I own two Zolo Liberty+ ear buds. In the ten days I’ve had them, I’ve been increasingly disappointed in them and with Zolo. I love Anker’s products and support, which makes Zolo’s failure sting worse to me.
When they work, they sound great! Audio books are very clear and music is very detailed. Subtle details in songs come through nicely.
Sound isolation is pretty good! Just having these in my ears, with nothing even playing, they do significantly reduce ambient auditory distractions.
Run time is good enough. The ear buds do last a few hours, and I haven’t had to charge the case in a week, even with continuous usage.
The Special Edition gold trim on the charging box is a nice gold color.
I found a good combination of ear tips to fit my ears well.
They don’t work anymore. The right ear bud plays at about 10% volume max. I can barely hear it at all, even when the volume is cranked up. The left ear bud continues to play.
They don’t work outside. Like, they are completely worthless for outside use. I cannot walk around outside with my phone in my pocket and expect these to work. They just won’t. Connection drops and audio cuts out every second. I barely catch every 3rd word of an audio book with these if I’m outside walking. IF I hold my phone in my hand and hold it up near my head, THEN it works fine, but that’s a really terrible solution.
Inside, the sound periodically drops to zero for a moment, and then recovers back to the correct volume. It happens every minute or so. It’s super annoying, and it happens with the phone two feet from my head, sitting on a desk.
The activation of the Google Assistant seems clunky and doesn’t work consistently. It’ll just hang the assistant often.
The headphones sometimes just “don’t work” and have to be put back in the case and removed again.
The left ear bud usually doesn’t connect to the right one automatically. You have to push the button on it to encourage it to pair.
Support is very slow to respond. 3+ days for any email.
If you have to exchange them (which I now have to do, at least) and you have the Special Edition gold-trimmed ones, your replacement will not be the SE version. You will just get a regular black edition. And the exchange is estimated to take 3 weeks after Zolo receives the return.
Overall, I am so very disappointed in these and with Zolo. I wanted to like these! The first few days were great!! But then the problems started adding up. Missed deadlines, broken promises, bad communication, bad product, sub-par product support experience… everything that Anker isn’t.
Thanks for sharing. I’m always concerned with new products, kickstarter programs and fresh new products that have really been tested and reviewed by every day users. But products from Anker…I’m surprised at what’s happening.
Maybe it’s just a bad pair. Not every product that comes off the line is field tested.
Have you spoken directly with a supervisor about getting another SE version? You should get back what you purchased.
I’m sorry that you’ve had such a poor experience, but you should feel confident that Zolo will do their best to take care of you. If you don’t have great luck with their customer service, maybe try email@example.com and tell them the whole story.
These experiences will also help improve the product! After all, that’s kind of what Kickstarter backers, early adopters, and version 1s are for! I think you will help more people be satisfied in the future!
I do understand the purpose of Kickstarters as such. There’s increased risk, yes. But co-branding with Anker, a trusted name in personal electronics, was a mistake here. Zolo is so far off from Anker in terms of product quality and customer experience as to be incompatible.
And I don’t mind being a guinea pig for new tech. In fact I’m frequently an early adopter. However, there are a few specific reasons why I feel so let down even within the context of a Kickstarter:
This was co-branded with Anker, and that relationship was leveraged as part of the funding campaign about why we should trust Zolo to get it right.
Communication was very poor immediately following the campaign close. Promises of weekly updates were missed. Further technical details about capabilities were withheld or avoided during live product demos or follow up questions. And communication continues to lag now, too. 3+ days per email response is excessive, especially for follow-up emails on open support tickets.
Zolo released a very similar product, the regular Liberty earbuds, before satisfying their backers on Liberty+. This was a surprise to me when it came out. Even though it’s a different product, it’s similar enough that is causes confusion about customer priorities and product development. I don’t know if my funds were used to develop and release this competing ear bud.
These are FAR from the “no compromise” ear bud that was touted by Zolo’s campaign. The lack of stereo output for phone calls and Assistant use (only the right ear piece is used), the inability to stream to only the left ear piece, the excessive lag when watching videos… those aren’t defects. Those are design compromises. It’s short of their own “no compromise” goal mark.
So yeah, I get that it’s a Kickstarter, but that not an excuse for such a comprehensive failure-- especially given #1.
I have not spoken to a supervisor. Email replies take 3+ days, and there is no phone support that I know of.
This isn’t really an Anker product. It’s a Zolo product, which is incubated within Anker. That’s part of what’s so frustrating to me! Anker is SO GOOD at what they do!! It makes no sense for them to drag along the dog of a brand that is Zolo.
Yes. To their credit, they offered refund or replacement. I initially requested a replacement, but that’s when they told me that they will not be able to replace it with the Special Edition and that it would take 3 weeks after they received my return shipment. So I’ve upgraded my request to a refund-- I’ve just grown tired with the frequency of disappointment. (yes, I realize that losing the gold trim on the case is a “small” issue, at the very least)
For starters zolo may be a sister brand if Anker but it’s it’s own team and support thus like many start ups will have issues. Yes they may nothave responded, but it’s now tuesday…the second day into a business work day and thus they may be getting caught up with a backlog of messages, give them a chance and they will make it right.
As far as stereo phone calls, almost all wireless earphones only emit sound from 1 earbud. So to single these out for that is just wrong imo. And the same for video playback, other wireless ear buds also have the same issue
Think about all the people involved in making a good customer product experience:
A co-brand has none of these in common. There is no inherent logical reason to think a co-brand would share anything in terms of product design, reliability, quality or customer support. Every person is different.
What co-branding shares is marketing, and marketing is all the people who do not touch product design or customer support.
This is an intelligent practice of Anker to use co-branding as it allows to leverage existing large customer base to be noticed by many with little effort, but anyone who thinks co-branding means anything in the real world of product and support needs to go get a job and know how things are made.
I hope any who were caught out learn this lesson for next time.
The prices asked here I think about $80 is also a bad idea to spend with a new brand version 1. $10-$20 has more of a “Why not” type but you’re still wasting time.
So far I have had good experience with Anker and Eufy, but I’d not extrapolate at all to Zolo, not til I see a quantity of positive reviews.
They’ve had many days; this isn’t just one data point. I’ve contacted them 5 times now over the course of the campaign and my recent support requests, and each response has been 3+ days. Yes, today is Tuesday. But since you don’t know when my emails were sent, Tuesday is just Tuesday.
As for your claim about stereo headphones… I don’t know if “almost all” wireless earphones do that or not. I know that every one I’ve previously owned has stereo (mono signal to L & R output). I don’t have data on what percentage does this or not, but I do know that the three I’ve owned before do this.
Regarding the audio lag on bluetooth headsets, this is the worst I’ve had (still not bad, but into annoying territory). My LG Tone’s were better in this respect. Audio lag like this is unacceptable on a “no compromise” product.
However, I think you have the benefit reversed: this was an intelligent practice of Zolo to gain access to Anker’s base, but I’m bummed that Anker is attached to this. I still really like Anker’s products, but I’m bummed about this.
Well, I’m glad to hear that you were able to get a hold of them and hopefully work it out. If nothing else, looks like they want to make it right. Sometimes, things like this happen but it at least take the sting out of the experience when you are able to reach the company and they are willing to work with you to resolve your issue. It would be more frustrating if they didn’t respond at all.
Honestly I think it was smart for Anker to test new areas under other brands. That way, if something were to go wrong, their brand would not as attached to it as if it had been marketed as an Anker product. Not the biggest difference in the world, I know, but something to think about nonetheless.
When I said almost all wireless earphones I was referring to those that are truly wireless that do not have a wire attached between them. I myself have tried and used about 5 or 6 of them and everyone of them only utilize one earbud for phone calls.
And yes I have also used wireless or should I say bluetooth headphones that do allow stereo phone calls, but again those are wired between the earbuds.
I have tested two bluetooth earphones - the Anker SoundBuds Sport IE and the Mpow Cheetah - and the Zolo Liberty+.
While both the SoundBuds and the Mpow allow stereo phone calls, the call quality is horrible - imagine the sound being compressed by a factor of a hundred - and, in the case of the Mpow, the caller simply can’t hear me.
While I agree that I was somewhat disappointed in not having sound on both ears during calls and using Siri, I must say that call quality on the Liberty+ in general is way better than the other two I tested. There’s almost no difference between the sound through the Liberty+ and wired earphones, they are just as crisp - the same way there’s almost no difference between music quality - and the caller can hear me just fine - in one test the only thing that let the caller know I was on earbuds was the lack of ambient noise cancelling most phones do when you talk directly on the phone.
So, I happily trade stereo calls for the call quality. Maybe stereo calls can be achieved through firmware updates?
I’m going to give Zolo another chance with a replacement instead of refund, so maybe I’ll be able to hear an audio call-- assuming the replacement works. Right now, the right-ear piece doesn’t work so I can’t use them for calls at all.