. However, the AIR Color don’t have noise cancelling, a transparency mode or an automatic fit test. But if you can do without these features, you will save 90 euros.
With a weight of 5.5 grams per side, the Libratone AIR Color are nice and light, fit comfortably in your ear, and do not cause any pressure discomfort, even when worn for several hours. At the same time, the housings barely protrude from the ears, so these in-ears can fit under a cap. However, the silicone earpieces supplied are very flat, so these in-ears – at least for this tester – fitted quite loosely in the ears. In accordance with IP54, the small earpieces are also protected against splashes of water, sweat and dust from all sides.
The case has no IP certification and is made entirely of plastic, but like the in-ears themselves, it appears to be impeccably manufactured. The case weighs 41 grams and has almost the same dimensions as the Apple AirPods 3.
The wireless Libratone AIR Color offer around eight hours of battery life, depending on how loud the music you are listening to is. The earpieces can be fully charged twice via the case, giving a total runtime of around 24 hours. White LEDs in and under the case indicate the charging status. A nice touch: a short press of the Bluetooth pairing button on the back of the case shows its charging status by means of different flashing sequences. However, the manufacturer has not provided a quick-charge function. The case is charged via USB-C, and wireless charging via Qi is not possible.
Pairing the Libratone AIR Color, which also supports single-mode use, is done by opening the case and pressing the pairing button on the back. The small L/R LEDs inside then start flashing and indicate readiness for pairing. Putting them back in the charging case switches them off; manual switching off and on is not supported. They switch to stand-by mode after a certain time so that the earpiece batteries are not drained when they are not in use. Thanks to wearer recognition, these headphones also pause when removed from the ears and automatically resume playback after insertion. Multipoint, i.e. the simultaneous connection to several devices, is rather rare in this price range, but the Libratone AIR Color can be connected to up to three devices at the same time; by tapping the earphones, you can switch back and forth between them with a few seconds of interruption. In our practical test, this always worked smoothly between iPhones, iPads, Android smartphones as well as an iMac.
The Libratone AIR Color support Bluetooth version 5.2 and uses SBC and aptX codecs. The Bluetooth connection range remained stable across several rooms, and up to 35 metres was achievable in the open air.
Touch operation can be customised in detail via the free Libratone app (iOS and Android), although it should be noted that the AIR Color can only be controlled via double and triple taps. Although this reduces the error rate; as a result, their versatility seems limited. If you already use True Wireless in-ears and are used to stopping or playing music via a simple tap, then you will have to adjust. However, the touch control executes the tap commands reliably – if you hit the right spot.
And contrary to what is stated on the manufacturer’s product website, the app lacks the practical option of a fit test, which is supposed to help in choosing the ear tips. The manufacturer should urgently improve this.
If you want to adjust the sound, you can also do it in the app. However, the manufacturer only offers three presets that cannot be edited but sound quite good: neutral, bass boost and a treble boost to increase the frequency range. In addition, there are other features in the app, such as a battery status display, the option of installing firmware updates, registering the product or “uniting” new in-ears with the charging case and the app when replacing lost ones.
Sound-wise, the Libratone AIR Color disappointed us when we first listened with them. The sound was poor in bass and heavy in the treble. This was typical of the situation when the earplugs do not fit properly in the ear canal and do not seal it properly. For sound assessment, therefore, we had to resort to third-party ear tips, which provided the desired fit.
However, the dynamic drivers with a diameter of 5.3 mm were quite convincing in terms of sound, thanks to good tuning and a powerful level. The Libratone AIR Color are not short on listening fun, as they deliver a powerful sound with a slight emphasis on the bass. This was reproduced warmly and tonally comprehensible down to the lower registers. The mids asserted themselves well, sounded pleasant and managed to present details well. Speech, in particular, benefited from this, meaning it was always intelligible. Regardless of the genre, the AIR Color sounded good with rock, acoustic and electronic music. What we liked here was that the in-ears managed to reproduce multi-layered sounds appropriately.
The treble range had neither harshness nor particular glossiness, but there was an openness that translated wide reverberation spaces and instruments rich in overtones in an appealing way.
Of course, at an RRP of just under 110 euros, you shouldn’t expect audiophile miracles, but the stereo distribution was positively broader than with some of the competition.
Thanks to Qualcomm’s noise cancellation, background noise was reduced, so quality during phone calls was good.
The Libratone AIR Color have a lot of good things for this price range: their sound is tuned to modern standards and provides listening pleasure – provided the small earpieces seal your ear canal appropriately. Thanks to connection with the app, the controls can also be adapted quite well to your own needs, even if only double and triple taps are supported. Unfortunately – contrary to what the manufacturer states – there is no fit test, as this would be a thoroughly practical feature.
If you find the almost 200 euros for the Libratone Air+ 2 to be too expensive and if you can do without noise-cancelling and transparency mode, the Libratone AIR Color could be the ideal accessory for sports, gaming and entertainment.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
- Sound pressure level (SPL)@1mW, 1kHz: 105 dB dB
- Weight without cable5,5 g each, case: 41 g g
- Cable length50 cm
What's in the box
- 3 pairs of silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
- USB-C charging cable
- Charging case
- Available in white, blue and pink
- BT codecs: SBC, aptX
- BT version: 5.2