Anker is exiting the last stage of its crowdfunding campaign for its Zolo line of wireless earbuds with a final consumer retail release of the Liberty+ headphones, which go on sale later this month for $149.99. The news, announced today at CES, means that consumers who’ve been holding off on buying Anker’s standard Liberty wireless earbuds, which have been available for some time for $99.99, can pay the extra premium for the more advanced version.
The notable difference between the Liberty+ and the standard Liberty buds is the addition of Bluetooth 5, the relatively new wireless data transfer standard that is twice as fast as the ubiquitous Bluetooth 4.2. The Zolo Liberty+ also comes with a case offering twice the battery life, with up to 48 hours of music playback and talk time compared with the standard Zolo’s 24 hours. Both units have the same internal battery life of 3.5 hours, and fast charging that Anker says grants you one hour of playback per 15 minutes of charging.
Anker unveiled its Zolo line last year with the launch of a Kickstarter campaign for the Liberty+ back in June. The company raised $2.8 million, which would have been an eye-popping figure for a small startup, but for Anker — a China-based accessory company that makes everything from Bluetooth speakers to smart scales to Roomba lookalikes — it was an expected show of support from consumers and fans who trust the company to deliver. Anker has built a trusted brand off its USB charging and battery accessories, and now it’s moving aggressively into other verticals with a series of sub-brands, Zolo being its wireless audio one.
Early backers of the Kickstarter got their hands on the Liberty+ back in November for as little as $79. Late backers got the wireless earbuds at a less generous discount, but Anker only put the standard Liberty model up for sale on its website and on Amazon in the interim. Starting later this month, you’ll be able to buy the official consumer version of the Libery+.